My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review – Taylor Swift – ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’

Between canoodling with Connor Kennedy in a red and white polka-dotted two-piece, and buying a multi-million dollar estate on Cape Cod, Taylor Swift has found time to return to the spotlight with new music. And in the two years since her highly confrontational Speak Now, she proves she hasn’t softened her scathe towards anyone who does her wrong.

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” her collaboration with pop songwriter Max Martin and Swedish record producer Shellback, moves the songstress even further away from the founding principles of country music, but what she lacks in down-home twang, she makes up for in overall likeability.

The track works because of its infectious thump, a sunny and bright mix of acoustic guitars and driving beats that recall her early work, especially “Should’ve Said No.” Swift sets the tone with the opening verse:

I remember when we broke up the first time
Saying, “This is it, I’ve had enough,” ’cause like
We hadn’t seen each other in a month
When you said you needed space. (What?)
Then you come around again and say
“Baby, I miss you and I swear I’m gonna change, trust me.”
Remember how that lasted for a day?
I say, “I hate you,” we break up, you call me, “I love you”

She manages to capture the confusion surrounding the end of a relationship perfectly. He says he’ll change; she takes him back, no behavior modification. The second verse digs a bit deeper, and highlights Swift’s instinctively sharp writing abilities:

I’m really gonna miss you picking fights
And me, falling for it screaming that I’m right
And you, would hide away and find your peace of mine
With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine

But that’s where the song goes from interesting to unbearable. As an avid Swift fan, I have a fondness for just about every single she’s released. But her idea that every boyfriend is her “forever” (like she suggests in the bridge here) irks me. That kind of thinking may have been appropriate at sixteen, but it shows a level of immaturity at 22. The ‘phone conversation’ bit is also grating, a further attempt at driving home the song’s overall message that just plain wasn’t necessary.

Swift’s somewhat screechy vocal ability is on full display here and the obvious attempts at masking it (the swooshing production and vocal layering in the chorus) show the producer is trying too hard to make it work. And I can’t forgive the need for a country remix, when Swift is supposedly a country singer who has occasional inroads into the pop market.

But if nothing else, “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together” is a first-rate infectious guilty pleasure, that type of ear worm that plants itself in your brain, even if it isn’t healthy. I could go on and on about how it lacks any resemblance to country music, showcasing a genre in a downward spiral towards oblivion, but like those great Shania Twain and Faith Hill records from the late 90s, you can’t help but be transformed into a good mood whenever you hear it.

Grade: B 

Listen here.

9 responses to “Single Review – Taylor Swift – ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’

  1. Ken Johnson August 21, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Country music USED TO have ADULT songs dealing with ADULT reality.

    THIS is pure adolescent garbage that belongs on top 40 radio. Lyrics sound like they were written by a 14 year old girl. And if the melody took 5 minutes to create it was 5 minutes wasted. This reminds me of the classic Gilda Radner SNL bit when she played the little girl Judy Miller who made up stupid songs on the fly in her bedroom. Except the SNL bit was funny.

    What does the average listener care about “…some indie record that’s much cooler than mine….”
    Don’t care about Taylor Swift….or her goofy loser boyfriends….or her teenage angst.

    The “country” remix released to country radio is not any better. The only thing to like about this song is when it is over. “Unbearable” is putting it mildly. Try horrible.

    The military could use this song at Guantanamo forcing detainees to listen to it over & over again until they crack.

  2. Gloria Smith August 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    A grade of B….really??? I would say F! Worst song ever. So silly and juvenile and her vocals are the pits. Is Nashville and Country radio afraid of Taylor? I wouldn’t even call this earworm…it’s not that good! It just amazes me how she gets a free pass no matter what she puts out. And please don’t compare this crappy song to anything Shania Twain or Faith Hill has released. I wish this girl would finally find her a man and they move to a land far, far away where she can’t run Country music. IMO, Taylor and her fans have ruined country music and radio forever.

  3. J.R. Journey August 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I think the Faith Hill comparison is fair This has a lot of the same sonic qualities as “The Way You Love Me” – the vocal distortions and Beck-inspired random sound effects. I don’t like this song, but not because it’s not ‘country enough’. I dislike it because as others have said, the lyrics are juvenile and the melody, as it were, sounds like something created so the singer can jiggle her jowls while performing it.

    Terrible, terrible single.

  4. Ben Foster August 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I’m trying. I’m trying. I’m giving the song another chance.

    … I can’t do it.

    I’m not going to chew Swift out in all caps over this like some are, and I do think the chorus is okay on a fun bubblegum pop level, but the verses in particular make me cringe every time. And yeah… This isn’t doing anything to mask Swift’s vocal deficiencies.

    I’m glad the song has a few champions though, such as you and Holly Gleason over at E145. While I don’t think I’ll ever be able to embrace this particular song (like EVER), I’m still holding out hope that the Red album will at least have some songs that I can get into.

  5. Treedy August 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I will never ever ever like this song

  6. Razor X August 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree that this is adolescent garbage, but I hope that she continues in this direction because the further she gets from country music, the better.

  7. Paul W Dennis August 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Poor single that accentuates Swift’s flaws as a singer without playing to any of her strengths as a songwriter

    It’s not the worst garbage I’ve heard this year so I’ll give it an F+

  8. Michelle August 23, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Iam not a Taylor fan and Im not really a fan of Faith although I love Shania I still think that both Faith and Shania are more talented than Taylor will ever be at Country/Pop. Taylor and The Spice Girls would go well together in my opinion.

  9. southtexaspistolero August 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I stopped listening to country radio not quite four years ago. Songs like this remind me of the wisdom of that decision.

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