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Love Story (Taylor Swift song)

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"Love Story"
Taylor Swift - Love Story.png
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Fearless
A-side"You Belong with Me"
ReleasedSeptember 12, 2008 (2008-09-12)
RecordedMarch 2008
StudioBlackbird Studios (Nashville, Tennessee)
GenreCountry pop
Length3:57
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Should've Said No"
(2008)
"Love Story"
(2008)
"White Horse"
(2008)
Music video
"Love Story" on YouTube

"Love Story" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on September 12, 2008, by Big Machine Records, as the lead single from Swift's second studio album Fearless (2008), co-produced by Nathan Chapman. Swift wrote the song about a love interest who was not popular among her family and friends. Because of the scenario, she related to the plot of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1597) and used it as a source of inspiration to compose the song, but replaced the play's original tragic conclusion with a happy ending. "Love Story" is a midtempo country pop song with dreamy soprano vocals and a continually building melody. Its lyrics are from the perspective of Juliet.

The song received widespread critical praise with many complimenting Swift's writing style and the song's catchiness. It was a huge commercial success, selling over 15 million singles across the globe by 2010.[1] With over 18 million copies worldwide, "Love Story" is one of the best-selling singles of all time. In the United States, the song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, sold over 9 million digital downloads, becoming Swift's best-selling single to-date and was once the best-selling digital country song of all time there. It is also one of the best-selling singles in the United States, and was certified 8× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). "Love Story" marked Swift's first number-one single in Australia, and has been certified 10× platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

The accompanying music video was directed by Trey Fanjoy, who directed the majority of Swift's prior videos. The video is a period piece that drew influences from the Medieval, Renaissance, and British Regency eras. It follows Swift and model Justin Gaston as they meet in a university campus and imagine themselves in a prior era. "Love Story" was promoted through numerous live performances. The song was included on all of Swift's headlining tours, the Fearless Tour (2009–2010), the Speak Now World Tour (2011–12), The Red Tour (2013–2014), The 1989 World Tour (2015) and the Reputation Stadium Tour (2018). "Love Story" has been covered by several artists, including Joe McElderry and Forever the Sickest Kids.

The re-recording of the song, "Love Story (Taylor's Version)", was released on February 12, 2021. Critics praised it for its crisper production, nostalgic emotion, and Swift's matured vocals. The song topped the Billboard Digital Songs and Hot Country Songs charts, marking her eighth number-one single on the latter. It made Swift the second artist, after Dolly Parton, to reach number one on the Hot Country Songs with both the original and re-recorded versions of a song.

Writing and inspiration[edit]

"Love Story" came along late into the production of Fearless.[2] Swift wrote "Love Story" about a man who was never officially her boyfriend. When she introduced him to her family and friends, they did not become fond of him.[3] "His situation was a little complicated, but I didn't care", said Swift.[4] Swift also felt like it was the first time she could relate to the plot of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1597), one of her favorite narratives, which she described as, "The only people who wanted them to be together were them."[3] She conceived the idea for the song when she reflected about the scenario: "I thought, 'This is difficult but it's real, it matters—it's not simple or easy but it's real'." She then centered the song on the line, which was ultimately placed in the "Love Story"'s second refrain.[5] All events, with the exclusion of the end, narrated in the song regarded Swift's actual story. The song's conclusion differed from that of Romeo and Juliet. "I feel like they had such promise and they were so crazy for each other. And if that had just gone a little bit differently, it could have been the best love story ever told. And it is one of the best love stories ever told, but it's a tragedy." Instead, she chose to write a happy ending.[6] She took her favorite characters and conceptualized the ending she believed they deserved.[7] She perceived it to be the ideal ending that girls hoped for, including herself.[5] "You want a guy who doesn’t care what anyone thinks, what anyone says." Although it was fictional, Swift said it was an enjoyable experience to write about.[4] Swift wrote the track on her bedroom floor in approximately twenty minutes, feeling too inspired to put the song down unfinished.[3]

