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We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Lead Single | RED (2012) | RED (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is the lead single of Taylor’s fourth studio album, RED (2012). It is a bubblegum country pop song; its lyrics depict Taylor’s frustrations at an ex-lover who wants to rekindle their relationship. The re-recording of the song, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on November 12, 2021 on the album RED (Taylor’s Version).

Background and Composition

After writing Speak Now (2010) entirely solo, Taylor opted to collaborate with different songwriters and producers for RED. Thus, she called Max Martin and Shellback, two songwriters and producers whose work she admired, to discuss a possible collaboration. The trio conceived the concept for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” shortly after a friend of Taylor’s ex-boyfriend walked into the recording studio and spoke of rumors he heard that she and her former flame were reuniting. After the friend left, Martin and Shellback asked Taylor to elaborate on the details of the relationship, which she described as “break up, get back together, break up, get back together, just, ugh, the worst”. When Martin suggested that they write about the incident, Taylor began playing the guitar and singing, “We are never ever……”, and the song flowed rapidly afterwards. She described the process as one of the most humorous experiences she had while recording, and said the musical partners matched her expectations. An audio clip of her sarcastically speaking about breakups can be heard before the final chorus.

«I came in and they played a track that they had made in preparation for this. And I wrote something over the track. And then I think after that, I was telling them a story about what I was going through. And then I started just kind of singing, ‘We are never ever ever’…and Max was like, ‘That's great! We're writing that. Like we've got to write that!’ And then Johan was like, ‘And we-eee could be like little kids on a playground!’ And that was the first time that I realized these people think in a way that is so mystical and magical, and the way that you could hear a hook that's not really musical notes. It's a sound, or these kind of pop wizards. I remember being so challenged by writing with them.»

Taylor Swift
The song flowed rapidly afterwards. Taylor described the process as one of the most humorous experiences she’s had while recording. She further explained some of the song’s background to USA Today in 2012:

«It’s a definitive portrait of how I felt when I finally stopped caring what my ex thought of me. He made me feel like I wasn’t as good or as relevant as these hipster bands he listened to. So I made a song that I knew would absolutely drive him crazy when he heard it on the radio. Not only would it hopefully be played a lot, so that he’d have to hear it, but it’s the opposite of the kind of music that he was trying to make me feel inferior to.»

Taylor Swift

Release

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was the lead single from RED. Taylor premiered the single on August 13, 2012, during a live chat on Google+ with the song released on Google Play that day for digital download and to iTunes and Amazon.com the next day, August 14. A lyric video also premiered on her official Vevo channel that same day. The song was released to Adult Contemporary radio stations on August 13, 2012 and to mainstream radio stations the next day. It was released to country radio on August 21, 2012. The music video for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” premiered on August 30, 2012. A limited edition individually numbered CD single was released to Taylor’s official store and Amazon.com on September 4, 2012. The limited edition CD single was packaged with a “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” T-shirt and backpack.

Music Video

The music video for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was released in August 2012. It was the first music video to be presented in 4K resolution and received positive reviews from critics. It was also filmed in one take without editing and was originally almost seven minutes long. The extra scenes were cut from the final version and were only shown at select events a few times.

Live Performances

Taylor performed “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” live for the first time at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards on September 6, 2012, which was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. On February 10, 2013, she performed the song at the 2013 Grammy Awards, opening the ceremony. She performed the song on her “RED Tour” nightly as the finale (2013-2014). A rock version of the song was performed on “The 1989 World Tour” (2015). More recently, the song was performed as a mashup with “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” as the finale on her “reputation Stadium Tour” (2018).

Critical Reception

Upon initial release, the song received positive reviews from music critics. Robert Myers of The Village Voice felt that the song, while “good”, was “not Swift at her best” and speculated that the decision to release it as a lead single was made for commercial reasons: “I doubt ‘Never Ever’ is even close to being the best song on Red; it’s a teaser, an indication to her fans of what’s coming up. That sounds like commercial calculation of the worst kind, but I don’t think it is. Swift’s connection with her audience is possibly more important than her connection with her boyfriends. And there is one brilliant touch: the spoken bit that comes after the middle eight.” Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone noted that the song’s “hooks, plural, have a zing that’s more Stockholm than Nashville. But it’s unmistakably Taylor: a witty relationship postmortem, delivered in inimitable girlie-girl patois. And this bit – “I’m just, I mean, this is exhausting. Like, we are never getting back together. Like, ever” – might be the most sublime spoken-word interlude in pop since Barry White died.”

