Babe

Bigger (Sugarland, 2018) | RED (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“Babe” is a song originally written by Taylor and Patrick Monahan of Train for her 2012 album RED. It was cut from the final track list and instead got released by American country music duo Sugarland on April 20, 2018, as the second single from their sixth studio album, Bigger (2018). As a song originally released by Big Machine Records, “Babe (Taylor’s Version)” is included in the release of RED (Taylor’s Version) [2021].
The acoustic breakup song finds Taylor chiding a cheating lover for ruining a relationship. It is assumed that “Babe” was written about actor Jake Gyllenhaal since its theme fits right into the story she tells about him on the album. There are several connections between “Babe” and other songs written for RED, including “All Too Well,” “Girl At Home,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and “The Last Time.”

Background

Patrick Monahan, the founding member of rock band Train, first spoke about writing a song with Taylor during a 2013 interview with ABC News Radio. He said that when he asked Taylor about collaborating on a song for Train’s next album, she asked him to co-write a song for her fourth album, RED (2012). Ultimately, “Babe” was not included on the album, but when Taylor decided to put out a deluxe version of RED, Monahan thought it would finally be released.

The track list for Sugarland’s album Bigger, which was released on April 12, 2018, shows that “Babe” is the only song on the album not co-written by Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. They told reporters backstage at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards that the collaboration came about after Taylor called the duo, wanting to work with them:

«[Taylor] reached out. We [have] obviously known each other for many years. When she was first getting started we had just had our first little EP out, called Premium Quality Tunes. She still has a copy of it that we signed for her whenever we played a couple of shows together. She was excited we were getting back together and reached out and said, ‘Hey, I have a song.‘ That is a short list, ladies and gentleman, of people to whom she has said, ‘Hey, I have a song, you want to sing it?’ So we said, ‘Yeah!’' We’ve never really put a song by anyone else on our records so we weren’t really used [to] sorting through that and we didn’t want to mess it up, so we didn’t tell anybody until we got it finished and she liked it. Thank God. Because it is a good song.»

Jennifer Nettles
Taylor revealed in August 2021 that she recorded a solo rendition of “Babe” for the 2021 re-recording of RED, called RED (Taylor’s Version).

The Companion to "Better Man"

“Babe” marked the second song Taylor had written for a country act since making her full transition to pop in 2014 (following Little Big Town’s “Better Man” in 2016) and the first country song on which she is credited as an artist since that time. “The story behind this is that sometimes I’ll write a song that I absolutely love but I feel like it doesn’t fit with an album I’ve made, so I hold it back and hope it’ll have its own moment some day, whether it’s me singing it or some other artist. And in this case, it’s an artist called Sugarland!” In a video uploaded to Instagram on the day of the song’s release, she said:

«It’s a song that I wrote with Pat Monahan when I was making the RED album. I’m so happy that it gets its own life. I’m so happy that Sugarland wanted to record it, and has done such a good job with it, and I’m so stoked to be able to sing on it, too.»

Taylor Swift

Commercial Performance

“Babe” debuted at No. 27 on Country Airplay dated April 28, 2018. The following week it was released for sale, and the song reached No. 8 on Hot Country Songs with 38,000 copies in the first sales week. The song peaked at No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at No. 2 on the Digital Song Sales chart. It has sold 166,000 copies in the United States as of November 2018. Additionally the song peaked at No. 94 in Canada and No. 64 in Scotland.

Music Video

Taylor had the original idea for the video’s concept, and as stated per the Sugarland duo themselves, they all got together before the video shoot to collaborate on ideas. The video, directed by Anthony Mandler, features Brandon Routh, Jennifer Nettles and Taylor in primary roles. Taylor ‘s attire in the music video was compared to that of character Joan Holloway from the television series “Mad Men”.

Routh and Nettles are a married couple while Taylor plays the role of a secretary who is having an affair with her married boss (Routh). Routh is shown to be an unfaithful husband throughout the clip and is, ultimately, discovered by Nettles. However, it is later revealed that both women were victims, with Nettles being cheated on and Taylor being told by Routh that he loves her and has written love letters to her, but later abandons her, breaking both women’s hearts.

The music video was nominated for “Video of the Year” at the 2018 CMA Awards and 2019 ACM Awards.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
What a shame
Didn’t wanna be the one that got away, yeah
Big mistake, broke the sweetest promise
That you never should have made

[Pre-chorus 1]
I’m here on the kitchen floor
You call, but I won’t hear it
You said no one else, how could you do this, babe?

[Chorus]
You really blew this, babe
We ain’t getting through this one, babe
This is the last time I’ll ever call you, babe
This is the last time, this is the last time
This is the last time, I’ll ever call you babe

[Verse 2]
What a waste
Taking down the pictures and the plans we made, yeah
And it’s strange how your face doesn’t look so innocent
Your secret has its consequence and that’s on you, babe

[Pre-chorus 2]
I break down every time you call
We’re a wreck, you’re the wrecking ball
We said no one else, how could you do this, babe?

[Chorus]
You really blew this, babe
We ain’t getting through this one, babe
This is the last time I’ll ever call you, babe
This is the last time, this is the last time
This is the last time

[Bridge]
Since you admitted it, I keep picturing
Her lips on your neck, I can’t unsee it
I hate that because of you, I can’t love you
Babe

What a shame, didn’t want to be the one that got away
How could you do this, babe?
You really blew this, babe

[Chorus]
We ain’t getting through this one, babe
How could you do this, babe
This is the last time, this is the last time
This is the last time, I’ll ever call you babe

[Final Chorus]
How could you do this, babe?
I’m here on the kitchen floor, you call but I won’t hear it
You said no one else

We ain’t getting through this one, babe
I break down every time you call,
This is the last time
We’re a wreck, you’re the wrecking ball
This is the last time, this is the last time
You said no one else
This is the last time
I’ll never call you, babe

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General Information
AlbumRED (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedApril 20, 2018
Re-ReleasedNovember 12, 2021
Written2010-2012
GenreCountry Pop
Length3:35
LabelBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Patrick Monahan
ProducersKristian Bush
Jennifer Nettles
Julian Raymond
RED CHRONOLOGY
Nothing NewBabeMessage In A Bottle
Single Covers
Music Video
Original Audio