Swift and her love interest never did date. The failure of their relationship inspired another song on Fearless, "White Horse", which became the second single released from the album.[8] To Swift, "Love Story" resembles much optimism regarding love and how encountering the right person could surpass skepticism.[7] She deemed "Love Story" one of her most romantic songs, although she was never in an official relationship with the subject of the song.[3] In retrospect, Swift said the song is "about a love that you've got to hide because for whatever reason it wouldn't go over well", adding "I spun it in the direction of Romeo and Juliet. Our parents are fighting. I relate to it more as a love that you cannot really elaborate on — a love that maybe society wouldn't accept [or] maybe your friends wouldn't accept."[9]

Recording[edit]

Swift performing "Love Story" on the Fearless Tour.

"Love Story" was recorded in March 2008 at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, alongside record producer Nathan Chapman and various personnel.[10] Swift sang into an Avantone CV-12 multi-pattern tube microphone, manufactured by Avant Electronics. The microphone had a new old stock tube that was designed and built by country singer, record producer, and audio engineer Ray Kennedy for Chapman. Chapman had received the microphone from Kennedy as a loan, as a "try this for a while" experiment. Although he previously had tested numerous microphones on Swift, he had not been able to find one to match her voice perfectly. When Swift came to Chapman's home to record a radio edit for one of the singles from Taylor Swift, she immediately grew fond of the microphone.[10] "When she put on the headphones and said, 'Test,' completely unprompted, she said, 'This is my mic. I love this mic. I just wanna use this one from now on!' She had no idea what it was, just loved it, and I went along with something that felt right for her. We've been using it ever since, and it sounds great on her voice," Chapman said.[10]

"Love Story" was recorded with Pro Tools and tracking vocals, which Swift sang live with the band. The band consisted of acoustic guitars, bass guitars, and drums.[10] All other instruments were overdubbed by Chapman. He said, "I think there are nine acoustic guitars on that track, and I stacked several background vocals — me singing, 'Ah's'."[10] Audio engineering was executed by Chad Carlson in Blackbird Studios' Studio D, with the usage of the API Legacy Plus equipments: Avantone CV-12, Neve 1073, and Tube-Tech CL-1B. Audio mixing done by Justin Niebank and was set in Studio F, with the usage of the console Solid State Logic 9080 K series and Genelec 1032 console. In between, overdubs were executed in Studio E by Chapman.[10] "Love Story", along with the rest of the album, was mastered by Hank Williams at MasterMix Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.[11] The song was mixed for mainstream airplay by Chapman. He pulled Niebank's stems into his Mac OS laptop and used Apple Logic to create the pop version. Chapman made mix tweaks and created new elements with his laptop. In order to do so, he muted the country instruments and replaced them with new elements characteristic to pop music, replacing banjo and fiddle with electric guitar. The pop version's opening beat is a Logic loop in the Ultrabeat beat generator. All the new electric guitars were done with the Amplitube Stomp I/O.[10]

Composition[edit]

"Love Story" is written by Swift and produced by Swift and Chapman. It is a country pop song with a length of three minutes and 54 seconds.[12] It is set in common time and has a moderate tempo of 120 beats per minute.[13] It is written in the key of D major and Swift's vocals span one octave, from A3 to B4.[13] Swift croons "Love Story" softly and sweetly,[14][15] with a slight twang.[16] It follows the chord progression D (add)9–Asus4–Bm–G69.[13] The song is of a swirling and dreamy soprano. The melody is simple, containing a rushy pace which continually grows and concludes with a key change to E major.[14]

The lyrics of "Love Story" are written in first person, in which Swift refers to herself as the Romeo and Juliet character Juliet Capulet and her love interest as Romeo Montague.[16] Fraser McAlpine of the BBC described the song as a narrative, in which Swift is the narrator.[14] The song's plot revolves a youthful romance foiled by parental disapproval. In the end, love prevails and the couple finds their "happily ever after".[15] The first verse introduces the characters at a ball, where they meet.[14] In the second verse, the story transitions to the couple sneaking about after dark[14] and references Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850).[17] The song's refrains have Swift waiting for her love interest to appear: "Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone/ I'll be waiting/ All there's left to do is run."[16] The song's final refrain has Swift narrating from Romeo's perspective[18] and proposing marriage to Swift.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

