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The Last Time

Feat. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol | Single (UK) | RED (2012) | RED (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“The Last Time” tells the story of a long-standing but crumbling relationship. It ties into the general theme of Taylor’s fourth studio album, RED (2012), which tells the story of a relationship, from its beginning to the end. The re-recording of the song, “The Last Time (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on November 12, 2021 on the album RED (Taylor’s Version).
“The Last Time” ties into the story Taylor tells on RED and has connections to songs like “I Almost Do” or “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. Taylor’s boyfriend has already broken things off multiple times but keeps on coming back to her, even though he knows he will eventually break her heart again.

Background

Taylor released her third studio album, Speak Now, in October 2010. She wrote the album entirely by herself and co-produced it with Nathan Chapman, her longtime collaborator. The album musically expands on the country pop sound of her two previous albums, with elements of radio-friendly pop crossover that had been evident on its predecessor Fearless (2008). On Speak Now‘s follow-up, RED, Taylor aimed to experiment beyond her previous albums’ formulaic country pop sound. One of the resulting collaborations was “The Last Time”, which was produced by Jacknife Lee, who is best known for working with the bands Snow Patrol and U2. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol co-wrote the track with Taylor and Jacknife Lee and also provides guest vocals. When he was asked about working with Taylor in 2018, he said:

«It was so fast. She works really fast. She’s extraordinary. We actually did that song, wrote it and recorded it in a day. And that was the version of it on the record, which is very rare. Normally you write and record something with somebody and then down the line they’ll record it, if you’re lucky. With her, the whole thing was done in nine hours. I hope we can do it again sometime!»

Gary Lightbody

Lyrical Theme

“The Last Time” is an alternative rock song, with influences of folk rock. It tells the story of a long-standing but crumbling relationship. Lyrically, it describes a relationship as a vicious cycle of both heartbreak and forgiveness. Orchestral swells accentuate the chorus and drama. Taylor told NPR:

«'The Last Time' is a song that I wrote with Gary Lightbody, of Snow Patrol. I’ve always wanted to work with Snow Patrol, they’re my favourite band. This was a song that I wrote about something I had been going through. I picture a door and, on the outside of the door, standing outside in the cold, there’s this guy who’s left his girlfriend over and over again and comes back and asks for a second chance over and over and over again. On the other side of the door, you have this girl standing there with tears in her eyes, wondering how she could possibily turn him away when she loves him this much, but she can’t get hurt again. It’s both of these people swearing that this would be the last time. She’s swearing it’s the last time she’s going to take him back, he’s swearing it’s the last time he’s going to leave her and hurt her. It’s a really intense song and I’m so proud to have Gary on the record.»

Taylor Swift

Music Video

The music video for the song was directed by Terry Richardson and premiered on November 15, 2013, on YouTube. Similarly to her music video for the album’s title track “Red“, “The Last Time” music video features concert footage from Taylor’s “The RED Tour” in Sacramento, California on August 27, 2013. This was the first time Gary Lightbody and Taylor performed the single together live. The video is inter-spliced throughout with footage showing fans’ hand-made signs and cheering.

Live Performances

On August 27, 2013, Taylor and Gary Lightbody performed this song on her “The RED Tour” in Sacramento, California for the very first time. The pair performed the song once again on the tenth season of British version of The X Factor on November 3, 2013 to support sales as a UK single.

Critical Reception

“The Last Time” officially impacted UK contemporary hit radio on November 4, 2013. Joseph Atilano of The Philippine Inquirer described it as the most mature track on the album and positively noted that it “represents a darker tone” on RED. He further commented that the song “proves she is ready for the adult-pop realm” and lends her artistic credibility. Amy Sciarretto of PopCrush also praised Taylor’s maturity on the track, which she felt would fare well on adult contemporary radio. She also characterized the song as “darkly romantic” and “sort of epic.”

Commercial Performance

“The Last Time (Taylor’s Version)” debuted at No. 66 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the week ending November 26, 2021. It marked the first appearance of both Taylor and Gary Lightbody together on a song on the chart.

Taylor's Version

Taylor re-recorded “The Last Time”, subtitled “(Taylor’s Version)”, for her second re-recorded album, RED (Taylor’s Version), released on November 12, 2021, through Republic Records. Upon the song’s release, Gary Lightbody wrote on Instagram:

«[I am] so happy to be a small part of RED. I’m so proud of the song and delighted to revisit it. It is extraordinary what Taylor is doing with the new versions of her albums. A gargantuan feat that would consume the lives of any mortal musician. However not only has TS been re-recording her previous albums but also finding the time somehow to record folklore and evermore, two of the best albums of the last few years. I’m honoured to be a part of RED and I know Jacknife is too. It is incredible to see Taylor’s belief in the album as a work of art, particularly at a time when streaming and playlists mean the album as an art form isn't being celebrated as much. Thanks to Taylor for having us back and to all her amazing fans for your kind messages.»

Gary Lightbody

Lyrics

[Verse 1: Gary Lightbody]
Found myself at your door
Just like all those times before
I’m not sure how I got there
All roads they lead me here
I imagine you are home
In your room, all alone
And you open your eyes into mine
And everything feels better

[Pre-chorus: Taylor Swift & Gary Lightbody]
And right before your eyes
I’m breaking, no past
No reasons why
Just you and me

[Chorus]
This is the last time I’m asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I’m asking you why
You break my heart in the blink of an eye (Eye, eye)

[Verse 2: Taylor Swift]
You find yourself at my door
Just like all those times before
You wear your best apology
But I was there to watch you leave
And all the times I let you in
Just for you to go again
Disappear when you come back
Everything is better

[Pre-Chorus: Taylor Swift & Gary Lightbody]
And right before your eyes
I’m aching, run fast
Nowhere to hide
Just you and me

[Chorus]
This is the last time I’m asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I’m asking you why
You break my heart in the blink of an eye (Eye, eye)

[Guitar Solo]

[Bridge: Taylor Swift & Gary Lightbody]
This is the last time you tell me I’ve got it wrong
This is the last time I say it’s been you all along
This is the last time I let you in my door
This is the last time, I won’t hurt you anymore
Oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho
Oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho

[Chorus: Taylor Swift & Gary Lightbody]
This is the last time I’m asking you this
Put my name on the top of your list
This is the last time I’m asking you why
You break my heart in the blink of an eye

[Final chorus: Taylor Swift & Gary Lightbody]
This is the last time I’m asking you this (This is the last time I’m asking you this)
Put my name on the top of your list (Name on the top of your list)
This is the last time I’m asking you why (This is the last time I’m asking you why)
You break my heart in the blink of an eye (You break my heart)

[Outro: Taylor Swift & Gary Lightbody]
This is the last time I’m asking you, last time I’m asking you
Last time I’m asking you this
This is the last time I’m asking you, last time I’m asking you
Last time I’m asking you this
This is the last time I’m asking you, last time I’m asking you
Last time I’m asking you this
This is the last time I’m asking you, last time I’m asking you
Last time I’m asking you this

General Information
AlbumsRED
RED (Taylor’s Version)
FeatureGary Lightbody of Snow Patrol
ReleasedOctober 22, 2012
Re-ReleasedNovember 12, 2021
StudioThe Garage (Topanga Canyon)
GenreAlternative Rock
Length4:59
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Gary Lightbody
Jacknife Lee
ProducerJacknife Lee
RED CHRONOLOGY
Stay Stay StayThe Last TimeHoly Ground
Hidden Message
LA on your break
Single Artwork
Music Video
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Taylor's Version
Original Audio