Behind The Song: Taylor Swift “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

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Taylor Swift

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

From country ballads to frenzied dubstep and vibrant dance-pop concoctions, Taylor Swift’s latest album Red is a variety pack of emotion and energy. Yet one thing that binds so many of her songs together is their undeniable catchiness. She is a master of the hook, both melodic and lyrical.

Which is exactly the reason that, once you heard it, her GRAMMY-nominated single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was nearly impossible to get out of your head.

And it’s also a big reason why Swift chose it as the first song to be released from Red.

Picking that track “jumped out to me,” she told Radio.com. “I would play it for my friends and family, and they would come back a few days later singing it, word for word. They couldn’t get it out of their heads.”

 

Nominated for the cross-genre GRAMMY category of Record of the Year, “Never Ever” was written by Swift along with Max Martin and Shellback, a pair of Swedish producers who have written hits for such artists as P!nk, Adam Lambert, Britney Spears and Usher. They also co-wrote “I Knew You Were Trouble” with Swift, another song from Red.

“Never Ever” is about a breakup, but it’s also a celebration–a public declaration of freedom from the shackles of an unhealthy relationship. And so, the song feels like a party–as does its accompanying video.

Selecting “Never Ever” as the lead single was part of the fun of creating the album for Swift. As she said, Red is “a really eclectic group of songs,” offering an emotion for every song, and “no particular song defines the rest of the album.” So part of the decision to pick “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” as the lead single was to “make people wonder if that was what the rest of the record sounds like. It’s exciting to keep people on their toes.”

And finally, despite the autobiographical nature of the song, Swift told us that we will ‘never ever’ know who “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is about. “I like for people to paint their own picture,” she explained.

 

A record-breaking crossover hit, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is Taylor’s first No. 1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart but it also broke many country records. As of press time, it’s had a 10-week run at No. 1 on the Country Songs chart and set an all-time record for the most weeks at No. 1 by a solo female. Billboard reports this hasn’t been done since 1964 when Connie Smith spent eight weeks at No. 1 with her country hit “Once a Day.”

Taylor Swift trumps one more record 50 years in the making. No artist has spent more than nine weeks at No. 1 since 1963 when Buck Owens’ hit “Love’s Gonna Live Here” reigned the charts in 1963 and 1964.

The 55th annual GRAMMY Awards air Feb. 10 at 8pm ET on CBS.

- Kurt Wolff with additional reporting by Annie Reuter, Radio.com

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