"Love Story" was highly acclaimed by critics upon release. Kate Kiefer of Paste magazine recognized the song to be Swift's best and added that once the lyrics are learned, it is impossible to not sing along.[19] Sean Dooley of About.com credited the song for transitioning Swift from a "fresh-faced star to crossover superstar". Dooley attributed the song's commercial success due to her departure from her past lyrical themes, which summarized "I wish this boy knew how I really felt about him".[20] While reviewing Fearless, Dooley selected "Love Story" as one of the best tracks on the album.[21] Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine admired how Swift attempted to incorporate sophisticated elements, like Romeo and Juliet and The Scarlet Letter, although it was not successful because of its awkwardness, inexplicable nature, and pointless conceit. Keefe credited its success to its prominent hook.[17] James Reed of The Boston Globe thought otherwise, stating Swift's charm was in her songwriting skills.[16]

Fraser McAlpine of the BBC stated, "'Love Story' is a stunning pop song and, because it really does tell a love story, it's heart-warming and draws the listener into the exciting and romantic fairytale world."[14] However, she felt Swift's vocal performance was not incredible, but was passionate to complement the song's sentiments. McAlpine resumed by stating that "Love Story", although obvious, a bit dramatic, and probably targeted towards younger audiences, was just lovely and that Swift proved herself a true princess of pop with the song.[14] Chris Neal of Country Weekly called "Love Story" an "ebullient first hit."[22] Deborah Evans Price of Billboard magazine gave the single a favorable review and called it an "enchanting offering". Price noted that "Love Story" demonstrates one of Swift's appeals, her writing and singing of age-appropriate material that can be both relatable to her audience and others. As a result, she predicted the song would have much commercial success in the country music industry.[15] Alex Macpherson of British newspaper The Guardian described the song to be fueled by a "joyous rush" that, according to him, was later replicated by Swift's own single "Mine" (2010).[23] Taste of Country listed the song at number 17 on its list of greatest country songs of all time.[24] In 2017, ShortList's Dave Fawbert listed the song as containing "one of the greatest key changes in music history".[25]

Commercial performance[edit]

North America[edit]

"Love Story" became Swift's first number one on Billboard Pop Songs, marking the highest peak by a country song on the chart since Shania Twain's "You're Still the One".

On the week-ending September 27, 2008, "Love Story" debuted at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over 97,000 digital downloads.[26] In the succeeding week, "Love Story" ascended to a new peak at number five, selling 159,000.[27] After two weeks in the top ten, on the week ending October 18, 2008, the track descended to number thirteen and remained on the top twenty of the Billboard Hot 100 for eleven consecutive weeks, returning to the top ten, at number seven, on the week ending January 3, 2009.[28][29] On the week ending January 17, 2009, the song reached its peak at number four on the chart, becoming Swift's best charting single at the time.[30] In the succeeding weeks, "Love Story" continued to sell strongly, spending fourteen weeks in the top ten and forty-nine weeks in total.[30][31] The single is one of thirteen songs from Fearless charted within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record for the most top forty entries from a single album.[32] The single was certified eight times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America,[33] and had sold over 5 million by May 2011.[34] The song became Swift's best-selling single, and was once the best-selling country single of all time (now overtaken by Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now") as well as the ninth best-selling digital single of all time.[35][36] As of February 2021, "Love Story" has sold 6.13 million copies in the United States.[37]

"Love Story" reached number two in Billboard Radio Songs with 106 million all-format audience impressions, being held from the top spot by Kanye West's "Heartless".[38] On Billboard Hot Country Songs, "Love Story" debuted at number twenty-five on the week-ending September 27, 2008. The song jumped at the top ten on its fourth week at number nine and on its ninth week it reached the top spot, thus giving Swift her third number-one song on Billboard Hot Country Songs and her fastest song to reach number one on the chart.[39][40] It stayed at number one for two weeks and charted for a total of thirteen weeks on Billboard Hot Country Songs.[41] On Billboard Pop Songs, the song debuted at thirty-four on the week-ending November 22, 2008.[42] It reached the top spot on its fifteenth week, the week-ending February 28, 2009, marking the highest peak by a country song on the chart since Shania Twain's "You're Still the One" peaked at number three in 1998.[43] "Love Story" also reached number one spot in Billboard Adult Contemporary and number three in Billboard Adult Pop Songs, and was able to appear Billboard Latin Pop Songs at number thirty-five.[30][44]