Rolling Stone named it the second-best song of 2012 in their end-of-year critics’ poll: “It’s like a Clash of the Titans: Swift, the world’s hottest pop singer or songwriter, meets up with Max Martin, the Swedish maestro who’s been the Dr. Evil of global trash-disco for more than a decade. To nobody’s surprise, they cook up a perfect three-minute teen tantrum about country girls getting mad at high-strung indie boys, topping the charts faster than you can say, ‘This is exhausting.’ It’s a stadium-chant breakup song that may have less to do with the actual guy it’s about than with the massive raging-cowgirl audience Swift has led to the pinnacle of the music world.” The song was marked at No. 4 on Time magazine’s “Top 10 Songs of 2012 Playlist”. It was voted the sixth best single of 2012 by The Village Voice‘s 40th annual Pazz & Jop critics’ poll. It also received a Grammy nomination for “Record of the Year” for the 2013 Grammy Awards. In 2019, Stereogum ranked the song as the 71st best song of the 2010s. Rolling Stone ranked the song as the thirteenth-best female country song of the 2000s and 2010s.

Commercial Performance

In the U.S., “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” debuted at No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart week ending August 25, 2012, based on two days of airplay. It rose to No. 1 the following week, registering one of the biggest single-week jumps in chart history. Giving Taylor her first Hot 100 number one, it made her the country artist with the most top-ten chart entries (11, tying with Kenny Rogers). It spent two consecutive weeks at No. 1 and was the first country song to spend three or more weeks at number one after Kenny Rogers’s “Lady” (1980). The single stayed in the top ten for thirteen non-consecutive weeks. On the Radio Songs chart, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” entered at No. 25, the highest debut for a song by a female country artist. It peaked at No. 3 for three non-consecutive weeks, giving Taylor her fourth top-ten entry. On the Hot Digital Songs chart, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” debuted at No. 1 with first-week sales of 623,000 digital copies in the week ending September 1, 2012, setting a record for the fastest-selling digital single by a female artist in Billboard chart history.

Outside North America, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” peaked atop the record chart in New Zealand, where it was certified double platinum by Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ). The single peaked within the top ten on charts in Israel (No. 2), Australia (No. 3), Ireland (No. 4), the U.K. (No. 4), Norway (No. 6), Hungary (No. 9), and Spain (No. 9). It peaked at No. 8 on Euro Digital Song Sales, a Billboard chart monitoring digital singles across Europe. In Japan, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was a chart success, peaking at No. 2 on the Japan Hot 100 and remained on the chart until 2015, three years after its release. The Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) awarded the single a “Million” certification for selling over one million digital copies.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
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”

[Pre-chorus 1]
Ooh, we called it off again last night
But ooh, this time I’m telling you, I’m telling you

[Chorus]
We are never ever ever getting back together
We are never ever ever getting back together
You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me
But we are never ever ever ever getting back together
Like, ever

[Verse 2]
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 mind
With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine

[Pre-chorus 2]
Ooh, you called me up again tonight
But ooh, this time I’m telling you, I’m telling you

[Chorus]
We are never, ever, ever getting back together
We are never, ever, ever getting back together
You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me (Talk to me)
But we are never ever ever ever getting back together

[Post-Chorus]
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh (Yeah)
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh (Yeah)
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh (Yeah)
Oh-oh-oh

[Bridge]
I used to think that we were forever ever
And I used to say, “Never say never”
Ugh, so he calls me up and he’s like, “I still love you”
And I’m like, “I just, I mean this is exhausting, you know?
Like, we are never getting back together
Like, ever”
No!

[Chorus]
We are never ever ever getting back together
We are never ever ever getting back together
You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me
But we are never ever ever ever
Getting back together

[Outro]
We (Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, no)
Getting back together
We (Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, oh, oh)
Getting back together (Yeah)
You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me (Talk to me)
But we are never, ever, ever, ever
Getting back together

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General Information
AlbumsRED
RED (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedOctober 22, 2012
Re-ReleasedNovember 12, 2021
StudioConway (Los Angeles)
MXM (Stockholm)
GenreCountry Pop
Bubblegum Pop
Length3:13
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Max Martin
Shellback
ProducersMax Martin (original)
Shellback
Christopher Rowe
Taylor Swift
RED CHRONOLOGY
I Almost DoWe Are Never Ever Getting Back TogetherStay Stay Stay
Single Certification
Hidden Message
When I stopped caring what you thought
Single Artwork
Music Video
Live Performance
Lyric Video (Official Audio)
Official Audio
Lyric Video (Original Audio)
Original Audio