Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” sounds like many things. It sounds like Avril Lavigne. It sounds like Michelle Branch. It sounds like Ke$ha when she’s doing tracks like “Stephen” and not like any of the singles. It sounds like JoJo’s “Leave (Get Out)” (suggestion via Facebook friend, and can’t you hear it?) It sounds like there should be an emo track to go along with that title; it sort of is an emo track, with the twist that the subject, not the singer, is the emo guy.
What “We Are Never, Etc.” doesn’t sound like, however, is a country song. Nothing about it sounds country–not Taylor’s vocals, not really her adlibs (Shania’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much” notwithstanding, and that was hardly country either), not the thoroughly poppy spoken-word bridge, definitely not the stomping Max Martin drums. You couldn’t imagine country radio, which has always been rather selective about which Taylor singles it plays, doing much with it. That probably won’t hold the track back on the other charts–a No. 1 isn’t impossible, actually rather likely–but what about Swift’s first core audience?
Don’t worry about them; they’re getting a separate remix shipped to country radio. “Remix” might be a strong word here, mind you. It has the typical country touches –softer drums, more guitars, a fiddle intro–but is otherwise more or less the same song. The only difference is that the “main” mix is the pop mix, this time, not the other way around as with “You Belong to Me.” Which makes sense. Swift’s barely in her early twenties, but she’s already past the point in her career where she’s got to worry about cleaving to one demographic or another. Her fanbase is demographic enough.
That said, it’s still a little jarring to hear that “some indie record” line on this, no? Not even a “much less country than mine” redub? A shame.