In Canada, "Love Story" entered at number eighty-eight on the week ending October 18, 2008.[45] It peaked at number four on the week ending November 29, 2008, became Swift's first top ten hit in the said territory.[46] The single stayed at the top ten for ten weeks and charted for fifty-two weeks.[31] It was placed at number eight on Canadian year-end chart and was certified double platinum by Music Canada for sales of 160,000 digital downloads.[47][48]

Europe and Oceania[edit]

"Love Story" debuted at number twenty-two in United Kingdom, on the week ending February 28, 2009. In the succeeding week, the song rose to its peak at number two,[49] becoming Swift's best-charting single at the time, along with later hits "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "Shake It Off" and first top ten in the United Kingdom.[50] It spent seven weeks in the top ten and forty-four weeks in total on the chart.[49] The single was certified double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales and streams exceeding 1,200,000.[51] On October 22, 2012, Love Story charted again in United Kingdom at fifty-five. In Ireland, "Love Story" peaked at number three.[52] In mainland, the track peaked at number ten on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles Chart,[30] number six in Hungary,[53] number seven in Norway,[54] and at number ten in Sweden.[55] It performed well in other countries, such as Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, and France, where it became a top twenty hit.[55]

In Australia, "Love Story" debuted at number thirty-eight on the week ending January 25, 2009. After two weeks of ascending on the chart, "Love Story" found a peak at number two, where it maintained for six consecutive weeks prior to reaching number one on the week ending March 29, 2009, becoming Swift's first and only number one in the region until "Shake It Off" in 2014. In the following week, the track descended again to number two, but rose to the top for a second and last week on the top fifty on the week ending April 12, 2009.[56] By 2020, The single was certified 10× platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association for the selling the equivalent of 700,000 units.[57] "Love Story" was placed at number ten on the decade-end Australian Singles Chart.[58] On the week ending February 2, 2009, "Love Story" entered in New Zealand at number thirty-three. After nine weeks on the chart, the song peaked at number three on the week ending April 6, 2009.[59] It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand for the shipment of over 15,000 copies.[60] In total,"Love Story" has sold over 11 million copies worldwide, therefore establishing itself among of the best-selling singles of all time.[61][62][63]

Music video[edit]

Swift and model Justin Gaston as they meet in the field in the music video for "Love Story".

The accompanying music video for "Love Story" was directed by Trey Fanjoy, who previously directed the videos for the singles from Taylor Swift. Swift decided to collaborate with Fanjoy once again because she had been able to balance both of their ideas for music videos, something Swift appreciated deeply.[64] The video is a period piece that draws influence from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Regency eras. Swift had previously desired to film a period piece music video because of its distinctiveness from modern videos and videos she had filmed. When writing the song, she envisioned it in a prior time period, and encoded it with details accordingly.[65] She believed "Love Story"'s plot was a timeless scenario: "I think it could happen in the 1700s, the 1800s, or 2008."[64] Thus, she searched for a timeless quality in demeanor of her love interest.[66] With six months in advance, Swift searched by watching films for actors to interpret the role. An acquaintance of hers, who followed the sixth season of Nashville Star, recommended contestant Justin Gaston. Swift then looked through his pictures, and concluded he was suitable for the music video.[67] Gaston fulfilled the requirements Swift had set out, describing him as a "Prince Charming that could've been alive in the 1800s."[66] However, because Gaston was competing on Nashville Star, he was unable to participate in the music video. Gaston was eventually eliminated and Swift contacted him immediately to film the video.[64] Swift was very impressed by Gaston's acting skills: "I was so impressed by the way his [expressions] were in the video. Without even saying anything, he would just do a certain glance and it really came across well."[67]

