Whereas 2010’s Speak Now was an album full of songs written only by Taylor herself, 2012’s Red represents a bit of a departure. Song-writers and producers such as Max Martin, Shellback and Jeff Bhasker are featured, taking Swift’s sound into a more pop direction. A.V. Club felt the album saw a more mature Taylor Swift, describing it as “the next step toward putting those awkward teenage years behind her”.
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together was not only the first successful hit off Red, but also the artist’s first ever number one. Written in collaboration with the aforementioned Martin and Shellback, Swift recalls the recording sessions as “one of the most hilarious experiences I have ever had in the studio because it just happened so naturally”. Apparently, a friend of her ex-boyfriend’s walked in the studio talking about how he heard they are getting back together. Swift assured him that that’s not the case and then proceeded to tell the whole relationship story to Martin and Shellback, inspiring them to write We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.
Rolling Stone called the song “a witty relationship postmortem, delivered in inimitable girlie-girl patois”, while also naming it the second best song of 2012. A.V. Club were equally delighted by We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, dubbing it a “teen dream” and highlighting its “thumping kick drum, clipped syncopation, and mildly snarky lyrics”. According to MTV, it is not only a fantastic song but also a turning point in Taylor Swift’s career.