We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fourth studio album, Red (2012). It was produced by Max Martin and Shellback, who co-wrote the song with Swift. The song was released as the lead single from Red on August 13, 2012, by Big Machine Records. Its lyrics depict Swift's frustrations at an ex-lover who wants to re-kindle their relationship. Rolling Stone magazine named the song the second best song of 2012 while it took the fourth spot in Time 's end-of-year poll. It has received a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year. It also received a People's Choice Awards nomination for Favorite Song of the Year.
The song was an instant commercial success, and was the first song in Swift's career to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and the first song to hold the top spot for more than one week after a huge leap, since Kelly Clarkson's two-week run of "My Life Would Suck Without You" after the song rocketed from number 97 to the top spot. A music video for the song was released in August 2012. It was the first music video to be presented in 4K resolution and received positive reviews from critics. A CD single was released in September 2012 by Swift's official store, Amazon.com and US Walmart stores. The single has been certified Quintuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).The song is one of the best-selling singles worldwide, with worldwide sales reaching 7 million copies to date (according to the IFPI).
Upon initial release, the song received positive reviews from music critics. Robert Myers of The Village Voice felt that the song, while "good", was "not Swift at her best" and speculated that the decision to release it as a lead single was made for commercial reasons: "I doubt 'Never Ever' is even close to being the best song on Red; it's a teaser, an indication to her fans of what's coming up. That sounds like commercial calculation of the worst kind, but I don't think it is. Swift's connection with her audience is possibly more important than her connection with her boyfriends. And there is one brilliant touch: the spoken bit that comes after the middle eight." Grady Smith of Entertainment Weekly drew comparisons with Avril Lavigne and praised the "undeniable, instantly catchy hook". While describing the song as "joyous", he nevertheless expressed concern that the song's "juvenile sensibilities" marked a regression following Swift's work on Speak Now. Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone noted that the song's "hooks, plural, have a zing that's more Stockholm than Nashville. But it's unmistakably Taylor: a witty relationship postmortem, delivered in inimitable girlie-girl patois. And this bit – "I'm just, I mean, this is exhausting. Like, we are never getting back together. Like, ever" – might be the most sublime spoken-word interlude in pop since Barry White died."
Marah Eakin of The A.V. Club commented on "what a good song it is": "With its thumping kick drum, clipped syncopation, and mildly snarky lyrics, it’s a teen dream in the vein of Swift’s other sing-along jams like "Love Story" or "You Belong with Me." Kevin Coyne of Country Universe gave the song a failing D grade, calling it a "huge step backward". James Montgomery of MTV felt the "fantastic" song may "represent a turning point in her career ... Swift no longer has any interest in being the victim ... [She] displays a defiant, liberated streak". He noted that the song seemed "custom-crafted to dominate radio ... all shiny, silvery guitars and walloping, whomping choruses". Amy Sciarretto of Popcrush praised Swift for capturing a "universal feeling in an upbeat, empowering song" and described it as "one of the catchiest tunes she’s ever penned". Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine described "the melodic hook" as the song's best attribute but criticized Swift's "stilted phrasing". He described her vocal performance as a "complete misfire", pointing out that her voice was at its "most unpleasant and nasal". However, Keefe warned that it was "premature" to say the "full-on pop" song "signals anything more than a temporary breakup". David Malitz of The Washington Post found the song immature and remarked, "the chorus is catchy but if this is representative of what awaits on Red, it’s hard to be too excited". Glenn Gamboa of Newsday described it as "anthemic in a slick pop way, rather than her usual modern country way ... Part of T. Swizzle’s charm is the way she makes her songs sound genuine and conversational and 'Never Ever' is no exception". Billy Dukes of Taste of Country stated that "[Swift] captures the anger of young love gone wrong better than anyone since, well…[Taylor] Swift" and that the song's melody is "difficult to embrace quickly." However, Camille Mann of CBS News considered the song to be "catchy".
Rolling Stone named it the second-best song of 2012 in their end-of-year critics' poll: "It's like a Clash of the Titans: Swift, the world's hottest pop singer or songwriter, meets up with Max Martin, the Swedish maestro who's been the Dr. Evil of global trash-disco for more than a decade. To nobody's surprise, they cook up a perfect three-minute teen tantrum about country girls getting mad at high-strung indie boys, topping the charts faster than you can say, "This is exhausting." It's a stadium-chant breakup song that may have less to do with the actual guy it's about than with the massive raging-cowgirl audience Swift has led to the pinnacle of the music world. The song was marked at number four on Time magazine's "Top 10 Songs of 2012 Playlist". It was voted the sixth best single of 2012 by The Village Voice 's 40th annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll. It has also received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year for the 2013 Grammy Awards.