Taylor Swift releases new breakup song from fourth album, ‘Red’

Taylor Swift has released a new breakup song as the first single from her next album, "Red," due Oct. 22.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The first volley has been fired in what will certainly be another meticulously mapped-out campaign to set up Taylor Swift’s fourth album, “Red,” due Oct. 22.

As she did ahead of her “Speak Now” album two years ago, the singer and songwriter unveiled the first single from the forthcoming collection by way of a live Web chat. On Monday, she introduced the first single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” which quickly zoomed to the top of the iTunes Top Songs chart.

The track also immediately generated considerable speculation on who the target of the song might be after Swift said during the 25-minute Web chat that it was inspired by a real-life relationship. Her boyfriends in recent years have included singer Joe Jonas, actors Taylor Lautner and Jake Gyllenhaal and musician John Mayer, many of whom already have figured into her songs. She’s currently said to be dating Kennedy family member Conor Kennedy, and Swift recently bought a $5-million vacation home near the Kennedys’ Cape Cod compound.

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She elaborated on the song’s genesis on an interview she gave Tuesday morning on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.”

“This guy walks in who is a friend of my ex’s and starts talking about how he’s heard we’re going to get back together,” she said on the show, referring to one of the sessions with her songwriting partners on the track, Max Martin and Shellback. “And that was not the case. So I start telling them the story: Break up, get back together, break up, get back together -- just, ugh, the worst! And I picked up the guitar and [Martin] said, ‘This is what we’re writing’.”

Swift also told her live and video-chat audience that choosing the title for the album “was crazy, because it was really simple. I wrote a song called ‘Red,’ and thinking about what that means to me and all the different emotions that are written about on this album, they’re all pretty much about tumultuous, crazy, insane, intense, semi-toxic relationships that I’ve experienced in the last two years.

“All those emotions -- spanning from intense love, intense frustration, jealousy, confusion all of that -- in my mind, all of those emotions are red; there’s nothing in between -- there’s nothing beige about any of those feelings -- so I called the record ‘Red’,” the 22-year-old Swift said.


In contrast with “Speak Now,” which for the first time featured songs written by Swift, “Red” is built from her collaboration with a variety of songwriters and producers over the album’s 16 tracks. Swift said that the songs were culled from 30 to 35 tunes written during the two years she’s been working on it.

Because “Speak Now” was the first album in more than 5½ years to sell more than 1 million copies during its first week, music industry observers will be looking closely to see whether she’s able to repeat that feat -- and whether she’s able to keep her track record intact of increasing both first week and overall sales with each successive album she’s released since her 2006 debut, “Taylor Swift.”


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