A castle was chosen for the video's setting. Personnel researched numerous castles in the United States and were unable to locate one in sufficient condition for filming. They had considered traveling to Europe to find a castle, but were then informed about a castle south of Nashville, Tennessee. Named Castle Gwynn, a castle that is part of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, both located in Arrington, Tennessee, it was built in 1973 and chosen as the video's setting.[64] Wardrobe for the video was supplied by Jacquard Fabrics, excluding Swift's dress for the balcony scene. The dress was designed by Sandi Spika with inspiration and suggestions from Swift.[64][65] "She loves to put her input in her dresses", stated Spika. The two had discussed the dress two months prior to the filming of the video. Accentuates were made on the video set.[64] The video was filmed in two days in August 2008 in Tennessee. On the first day, the balcony and field scenes were shot. On the set, someone had replaced the playback CD with a high-pitch, altered version of the song. As a result, Swift lent the crew her iPod to play the original track.[64] While filming another scene, sunset was about to occur and, therefore, the process was executed rather rapidly. For the scene, Fanjoy suggested a kiss between Swift and Gaston, but Swift refused to because she believed it would make for a sweeter moment. On the second day, scenes at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee and at a ballroom were filmed.[68] Swift learned the choreography for the latter in fifteen minutes prior to filming. Approximately 20 dancers were used for the scene.[64]

The video commences with Swift, clothed in a black sweater and jeans, walking through a university campus and spotting Gaston sitting under a tree, reading a textbook. As they make eye contact, the video then transitions to an earlier era, in what seems to be an 18th century castle, where Swift stands, wearing a corset and gown, and sings in a balcony. Afterwards, Gaston enters a party and sees Swift, wearing an elaborate gown, conversing with other young women. The two, along with others, engage in ballroom dancing. After dancing, Gaston whispers into Swift's ear and Swift is then seen pondering at night with a lantern. She meets with Gaston and the two walk, hold hands, and feed a horse by a well. The two then go their separate paths. Later on, Swift stands in the balcony again, looking out from the window. She sees Gaston running towards her and she immediately runs down the castle's staircase to meet him. Swift and Gaston meet in the field right in front of the castle and hold each other. The video then transitions back into the modern-day college campus as Gaston walks toward Swift and they gaze into each other's eyes, where the video concludes. Cut scenes feature ballroom dancing and Swift performing in the balcony setting. As of May 20, 2021, the video has 588 million views on YouTube.

Video reception[edit]

The video premiered on September 12, 2008, on CMT.[69] Mandi Bierly of Entertainment Weekly was concerned about the video marking Swift's artistic evolution because it seemed too expensive and made her wonder if anything else about Swift would change. However, she stated: "Worry though I might, I can’t resist Taylor Swift’s evolution from 'Tim McGraw' (2006) to her latest, 'Love Story'." Bierly also compared Swift's acting with that of Keira Knightley.[70] Fraser McAlpine of BBC Online believed Swift played a princess in the video and, therefore, said it would make females envious.[14] The video was nominated for the "Video of the Year" category at the 45th Academy of Country Music Awards, but lost to Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman" (2008).[71][72] At the 2009 CMT Music Awards, the video won the CMT Music Awards for "Video of the Year" and "Female Video of the Year".[73] It also won the award for "Music Video of the Year" at the 43rd Country Music Association Awards.[74] The video won "Favorite International Video" at the Philippine Myx Music Awards 2010.[75]

Accolades[edit]

At the 35th People's Choice Awards, "Love Story" was nominated for the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Country", but lost to Carrie Underwood's "Last Name" (2008).[76] The song was nominated for "Fave Song" at the Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards 2009, but lost to The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" (2009)[77] and received the same outcome at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, when it lost the nomination for "Choice Music: Love Song" to David Archuleta's "Crush" (2008).[78][79] In 2009, "Love Story" was declared the "Country Song of the Year" by Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI).[80]

