Home » Albums » Fearless » Songs on Fearless » Forever & Always

Forever & Always

Fearless (2008) | Fearless (Taylor's Version) [2021]

This article is about the standard version of the song. For the piano version, see “Forever & Always (Piano Version).”
“Forever & Always” is a song on Taylor’s second studio album, Fearless (2008). It was written about Joe Jonas, who broke up with her during a 27 second phone call in 2008. The re-recording of the song, “Forever & Always (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on April 9, 2021 on the album Fearless (Taylor’s Version).

Background

Taylor wrote “Forever & Always” near the end of the recording process, after the break up with Joe Jonas. She had to plead with the president of her former record label, Scott Borchetta, to let her add it to the album a day before the final version was due to be turned in. On September 22, 2008, she wrote on MySpace:

«I recorded a new song ['Forever & Always'] the other day for Fearless. I think it’s fun to put yourself under crazy pressure to finish a song by a certain deadline. That’s what I did with this last song. And that makes 13 songs on the new album. 13….. I think that’s a good number of songs to end up with….<3»

Taylor Swift

Lyrical Theme

“Forever & Always” talks about Taylor holding on to every moment with her ex-boyfriend, since things didn’t last. She told The Los Angeles Times on October 26, 2008:

«It’s about watching somebody fade away in a relationship. They said they were going to be with you forever, that they loved you, and then something changed in the relationship and you don’t know what it is, but you’re watching them slowly drift. That emotion of rejection, for me, usually starts out sad and then gets mad. This song starts with this pretty melody that’s easy to sing along with, then in the end I’m basically screaming it because I’m so mad. I’m really proud of that.»

Taylor Swift
The final version is a pop rock song that features instruments associated with country music such as fiddles and guitars. During promotion of Fearless, Taylor repeatedly confirmed that “Forever & Always” was inspired by her breakup with singer Joe Jonas; on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she described him as “the boy who broke up with me over the phone in 25 seconds when I was 18”. She told MTV News that she “owed it” to her fans to be open about her personal life (an opinion she has since changed). In an interview with Rolling Stone, she described the fallout of that relationship as a “really dramatic and crazy” experience that she “[needed] to address” through her music. Speaking about the recording, she said, “This song starts with this pretty melody that’s easy to sing along with, then in the end… I’m basically screaming it because I’m so mad.”

Joe Jonas told the June 2009 issue of Seventeen Magazine that he wasn’t bothered about Taylor writing about the break-up of their relationship. He said: “It’s flattering. It’s always nice to hear their side of the story.”

Live Performances

Taylor first performed “Forever & Always” during her concert for the 2009 Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, as part of a medley with “Picture to Burn“, “Love Story“, and “Change“, on December 31, 2008. In a January 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live, Taylor performed “Forever & Always” and “Love Story”. She sang the song again as part of her performances for the Florida Strawberry Festival in February and the 2009 Country Music Association Awards in November 2009. The song was part of the regular set list for shows of Taylor’s first headlining concert tour, the “Fearless Tour” (2009–2010). Before performing “Forever & Always”, she gave a mock interview with Today host Hoda Kotb. Afterwards, Taylor appeared onstage in a red dress, and while performing the song, threw an armchair down the stairs onstage.

Taylor later performed “Forever & Always” during some select dates of her following world tours. She included it on the set list for her March 22, 2013, show in Columbia, South Carolina, as part of “The RED Tour.” She performed the song during her September 15, 2018, show in Indianapolis, Indiana, as part of her “reputation Stadium Tour.”

Critical Reception

The song received positive reviews from music critics. James E. Perone, an academic in music, complimented the song’s radio-friendly production, but felt that it was “too generic and market-oriented” for a singer-songwriter. Writing for Billboard, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong felt that Taylor’s songwriting on “Forever & Always” set a precedent to her subsequent songs about revenge and contempt for ex-lovers. Nate Jones of Vulture and Hazel Cills of Pitchfork agreed, finding the Joe Jonas-inspired “Forever & Always” introduced Taylor’s trademark songwriting about failed romance and celebrity; Cillz wrote: “[Taylor] likes to give a play-by-play, stacking minute summaries of a moment on top of each other like she’s story-boarding the perfect montage out of an indelible memory.” In another review for Pitchfork in 2021, Dani Blum selected “Forever & Always” as the best song on Fearless, highlighting the tumultuous emotions in Taylor’s vocals.

Commercial Performance

After Fearless (2008) was released, “Forever & Always” peaked within the top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100 (No. 34, three weeks total) and the Canadian Hot 100 (No. 37, two weeks total). In July 2018, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the song Platinum for surpassing one million units based on sales and streaming.

“Forever & Always (Taylor’s Version” debuted at No. 12 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart on the week ending April 15, 2021. The song also debuted at No. 65 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Piano Version

On the Platinum Editon of the album, the song was redone with a softer piano melody. Taylor told The Los Angeles Times that on “Forever & Always (Piano Version)“, she felt as though she achieved something authentic and raw. She explained:

«When I go into the studio, it's really more about portraying the song in a way that gets the feeling across, rather than every phrase being exactly perfect. I think it's the writer in me that's a little more obsessed with the meaning of the song than the vocal technique. All that stuff is like math to me. Over-thinking vocals and stuff – I never want to get to that point.»

Taylor Swift

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Once upon a time
I believe it was a Tuesday when I caught your eye
And we caught onto something
I hold onto the night
You looked me in the eye and told me you loved me
Were you just kidding?
‘Cause it seems to me
This thing is breaking down, we almost never speak
I don’t feel welcome anymore
Baby what happened, please tell me?
‘Cause one second it was perfect
Now you’re halfway out the door

[Chorus]
And I stare at the phone, he still hasn’t called
And then you feel so low you cant feel nothing at all
And you flashback to when he said forever and always
Oh, and it rains in your bedroom, everything is wrong
It rains when you’re here and it rains when you’re gone
‘Cause I was there when you said forever and always

[Verse 2]
Was I out of line?
Did I say something way too honest, made you run and hide
Like a scared little boy?
I looked into your eyes
Thought I knew you for a minute, now I’m not so sure
So here’s everything coming down to nothing
Here’s to silence that cuts me to the core
Where is this going?
Thought I knew for a minute, but I don’t anymore

[Chorus]
And I stare at the phone, he still hasn’t called
And then you feel so low you cant feel nothing at all
And you flashback to when he said forever and always
Oh, and it rains in your bedroom, everything is wrong
It rains when you’re here and it rains when you’re gone
‘Cause I was there when you said forever and always
You didn’t mean it baby, I don’t think so

[Bridge]
Back up, baby, back up
Did you forget everything?
Back up, baby, back up
Did you forget everything?

[Chorus Variation]
‘Cause it rains in your bedroom, everything is wrong
It rains when you’re here and it rains when you’re gone
‘Cause I was there when you said forever and always
Oh, I stare at the phone, he still hasn’t called
And then you feel so low you cant feel nothing at all
And you flashback to when we said forever and always

[Final Chorus]
And it rains in your bedroom, everything is wrong
It rains when you’re here and it rains when you’re gone
‘Cause I was there when you said forever and always
You didn’t mean it baby

[Outro]
You said forever and always
Yeah

General Information
AlbumsFearless
Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedNovember 11, 2008
Re-ReleasedApril 9, 2021
GenreCountry Pop
Length3:54
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducersNathan Chapman (original)
Christopher Rowe
Taylor Swift
FEARLESS CHRONOLOGY
The Way I Loved YouForever & AlwaysThe Best Day
Single Certification
Hidden Message
If you play these games we’re both going to lose
Song Artwork
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Taylor's Version
Original Audio