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champagne problems

evermore (2020)

“champagne problems” is the second song on Taylor’s ninth album, evermore (2020). It tells the story of a woman who shocks her would-be fiancé and their loved ones by turning down a marriage proposal right before Christmas.
“champagne problems” is a lo-fi ballad written from the perspective of a troubled girlfriend who turns down her lover’s earnest marriage proposal due to her own struggles with mental health. The song depicts the narrator taking responsibility for the breakup and mourning the faded relationship. It is built around a guitar riff and oom-pah piano.

Background and Release

Taylor wrote the song “champagne problems” with Joe Alwyn (under the pseudonym William Bowery), who she has been in a romantic relationship with since 2016. Despite speculation that Taylor wrote it about their own relationship, she explained that she and Alwyn wrote it together and detailed the writing process:

«Joe and I really love sad songs. He started that one and came up with the melodic structure of it. I say it was a surprise that we started writing together, but in a way it wasn’t cause we had always bonded over music and had the same musical tastes. He’s always the person who’s showing me songs by artists and then they become my favorite songs. ‘champagne problems’ was one of my favorite bridges to write. I really love a bridge where you tell the full story in the bridge. You really shift gears in that bridge. I’m so excited to one day be in front of a crowd, when they all sing, ‘She would’ve made such a lovely bride, what a shame she’s fucked in the head’. Cause I know it’s so sad, but it’s those songs like ‘All Too Well’. Performing that song is one of the most joyful experiences I ever go through when I perform live, so when there’s a song like ‘champagne problems’ where you know it’s so sad…I love a sad song, you know?»

Taylor Swift
On December 10, 2020, Taylor announced that her ninth studio album and folklore‘s sister album, evermore, would come out at midnight and revealed its track listing, where “champagne problems” placed second. In the announcement, Taylor teased imageries of various tracks, including “champagne problems”, in which “two longtime college sweethearts had very different plans for the same night, one to end it and one who brought a ring.”

Commercial Performance

“champagne problems” was the second best-performing track from evermore after the single “willow” (2020). All of the album’s tracks debuted inside the top 75 of the Billboard Global 200 chart simultaneously, with “champagne problems” charting at No. 12. In the United States, the song opened at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 3 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, where it spent 20 weeks and became Taylor’s 17th top-10 entry. It debuted at No. 7 on the Rolling Stone Top 100, a competitor to the Hot 100, with 152,700 units sold and 18.3 million streams in its first week. Internationally, the song debuted at No. 6 on the Canadian Hot 100, where it became her 31st top-ten single and was certified Gold for selling upwards of 40,000 units. Elsewhere, it charted at No. 6 in Ireland, No. 12 in Australia, No. 15 in Malaysia and the UK, No. 16 in Singapore, and No. 24 in New Zealand.

Critical Reception

“champagne problems” received widespread critical acclaim. NME critic Hannah Mylrea juxtaposed it to Taylor’s 2008 hit “Love Story“, with the latter being a song about accepting a marriage proposal while the former is about rejecting the same. Several critics, such as Patrick Ryan of USA Today, chose “champagne problems” as a highlight on evermore. Bobby Olivier of Spin singled out the song as an “unskippable” highlight on the album, applauding its “addictive” depiction of a failed marriage proposal. Annie Zaleski of The A.V. Club pinpointed it as an example of evermore‘s sonic cohesion and highly detailed lyricism, while Tom Breihan of Stereogum applauded the song’s “loving, exacting detail.” Jason Lipshutz of Billboard similarly praised its lyrics and highlighted the complexity with which Taylor explores themes such as marriage and adult love. Writing for Variety, Chris Willman described “champagne problems” as “a superb example of her abilities as a storyteller who doesn’t always tell all.”

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
You booked the night train for a reason
So you could sit there in this hurt
Bustling crowds or silent sleepers
You’re not sure which is worse

[Chorus 1]
Because I dropped your hand while dancing
Left you out there standing
Crestfallen on the landing
Champagne problems
Your mom’s ring in your pocket
My picture in your wallet
Your heart was glass, I dropped it
Champagne problems

[Verse 2]
You told your family for a reason
You couldn’t keep it in
Your sister splashed out on the bottle
Now no one’s celebrating

[Chorus 2]
Dom Pérignon, you brought it
No crowd of friends applauded
Your hometown skeptics called it
Champagne problems
You had a speech, you’re speechless
Love slipped beyond your reaches
And I couldn’t give a reason
Champagne problems

[Bridge]
Your Midas touch on the Chevy door
November flush and your flannel cure
“This dorm was once a madhouse”
I made a joke, “Well, it’s made for me”
How evergreen, our group of friends
Don’t think we’ll say that word again
And soon they’ll have the nerve to deck the halls
That we once walked through
One for the money, two for the show
I never was ready so I watch you go
Sometimes you just don’t know the answer
‘Til someone’s on their knees and asks you
“She would’ve made such a lovely bride
What a shame she’s fucked in the head,” they said
But you’ll find the real thing instead
She’ll patch up your tapestry that I shred

[Chorus 3]
And hold your hand while dancing
Never leave you standing
Crestfallen on the landing
With champagne problems
Your mom’s ring in your pocket
Her picture in your wallet
You won’t remember all my
Champagne problems

[Outro]
You won’t remember all my
Champagne problems

General Information
Albumevermore
ReleasedDecember 11, 2020
Recorded2020
GenreAlternative
Adult Contemporary
Length4:04
LabelRepublic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
William Bowery (Joe Alwyn)
ProducersAaron Dessner
Taylor Swift
EVERMORE CHRONOLOGY
willowchampagne problemsgold rush
Song Certification
Song Artwork
Lyric Video
Official Audio