Written by: Taylor Swift, Max Martin and Shellback
Produced by: Max Martin and Shellback
UK release: August 2012
UK chart peak: 4
This was my Taylor Swift gateway song. I wasn’t really paying attention during her more country-oriented years, but when she joined forces with Max Martin and Shellback for the Red era… well, there was no resisting her any longer.
From this song’s intro, in which her trusty guitar is sent through some sort of synthesise-y electro-y thing, it’s clear that her sound is evolving; and it turns out her knack for strong, personal lyrics is a perfect match for Max Martin’s playful flourishes and unforgettable hooks. We Are Never… is both quintessential Taylor and quintessential Max; and moments like the “indie record” shout-out and the spoken bit on the end of the middle-8 are absolutely priceless.
There’s a case to be made for, say, I Knew You Were Trouble or even Red being the strongest single from this era (believe me, the latter was very nearly in this 100 Songs list), but as Taylor’s best lead cut – and the song that kick-started the Pop Behemoth phase of her career – this one just had to win out.