I’ve borne witness to many a musical fall from grace in my time, but never one as sudden or as jarring as that of Taylor Swift. The pop artist, who formerly held a mammoth stake in the teen-country market with her avalanche of broken-hearted acoustic ditties.
But with her new song, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, Swift has shirked any traces of country in her music, opting instead for a spunky Avril Lavigne-esque ballad in which she spurns a former lover with the scorned attitude of a 12-year-old girl whose parents have just denied her a $500 cell-phone. This song, while about as catchy as the Black Plague, is beyond any doubt the worst song Swift has ever recorded.
It’s difficult for me to enumerate the reasons why this song shows Taylor Swift, an artist whom I formerly respected considering her massive success (and occasional stints of inspired songwriting), dragging along the floor of the music industry. It’s nearly impossible to believe she wrote the song; the line “You go talk to your friends talk to me friend talk to me / But we are never ever ever ever ever [ever ever ever ever] getting back together” might sound fitting coming out of Carly Rae Jepsen’s mouth, but not Taylor Swift’s.
Swift’s signature acoustic guitars are hardly audible in the song, replaced instead by synthetic instruments of no particular description; her voice has lost all of the tender candor it once had; and to top it all off, after the second verse there’s a pathetic verbal interlude wherein Taylor complains on the phone to one of her friends about her ex’s attempts to get back together with her. Taylor Swift, where did all your charm go? Here’s hoping this is just a lone castaway song, written to appease whatever tyrannical record company has hold of her now, and her forthcoming album RED has more of what makes her, her. Score: 2/10.
Jake Bittle / A&E Editor