22 (Taylor Swift song)

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Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Red
Released March 12, 2013 (2013-03-12)
Genre Pop[1]
Length 3:52
  • Max Martin
  • Shellback
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"I Knew You Were Trouble"
"Highway Don't Care"
Music video
"22" on YouTube

"22" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fourth studio album, Red (2012). It was written by Swift along with the song's producers Max Martin and Shellback. The song was released as the album's fourth single on March 12, 2013. The lyrics describe the joys of being 22 years old.

The song received positive reviews from music critics, who complimented Swift's collaboration with Martin and Shellback and the new pop sound they created for her. It peaked at 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the sixth single from Red to hit the top twenty.

Background and release[edit]

After writing her third studio album Speak Now (2010) entirely solo, she opted to collaborate with different songwriters and producers for Red. Thus, she called Max Martin and Shellback, two songwriters and producers whose work she admired, to discuss a possible collaboration. She told Billboard magazine: "For me, being 22 has been my favorite year of my life. I like all the possibilities of how you're still learning, but you know enough. You still know nothing, but you know that you know nothing. You're old enough to start planning your life, but you're young enough to know there are so many unanswered questions. That brings about a carefree feeling that is sort of based on in-decision and fear and at the same time letting loose. Being 22 has taught me so much".[2] Swift, being a close friend of actresses and singers Dianna Agron and Selena Gomez, dedicated "22" to them.[3]

The song was officially supposed to impact contemporary hit radio in the U.S. on March 5, 2013, before being pushed back by one week to March 12, 2013,[4] and in the UK on March 31, 2013.[5] An exclusive limited edition individually numbered CD single was also released exclusively to Swift's store on March 13, 2013, the same day the music video was released. The CD single was sold by itself or via an exclusive package with the Red Tour items and a T-shirt.[6][7]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"22" is a pop[8] song lasting three minutes and fifty-two seconds, mainly accompanied by a twangy acoustic guitar, invoking a country pop influence from Taylor Swift's conventional repertoire. The song is written in the key of G major with a tempo of one hundred and four beats per minute.[9][10] Swift's vocals span one and a half octaves, between G3 and D5.[9] The song was written by Swift, along with Max Martin and Shellback, who helped her in writing and producing her previous hits "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble". The lyrics describe the joys and the happiness of being 22 years old.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

The song has received generally positive reviews from music critics. Idolator gave the song a very positive review, saying "'22' is a thunderous pop track kicking off with a twangy acoustic guitar riff before a propulsive beat that evokes Katy Perry‘s 'Teenage Dream' drops to make way for verses that are cute and likably bratty".[12]

Billboard magazine also praised the song, saying that it is "Swift's most blatantly pop song of her career", adding that:

"'22' is all about trying to 'forget about the deadlines' and embraces only the most sugary hooks available. Underneath the heel-clicking positivity and shiny production sits the line 'We're happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way', a rather stunning meditation on being in your early 20s that's flicked off like a piece of pre-chorus lint. Even when she's having fun, Swift is succinctly communicating conflicting emotion."[13]


Amy Sciaretto of PopCrush also gave it a positive review, saying that the song starts out "with an acoustic guitar, but quickly escalates into a fun anthem for sleepover parties. There is some requisite twang, which again might appeal to her country base, but this sounds penned for the teens when she sings about being “happy, free, confused and lonely” at the same time. It has the same cadence and energy as the lead single 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' and some class. There is a self-referential sound bite and a clip of the phone ringing saying 'Who's Taylor Swift anyway?'"[14] Digital Spy gave it a positive review, saying ""We're happy free confused and lonely at the same time," Swift acknowledges over perky guitars, before launching into an earworm chant of "twenty twooo-oo-oo" that will stubbornly swirl around your head for hours on end. She may have already achieved more during her youth than most do in their lifetime, but with one more pop smash to add to her repertoire, it seems she's only just getting started.", giving the song four out of five stars.[15]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "22" was filmed in February 2013, and premiered on March 13, 2013.[16] It was directed by Anthony Mandler, who previously directed Swift in the "I Knew You Were Trouble" music video.

Live performances[edit]

Swift first performed the song during her live webchat on August 13, 2012; the performance was later released during the holiday season. Also, she performed the song at Comic Relief on February 22, 2013, and for a private concert in France while on a boat which was broadcast on OFF.tv. She also performed the song on her third concert tour, The Red Tour. She also performed it on May 19, 2013 at the Billboard Music Awards.[17] On June 9, 2013, Swift performed the song at the Summertime Ball.

Chart performance[edit]

Several songs from Red, including "22", charted in different countries due to strong digital sales following the release of the album. "22" debuted at number forty-four on United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as at number seven on Billboard ('s) Hot Digital Songs chart with sales of 108,000.[18][19] It later re-entered the Hot 100 at number eighty-four on the chart week of January 12, 2013. When it was again released as a single, it reentered the charts at number sixty-four.[20] "22" also debuted at number twenty-nine on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 chart and peaked at number 20. It also managed to reach number nine on the UK Singles Chart.[21][22] As of November 2014, the song has sold 2 million copies in the United States.[23]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States March 12, 2013[4] Contemporary hit radio Big Machine Records
March 13, 2013[52][53] CD single
United Kingdom March 31, 2013[5] Contemporary hit radio


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External links[edit]