The Last Time (Taylor Swift song)

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"The Last Time"
Taylor Swift - The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody) (Official Single Cover).png
Single by Taylor Swift featuring Gary Lightbody
from the album Red
Released November 4, 2013 (2013-11-04)
Length 4:59
Label Big Machine
Producer(s) Jacknife Lee
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Sweeter Than Fiction"
"The Last Time"
"Shake It Off"
Music video
"The Last Time" on YouTube

"The Last Time" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, taken from her fourth studio album, Red (2012). It was released as the seventh and final single from the album. One of two collaborations on Red, the song features Irish singer Gary Lightbody of the band Snow Patrol. The artists co-wrote the song with its producer, Jacknife Lee. "The Last Time" is an alternative rock song, with influences of folk rock.[1] It was added to the playlist of British national radio station BBC Radio 2 on October 19, 2013,[2] and officially impacted contemporary hit radio in the United Kingdom on November 4, 2013.[3]

Background and composition

On the album, "The Last Time" comes after the song, "Stay Stay Stay". Swift opted to collaborate with several producers on the album. One of the resulting collaborations was "The Last Time", which was produced by Jacknife Lee, who is best known for working with Snow Patrol and U2.

"The Last Time" is a power ballad[4] that draws primarily from alternative rock.[5] This is evident in Owen Pallett's string arrangements and conducting on the track.[6]It was written in the key of D major, and has a tempo of 94 BPM

The song tells the story of a long-standing but crumbling relationship. Lyrically, the song describes the relationship as one with vicious cycles of both heartbreak and forgiveness, for instance: "You find yourself at my door, just like all those times before, you wear your best apology, but I was there to watch you leave" as sung by Swift. Orchestral swells accentuate the chorus and drama to the "instantly hummable refrain".[4]

Critical reception

Joseph Atilano of The Philippine Inquirer described "The Last Time" as the most mature track on the album and positively noted that it "represents a darker tone" on Red.[1] He further commented that the song "proves she is ready for the adult-pop realm" and lends her artistic credibility.[1] Amy Sciarretto of PopCrush also praised Swift's maturity on the track, which she felt would fare well on adult contemporary radio. Sciarretto also characterized the song as "darkly romantic" and "sort of epic."[7]

Randall Roberts of The Los Angeles Times responded favorably to the song's balladry, writing that the song "is well-crafted, emotional and features an instantly hummable refrain."[4] Billy Dukes of Taste of Country was more critical of the song, as he felt Lightbody dominates the track and Swift "stretches out in the back seat"; he called "The Last Time" the "only pure skip-ahead moment" on Red.[8]

Music video

The music video for the song premiered on November 15, 2013, on Vevo and YouTube. The video is three minutes and 48 seconds in length. As of May 2018, the video has garnered over 35 million views on YouTube.

Similarly to her music video for the album's title track "Red", "The Last Time" music video features concert footage from Swift's The Red Tour in Sacramento, California on August 27, 2013. This was the first time Lightbody and Swift performed the single together live.[9] The video starts off with Lightbody being lifted up onto the stage and Swift approaching him from behind. They begin the duet seated, with their backs facing each other. The video is inter-spliced throughout with footage showing fans' hand-made signs and cheering. The video ends with Lightbody and Swift finishing their duet on stage. The video was directed by Terry Richardson.[10]

Live performances

Swift and Lightbody performed the song on the tenth season of British version of The X Factor on November 3, 2013 to support sales as a UK single.


Chart (2012–13) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[11] 14
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[12] 73
Ireland (IRMA)[13] 15
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[14] 20
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 25
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[16] 3


  1. ^ a b c Atilano, Joseph R. (November 13, 2012). "Album Review: "RED" by Taylor Swift". The Philippine Inquirer. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  2. ^ "BBC – Radio 2 – Playlist". BBC Radio 2. BBC. Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  3. ^ Lane, Daniel (November 4, 2013). "This week's new releases 04-11-2013". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Roberts, Randall. "'The Last Time' connects Taylor Swift with Arcade Fire". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  5. ^ Lewis, Randy (November 18, 2013). "Watch new Taylor Swift video 'The Last Time' with Gary Lightbody". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  6. ^ "Update - Owen Pallett". Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  7. ^ Sciarretto, Amy. "Taylor Swift, 'Red' - Album Review". PopCrush. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  8. ^ Dukes, Billy. "Taylor Swift, 'Red' - Album Review". Taste of Country. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  9. ^ "CapitalFM: Taylor Swift Joined By Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody During Sacramento Tour Show". August 28, 2013.
  10. ^ Newman, Melinda (November 18, 2013). "Taylor Swift and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody in 'The Last Time' video". HitFix. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  11. ^ " – Taylor Swift feat. Gary Lightbody – The Last Time" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  12. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  13. ^ "Chart Track: Week 45, 2013". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  14. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 28, 2017.

External links

  • Lyrics at Taylor Swift official site
  • Official Music Video at YouTube
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