We Were Happy (From The Vault)

Fearless (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“We Were Happy (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]” is the twenty-second track from Taylor’s first re-recorded album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) [2021]. The song was originally written by Taylor and Liz Rose in 2008, and was produced by Taylor and Aaron Dessner in 2021. Australian country singer Keith Urban provides uncredited backing vocals on the track.
“We Were Happy” reminisces on the happy moments of a past romance, employing strings, a chiming and wistful guitar, and lush harmonies. It has instrumentals that contain strings, a chiming and wistful guitar, and lush harmonies between Taylor and Keith Urban. “We Were Happy” was co-produced by Aaron Dessner of The National, who collaborated with Taylor on her acclaimed 2020 albums folklore and evermore.

Background and Release

After the sale of the masters of Taylor’s first six studio albums to American businessman Scooter Braun in 2019, Taylor announced that she had the intention to re-record the albums. The first of these re-recordings, her second studio album, Fearless (2008), was released on April 9, 2021. On 2 April 2021, Taylor released a video on Twitter where “a series of nonsense words appear in front of a vault, with letters flashing and fading out at different times”. This was widely interpreted to be a hint towards the album’s full tracklist, as while the first 20 tracks on the album were known, being previously released, the latter six tracks were unreleased, and simply referred to as bonus tracks “from the vault”. The following day, the full track list was released, which included “We Were Happy”, a previously unreleased song. It was also announced that Keith Urban would provide backing vocals on “We Were Happy”.

Keith Urban told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview that he was doing his Christmas shopping when Taylor asked him to contribute to the track, saying he was “sitting in the food court at the shopping centre listening to these two unreleased Taylor Swift songs”, with the other track being “That’s When“, which Urban is officially featured on. In a post on social media, Taylor shared her excitement:

«I’m really honored that Keith Urban is a part of this project, duetting on 'That’s When' and singing harmonies on 'We Were Happy'. I was his opening act during the Fearless album era and his music has inspired me endlessly.»

Taylor Swift

From the Vault

Songs “from the vault” were written when Taylor was between the ages of 16 and 18 in the run-up to the release of album two. Back when she initially released Fearless in 2008, these tunes were held back for various reasons, including the fact that you couldn’t cram that many songs onto a physical CD – how very 2008. But in 2021, with the re-recording of her second album, Taylor wanted to let fans “into the entire dreamscape that is my fearless album.”

Commercial Performance

Upon the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), “We Were Happy” appeared on both the United States’ Hot Country Songs chart, and the Canadian Hot 100.

Critical Reception

In a piece for Gigwise, Kelsey Barnes deemed “We Were Happy” the standout of the album’s six vault tracks, calling it “a mixture of the songwriting skills she learned during her time as a country artist and the folklorian roots she’s been leaning towards”. A Clash piece drew similar comparisons, noting the “folklore-esque minimalism”. In a ranking of all the vault tracks, Billboard‘s Jason Lipshutz ranked “We Were Happy” at number 3, describing Taylor’s vocal performance as “oscillating between nostalgia and guilt”, and praising her vocals as what “lifts ‘We Were Happy’ off the ground”.

Lyrics

General Information
AlbumFearless (Taylor’s Version)
BackupKeith Urban
ReleasedApril 9, 2021
RecordedNovember 2020–February 2021
Written2005
GenreCountry
Length4:04
LabelRepublic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducerJack Antonoff
FEARLESS CHRONOLOGY
Mr. Perfectly FineWe Were HappyThat’s When
Song Artwork
Lyric Video
Official Audio