The video for Taylor Swift’s latest single “The Last Time” pairs her with her collaborator, Snow Patrol singer and songwriter Gary Lightbody, in a session built around his guest appearance with her in August on her Red tour.
Directed by Terry Richardson, the video opens with Swift and Lightbody seated on stools back to back, mirroring the opposing emotions laid out in the song, which Swift wrote with Lightbody and producer Jacknife Lee: she vowing not to be hurt again, him promising never to do her wrong again.
Rather than simply blending their voices in harmony, each singer communicates a distinctly different set of feelings and expectations about where the relationship should go next, with no clear resolution at the song’s end.
The performance of “The Last Time” in Sacramento was the first time she’d played it live, she told the crowd that night.
The song taps into Snow Patrol’s pulsating melancholy alt-rock sound, part of the musical exchange with various recordings partners that Swift says was central to where she wanted to go with “Red.”
Sometimes you see collaborations where it just sounds like someone else sang on someone else’s song,” she told me when we sat down to discuss the album at a rehearsal facility in Burbank last year. “It sounds like my kind of song but with someone else’s name on it. Or someone else’s vocal on it. I didn’t want that to happen.
“I wanted to truly let my collaborators rub off on me in a way,” she said. “I wanted there to still be what I do lyrically, and what I do with telling stories, but I really wanted to stretch sonically, and working with other people helped to do that.”
Here’s the video for “The Last Time”:
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