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2009 Academy of Country Music Awards Video of the Year Nominated [81]
BMI Country Awards Song of the Year Won [82]
Publisher of the Year Won
Country Music Association Awards Music Video of the Year Won [83]
CMT Music Awards Female Video of the Year Won [84]
Video of the Year Won
Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards Favourite Song Nominated [85]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Country Song Nominated [86]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Love Song Nominated [87]
[88]
Hito Music Awards Best Western Song Won [89]
2010 APRA Awards (Australia) International Work of the Year Nominated [90]
Myx Music Awards Favourite International Video Won [91]
BMI Pop Awards Award-Winning Songs Won [92]
Song of the Year Won

Live performances[edit]

Swift performing "Love Story" on the Fearless Tour.

When promoting the single in the United States in late 2008 and early 2009, Swift performed "Love Story" on the Good Morning America, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Ellen DeGeneres Show,[93] the 2008 Country Music Awards,[94] as a duet with English rock band Def Leppard on CMT Crossroads, the episode was released as a DVD exclusively through Wal-Mart stores in the United States,[95] Clear Channel Communications's Stripped,[96] Studio 330 Sessions,[97] and Saturday Night Live.[98] In the United Kingdom, Swift promoted the track during early 2009 with performances on television programs, such as Loose Women[99] and Later... with Jools Holland.[100] Since, Swift has performed the track twice on The Today Show,[101][102] at the 2009 CMA Music Festival,[103] the 2009 V Festival,[104] the Australian charity concert Sydney Sound Relief,[105] Dancing with the Stars,[106] and again on the Late Show with David Letterman.[107]

Swift performed "Love Story" on all venues of her first headlining concert tour, the Fearless Tour, which extended from April 2009 to June 2010. The performances begun with backup dancers, dressed in Victorian era clothing, dancing ballroom to Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel's Canon, as a castle backdrop was projected onto the stage.[108] Swift emerged to upper level of the stage, from below, donning a crimson, 18th century gown with a golden accents.[109] For the song's last refrain, Swift hid behind backup dancers as she changed her wardrobe to a white wedding dress.[110] Jon Pareles of The New York Times said Swift offered the audience with optimistic thinking with the performance in the August 27, 2009, concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.[110] Reviewing the May 22, 2010, concert at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, Jane Stevenson of The Toronto Sun stated the moment was far too girly for her liking.[111]

"Love Story" served as the final performance on the setlist of Swift's second concert tour, the Speak Now World Tour (2011); the performances featured Swift roaming throughout the stage, wearing a white sundress.[112] On January 25, 2013, Swift did an acoustic version of the song, followed by "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" at the Los Premios 40 Principales in Spain.[113] In 2014, Swift performed a new arena-rock rendition of "Love Story" during the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival.[114] This version was used once again during her fourth headlining tour, The 1989 World Tour.[115]

The song was performed on Swift's fifth headlining tour, the Reputation Stadium Tour, as part of a medley alongside "Style" and "You Belong with Me".[116] On April 23, 2019, she performed a piano rendition of the song at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts during the Time 100 Gala, where she was honored.[117] On September 9, Swift performed the song at the City of Lover one-off concert in Paris, France.[118] On November 24, she performed the song as part of a medley at the 2019 American Music Awards in Los Angeles.[119]

Cover versions and media usage[edit]

Swift teamed up with rapper T-Pain for a parody of the song titled "Thug Story", which premiered at the 2009 CMT Music Awards.[120] American pop punk band Forever the Sickest Kids covered "Love Story" for the 2009 deluxe edition of their debut studio album Underdog Alma Mater (2008).[121] English singer Joe McElderry, winner of the sixth series of the United Kingdom talent competition The X Factor, performed a live cover of "Love Story" on The X Factor Tour in 2010. "Love Story" was featured in the romantic comedy Letters to Juliet (2010), as well as its official trailer[122] and in the pilot of the television series Hart of Dixie (2011).[123] The song was covered by post-hardcore band Sky Tells All featuring Chris Motionless. In August 2020, an unofficial house remix of "Love Story" by American DJ Disco Lines became popular on TikTok and garnered viral challenges on the platform; additionally, it gained radio airplay in Poland.[124][125] In December 2020, a snippet of Swift's re-recorded version of "Love Story" was featured in a Match.com advertisement directed by Ryan Reynolds.[126]

