A Close Reading Of Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’


0:00 — I am way too old to be listening to songs by Taylor Swift.

0:02 — …Seriously, I’m gettin’ too old for this shit. I’m so Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon right now. (…On an unrelated note, my favorite Danny Glover quote from the Lethal Weapon movies is this: “…It’s just been revoked.” Why even say that after shooting someone? Who are you talking to? The dead guy? Yourself? But I digress.)

0:05 — Also, I am well aware that I am only finally listening to this song a year or so after it was released. This is what happens when you get old. It’ll happen to you. I only just heard “Call Me Maybe” for the first time a month ago. Catchy song. I predict that it’ll be a hit.

0:07 — Okay, so we are all well aware that this song is about Jake Gyllenhaal, I guess. So that’s nice. Let’s just agree to know that we all know that and move on. On an unrelated note, I used to write about movies and shit for a living, and trying to spell the Gyllenhaal family name was the bane of my existence. Also: “Scarlett Johansson.” That one was a surprising pain in the ass to spell. There are many ways to spell “Johansson” wrong.

0:15 — I guess I should pay attention to the actual song.

0:20 — You know that hipster glasses are over as a concept when Taylor Swift starts wearing them.

0:37 — So far, as revenge songs go, this is no “Cry Me a River.” I am convinced that “Cry Me a River” is what caused Britney Spears to lose her shit for a decade. Have you seen the live version of that song? It has a FULL GOSPEL CHOIR. If someone released a number one song with a FULL GOSPEL CHOIR about how I was a lying, cheating ho-bag who cried fake tears, I’d lose my shit too. Just like Britney did.

0:40 — Taylor Swift’s walls seem to have woven yarn all over them. I don’t know if this is an actual trendy design thing that people do, or if it’s just for the video. I don’t have a joke here, I just wanted to emphasize that I notice things like yarn walls in videos.


0:55 — No-oooo…

1:00 — YOU GO TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS TALK TO MY FRIENDS TALK TO ME. …Catchy! But Jesus Christ, the band.

1:03 — The guy in the bear costume.

1:04 — I can’t even…

1:05 — I’m including a screenshot of the guy in the bear costume just so you can appreciate what I’m dealing with here:

I mean; I’m just sayin’.

1:10 — “…Like, ever.” I don’t know why, but when Taylor sang this, this is the thought that automatically popped into my head: “Well, so much for Western Civilization.”  Not completely sure why I thought that. But then, I don’t want to over-analyze these things too much.

1:12 — I just realized that this video is all one extended tracking shot; like the video for “Stay” by Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories. Taylor Swift: the Lisa Loeb of a new generation.

1:20 — “And you/ Would hide away and find your peace of mind/ With some/ Indie record that’s much cooler than mine.” Not totally su-uuure if I would be bringing this up if I was Taylor Swift. In addition to being stunningly bitchy, it’s… not really a good area-thing for her to bring up; her music’s lack of coolness like that. Also, so what was her hypothetical boyfriend supposed to do in said situation? Get in a fight with Taylor Swift, then go home and listen to a… Taylor Swift album? I mean, his only real options were to listen to something that wasn’t Taylor Swift, and most things are cooler than Taylor Swift, so, um, yes.

1:49 — I feel like Jake Gyllenhaal is really justified in doing whatever in retaliation for this song. I mean, maybe Taylor’s in the right, maybe he’s in the right, who knows. But still, once a song is released about you, you’re totally justified in striking back with — in his case — a shitty indie movie with a thinly characterized bitchy character named Swaylor Twift or something. So. I look forward to that happening.

1:51 — No. The guy in the bear suit again. Just no.

2:01 — Wait. The guy next to the guy in the bear suit is worse. Much worse. Check this out:

He’s the worst person ever.

2:15 — Aw. He gave her his scarf. That was nice. Yes, I’m on the side of the asshole boyfriend in this video.

2:16 — How much longer do I have to write about this song for? One minute and twenty seconds, apparently.

2:22 — The time before when I heard this song, Taylor Swift was doing this song live for New Year’s, and she did the terrible spoken word part live too: “So he calls me up and he’s like ISTILLLUVYOUUU.” It’d be really hard to convince me to do that live. It was awkward. It was embarrassing. I hope they paid her a lot for doing it.

2:36 — Never say never Taylor.

2:38 — Aaaah! The band! This video is like brief seconds of bliss between the band appearing.

2:45 — I’ll say something nice about Taylor here. I like her enthusiasm. I like that she’s not afraid to dance dorkily in her own video. I like that about her. Really. That is not sarcasm.

3:03 — Is this video going to end with a twist where they do get back together???

3:04 — Nope.

3:14 — Well, that’s over. Or almost over. HEY TAYLOR WINKED AT ME.

Right. The rest of the video is just buildings and things. In summation, this song is okay, but I think Taylor Swift is crazy, but then, 20-year-old people are pretty much automatically crazy, so there’s that. Also, Taylor might not be… that smart. Or maybe she’s sneaky-smart. I dunno. All I know is that she dated John Mayer; and John Mayer hit on my friend Jessica once, and Jessica said the process of talking to John Mayer was “excruciating,” and that he was the “dumbest, dumbest person.” Which must also mean that Taylor Swift is mildly not so smart herself, if she dated him and all. Which means that Taylor Swift is sort of dumb. But that’s not a joke. I need a joke with which to end this essay. I don’t… have a joke here? Um. Well, insert standard expected joke here about me never ever doing this again. …Like, ever.