Should've Said No

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"Should've Said No"
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Taylor Swift
ReleasedMay 18, 2008[1]
FormatDigital download
StudioDarkhorse Recording
(Franklin, Tennessee)[2]
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)Nathan Chapman
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Picture to Burn"
"Should've Said No"

"Should've Said No" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The song serves as the fifth and final single from her self-titled debut studio album. The song is about Swift addressing her former lover who cheated on her. It became her second number-one single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart,[4] and was a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, "Should've Said No" has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It peaked at 33 on Billboard, and was performed at the CMA awards.

The song is included in the concert film Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, and in the soundtrack to the movie.[5] An alternate version of the song was released on her extended play Beautiful Eyes.[6] As of November 2017, the song has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States.[7]


"Should've Said No" is an up-tempo song,[8] in which Swift addresses a former lover who has cheated on her, telling him that he "should've said no" to the woman who has taken her place in his life ("You should've said no/You should've gone home/You should've thought twice before you let it all go/You should've known that word 'bout what you did with her would get back to me"). Swift wrote the song when she was sixteen years old.[9] She wrote the song because "something really, really dramatic and crazy" was happening to her, and she needed "to address it in the form of music".[10] According to the Country Weekly magazine, she was inspired to write it after she discovered that her boyfriend at the time had cheated on her. The first line that came to her was the title, and she wrote the chorus in five minutes. Swift has also said that many of the lyrics were based on actual words that she used when confronting her ex-boyfriend.[9] She compared the song to her previous single "Picture to Burn". While "Picture to Burn" has an "angry and I'm-done-with-him attitude", "Should've Said No" is "more of a moral statement. It's an 'I love you, we were awesome and great together, but you messed this up and I would still be with you' kinda thing. You said yes, and you should've said no."[11] The song was a last-minute addition to Taylor Swift—Swift wrote the song two days before the mastering was scheduled, and booklets were about to be printed. She then called her producer, and completed the song overnight.[10][12]

Critical reception[edit]

Roger Holland of PopMatters said that "Should've Said No" is "a truly splendid pop-rock song wrapped up in an almost entirely spurious country arrangement."[13] Chris Neal of Country Weekly believed "Should've Said No" and her previous single "Picture to Burn", were the most immediately striking songs on Taylor Swift.[14] Alison Bonaguro of the Chicago Tribune named the song along with "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Invisible" as "revenge songs," and commented that Swift's themes stayed the same throughout the concert.[15] Country music blog Engine 145 gave the song a "thumbs down" review. Reviewer Matt C. criticized the production as being "too loud", and thought that Swift's vocals were overly reliant on pitch correction and "not amenable" to the song's concept.[16]


Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2009 BMI Awards Publisher of the Year Won [17]
Award-Winning Songs Won

Live performances[edit]

Swift performed "Should've Said No" at the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards; footage from the performance was later used as a live music video for the song. This performance begins with a hooded Swift playing the guitar and after an on-stage costume change, she is wearing a black dress. At the end of the performance, Swift walks up the stairs and performs in the rain.[18][19] She also performed the song with Jonas Brothers on the Burning Up Tour.[20]

As for her own concerts, "Should've Said No" was performed as the encore for both the 2009 and 2010 set lists of her first concert tour, Fearless Tour[21]. She performed the song, acoustically, on selected dates of her Red Tour, in place of "I Almost Do"; and it replaced "You Are in Love" during the first show in Santa Clara during The 1989 World Tour. The song was recently put on the original set-list of Swift's Reputation Tour, where it was performed in a mashup with "Bad Blood".[22]

Official versions[edit]

  • Album Version – 4:04
  • Alternate Version (Beautiful Eyes Version) – 3:46
  • International Version – 4:08
  • Karaoke Version – 4:05



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[29] Platinum 1,500,000[7]

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Should've Said No (Single)". Big Machine Label Group. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  2. ^ Taylor Swift (CD). Taylor Swift. Big Machine Records. 2006. BMR120702.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ "Taylor Swift's hit-packed career compressed into just 60 essential minutes". The A.V. Club. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2017. "Should’ve Said No" is one of those classic country songs about cheating lovers
  4. ^ Spencer 2010, p. 54.
  5. ^ du Lac, J. Freedom (February 28, 2009). "Movie Review: "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience"". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  6. ^ Spencer 2013, p. 2.
  7. ^ a b Trust, Gary (November 26, 2017). "Ask Billboard: Taylor Swift's Career Album & Song Sales". Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  8. ^ Murphy 2013, p. 197.
  9. ^ a b Horner, Marianne (October 20, 2008). "Story Behind the Song: Don't Cheat on a Songwriter". Country Weekly. 15 (21): 14.
  10. ^ a b Scaggs, Austin (January 25, 2010). "Taylor's Time: Catching Up With Taylor Swift". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  11. ^ "Taylor Swift Says Yes To "No"". Great American Country. May 19, 2008. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008.
  12. ^ Mullins, Jenna (November 13, 2014). "45 Things You Didn't Know About Taylor Swift Songs". E!. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  13. ^ Holland, Roger (November 9, 2006). "Taylor Swift: Taylor Swift". PopMatters. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  14. ^ Neal, Chris (4 December 2006). "Taylor Swift review". Country Weekly. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  15. ^ Bonaguro, Alison (February 4, 2008). "Taylor Swift a prodigy who's coming of age". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  16. ^ C., Matt (May 14, 2008). "Taylor Swift - "Should've Said No"". Engine 145. Archived from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2008.
  17. ^ "Kris Kristofferson, Taylor Swift, Bobby Pinson, and More Honored at 2009 BMI Country Awards". Broadcast Music, Inc. November 11, 2009. Archived from the original on June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  18. ^ Spencer 2010, p. 42.
  19. ^ "Taylor Swift - "Should've Said No (From the 2008 ACM Awards)"". CMT. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  20. ^ Primeau, Jamie (July 12, 2015). "Nick Jonas Joins Taylor Swift Onstage & They're Proof That Anyone Can Stay Friends — VIDEOS". Bustle. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  21. ^ Frehsee, Nicole (August 28, 2009). "Taylor Swift Performs a "Fearless" Set at Madison Square Garden". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  22. ^ Warner, Denise (May 9, 2018). "Here Are All the Songs Taylor Swift Played on the Opening Night of the Reputation Tour". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  23. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  24. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  25. ^ " – Taylor Swift – Should've Said No". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  26. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  27. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  28. ^ "Best of 2008: Country Songs". Billboard. 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  29. ^ "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – Should've Said No". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 6, 2011. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 


External links[edit]