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[57] 10× Platinum 700,000double-dagger
Canada (Music Canada)[179] 2× Platinum 160,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[180] Gold 7,500^
Japan (RIAJ)[181] Gold 100,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[60] Platinum 15,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[183] 2× Platinum 1,285,000[182]
United States (RIAA)[184]
Mastertone
Platinum 1,000,000*
United States (RIAA)[184] 8× Platinum 6,100,000[185]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Disco Lines remix[edit]

In 2020, DJ Disco Lines uploaded an unofficial remix of "Love Story" to TikTok. The remix was later re-released onto streaming services, with Swift’s vocals replaced by Cassidy, and it charted in Poland.[186]

Weekly Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[125] 37

Love Story (Taylor's Version)[edit]

"Love Story (Taylor's Version)"
Taylor Swift - Love Story (Taylor's Version).png
DTC-exclusive digital cover
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Fearless (Taylor's Version)
ReleasedFebruary 12, 2021 (2021-02-12)
Recorded2020
StudioConway
(Los Angeles, California)[187]
GenreCountry pop
Length3:56
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
  • Christopher Rowe
  • Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Coney Island"
(2021)
"Love Story (Taylor's Version)"
(2021)
"Gasoline"
(2021)
Lyric video
"Love Story" (Taylor's Version) on YouTube

"Love Story (Taylor's Version)" is the re-recorded version of "Love Story" by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on February 12, 2021, through Republic Records, as the lead single from Fearless (Taylor's Version), the re-recording of her 2008 studio album. An official lyric video of the re-recording was released to YouTube.

Upon release, "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" was universally acclaimed by music critics, who highlighted Swift's mature vocals, the enhanced instrumentation and mixing, while remaining faithful to the original recording's emotion. The song reached number one in Malaysia, entered the top 10 in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and Singapore, and topped the US Hot Country Songs chart, giving Swift her eighth number-one single on the chart.

Background and release[edit]

In August 2019, Swift revealed her decision to re-record her first six studio albums after her master recordings were sold to American businessman Scooter Braun upon his purchase of her former record label, Big Machine Records. "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" was the first re-recorded track that Swift disclosed to the public when it was used as a jingle for a Match.com advertisement, written by actor Ryan Reynolds, in December 2020.[188] On February 11, 2021, on Good Morning America as well as via her social media accounts, Swift announced a re-recorded version of her second studio album, Fearless, titled Fearless (Taylor's Version), released on April 9, 2021. "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" serves as the lead single from the re-recording.[189][190]

A lyric video of "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" was released alongside the song. It features photographs of Swift with her fans, which Times of India dubbed as a move that replaces Romeo with the singer's fans.[191] Rolling Stone shared the same viewpoint, stating that the video depicts "the love between artists and fans".[192]

On March 26, 2021, an electronic version of "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" remixed by Swedish producer Elvira was released.[193]

Composition[edit]

The re-recorded version remains faithful to the 2008 version, not departing from the original production. Many of the same musicians who played on the 2008 version of the instrumental were also involved in the re-recording.[194] However, there is a noticeable change in the timbre of Swift's vocals in the 2021 version, which has a "rounder and fuller" tone, free of much of her older country twang. It is re-recorded with higher precision, and a starker contrast between the instrumentals; the banjo strums, cymbals, fiddle, and violins in "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" are more prominent, with clearly defined bass instruments, stronger drums, less harsh electric guitars, and lowered harmonies in the mix.[195][196][197]

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone critic Simon Vozick-Levinson described "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" as a "brilliantly bittersweet update on a classic", equipped with more emotion, polished instrumentals, and vocal technique.[198] Pitchfork writer Vrinda Jagota praised Swift for her commitment to revisiting her teenage work without embarrassment, and branded it "an adult woman's display of ownership and agency".[196] Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times opined that "Love Story" remains a classic, noticing how the rerecorded version is "virtually indistinguishable" from its 2008 counterpart. While describing this similarity as somewhat a "disappointment" since Swift achieved artistic maturity with her 2020 albums Folklore and Evermore, Wood acknowledged that the rights to "Love Story" could completely belong to the singer, in doing so.[194]

Hannah Mylrea, writing for NME, called it a "charming blast of nostalgia" with improved production, where Swift manages to preserve the "sparkle and warmth" that made "Love Story" a success. Mylrea added that Swift used her newly powerful vocals to channel her younger self in the 2021 version, whereas, the 2008 version had a more "earnest" tone to it.[199] Lauding Swift's vocal performance, The Atlantic's Shirley Li wrote that the singer's voice at age 31 is "much richer", with a controlled tone and precise staccato. Li concluded that the 2008 version contained Swift's "eager, breathless vocals captured that thoroughly teenage sensation of fantasizing over a new crush", while the 2021 version "conjures a mature, amused wistfulness".[200] Kevin John Coyne from Country Universe stated that the "more pronounced fiddle and banjo" reduced the "pop sheen" of the song, leading to "a more earthy and grounded feel".[201]

Richard S. He, reviewing for Billboard, was impressed with the song's mixing. He wrote that the original was "a loud, dynamically flat mix and master designed to burst out of FM radio speakers", while the re-recorded version offers a well-balanced, lush, "impressive" mix that elevates the song's dreamy atmosphere. He also pointed out that the instruments in the original's chorus "seemed to blend into one big wall of sound", whereas "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" boasts an ambience with individual instruments.[197] In his BBC review, Mark Savage wrote that the two versions were barely different, praising the "crisper" quality of "Love Story (Taylor's Version)", which allows the listeners to pick up instrumental details that were lost in the 2008 version. He highlighted that Swift's matured vocals and enunciation add depth and warmth to the song, while still capturing the "romantic innocence" of a teenager.[195] Robert Christgau believed "Swift's voice retains a great deal of freshness", but questioned the value of her reproducing past songs, saying that he "can’t imagine even so that I'd lay out money for the re-recordings".[202]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" sold 10,000 digital downloads and garnered 5.8 million on-demand streams in its first day of release. While not actively promoted to radio, the version drew 144 plays across 89 radio stations for a total of 777,000 audience impressions.[203][204]

With 25,000 sales and 13.7 million streams, "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" landed atop the US Hot Country Songs chart, giving Swift her eighth number-one single and first number-one debut on the chart; it marked her first chart-topper since "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (2012). She became the first artist to lead the chart in the 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s, and the second artist in history to send both the original and re-recorded version of a song to the top spot, after Dolly Parton with "I Will Always Love You". Elsewhere, "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" topped Digital Song Sales (Swift's record-extending 22nd number one), Country Digital Song Sales (record-extending 15th number one), and Country Streaming Songs charts. The song debuted and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking her 129th entry on the chart—the most entries ever amongst women.[205]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital digital and streaming[206]
  1. "Love Story" (Taylor's Version) — 3:56
  • Digital digital and streaming (Elvira Remix)[207]
  1. "Love Story" (Taylor's Version) [Elvira Remix] — 3:32

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[208]

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for "Love Story (Taylor's Version)"
Chart (2021) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[209] 21
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[210] 24
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[211] 7
Global 200 (Billboard)[212] 7
Ireland (IRMA)[213] 7
Malaysia (RIM)[214] 1
Netherlands Single Tip (MegaCharts)[215] 6
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[216] 18
Portugal (AFP)[217] 68
Singapore (RIAS)[218] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[219] 62
UK Singles (OCC)[220] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[221] 11
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[222] 25
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[223] 39
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[224] 57
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[225] 1
US Rolling Stone Top 100[226] 4

Release history[edit]

List of release dates and formats for "Love Story (Taylor's Version)"
Region Date Format Version Label Ref.
Various February 12, 2021 Original Republic [206]
March 26, 2021 Elvira Remix [207]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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