We Were Happy

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"We Were Happy"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Fearless (Taylor's Version)
Written2005
ReleasedApril 9, 2021
GenreCountry
Length4:04
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Aaron Dessner
  • Taylor Swift
Lyric video
"We Were Happy" on YouTube

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"We Were Happy"[lower-alpha 1] is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It is the twenty-third track from Swift's first re-recorded album, Fearless (Taylor's Version). It was originally released on an old demo CD by Swift in 2005. The song was originally written by Swift and Liz Rose in 2005, and was produced by Swift and Aaron Dessner in 2021. Backing vocals are also featured on the track from Australian country singer Keith Urban.

The song reminisces on the happy moments of a past romance, employing strings, a chiming and wistful guitar, and lush harmonies. Upon the release of Fearless (Taylor's Version), the track appeared on both the United States' Hot Country Songs chart, and the Canadian Hot 100.

Background and release[edit]

Keith Urban (pictured in 2012) performs backing vocals on "We Were Happy".

After the sale of the masters of Taylor Swift's first six studio albums to American businessman Scooter Braun in 2019, Swift announced that she had the intention to re-record the albums. The first of these re-recordings, her second studio album, Fearless, was released on April 9, 2021.[1] On 2 April 2021, Swift released a video on Twitter where "a series of nonsense words appear in front of a vault, with letters flashing and fading out at different times". This was widely interpreted to be a hint towards the album's full tracklist, as while the first 20 tracks on the album were known, being previously released, the latter six tracks were unreleased, and simply referred to as bonus tracks from the vault.[2] The following day, the full track list was released, which included "We Were Happy", a previously unreleased song featured on a demo CD created by Swift in 2005. It was also announced that Keith Urban would provide backing vocals on "We Were Happy".[3] Urban told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview that he was doing his Christmas shopping when Swift asked him to contribute to the track, saying he was "sitting in the food court at the shopping centre listening to these two unreleased Taylor Swift songs", with the other track being "That's When", which Urban featured on.[4]

Composition[edit]

"We Were Happy" sees Swift reminisce on a past relationship,[5] and has instrumentals that contain strings, a chiming and wistful guitar, and lush harmonies between Swift and Urban.[6][7] "We Were Happy" is also produced by Aaron Dessner of the National, who collaborated with Swift on her Folklore and Evermore albums. The song is set in the key of C major with a moderately fast tempo of 106 beats per minute. Swift's vocals span from G3 to C5.[8]

Critical response[edit]

In a piece for Gigwise, Kelsey Barnes deemed "We Were Happy" the standout of the album's six vault tracks, calling it "a mixture of the songwriting skills she learned during her time as a country artist and the folklorian roots she's been leaning towards".[9] A Clash piece drew similar comparisons, noting the "Folklore-esque minimalism".[10] In a ranking of all the vault tracks, Billboard's Jason Lipshutz ranked "We Were Happy" at number three, describing Swift's vocal performance as "oscillating between nostalgia and guilt", and praising her vocals as what "lifts [the song] off the ground".[6] Saloni Gajjar of The A.V. Club called "We Were Happy" an evocative song, comparing it to another vault track, "Don't You".[11]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[12]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriting, production
  • Liz Rose – songwriting
  • Aaron Dessner – production, record engineering, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drum programming, electric guitar, engineering, keyboards, percussion, synthesizer
  • Keith Urban – background vocals, electric guitar
  • Clarice Jensen – cello
  • Eric Slick – drums
  • Josh Kaufman – acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar
  • Yuki Numata Resnick − orchestration
  • Bella Blasko – engineering, record engineering
  • Jonathan Low – engineering, mixing
  • Randy Merrill – mastering
  • Christopher Rowe – vocal engineering
  • Nick Rowse – vocal engineering

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for "We Were Happy"
Chart (2021) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[13] 95
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[14] 15
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[15] 43

Notes[edit]

  1. Alternate versions of the title include "We Were Happy (from the Vault)" and "We Were Happy (Taylor's Version, from the Vault)".

References[edit]

  1. Nhien-Nguyen, Giselle Au (9 April 2021). "Taylor Swift's re-recorded Fearless gives old favourites a new life". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  2. Zhan, Jennifer (2 April 2021). "We See Taylor Swift Is Up to Her Old Tricks Again". Vulture. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  3. Shaffer, Claire; Kreps, Daniel (3 April 2021). "Taylor Swift Reveals 'Fearless (Taylor's Version)' Track List, Including Keith Urban Duet". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  4. Clarke, Patrick (15 April 2021). "Keith Urban says he was Christmas shopping when Taylor Swift enlisted him for 'Fearless (Taylor's Version)'". NME. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  5. "Taylor Swift releases 'We Were Happy' from the vault; emotional Swifties flood Twitter with hilarious 'sad' memes". Times of India. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Lipshutz, Jason (9 April 2021). "Every 'From The Vault' Song Ranked on Taylor Swift's 'Fearless (Taylor's Version)': Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  7. Pollard, Alexandra (9 April 2021). "Taylor Swift review, Fearless (Taylor's Version) – Wisely not trying to rewrite history". The Independent. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  8. Swift, Taylor. "We Were Happy". Musicnotes. Retrieved July 14, 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. Barnes, Kelsey (9 April 2021). "Album Review: Taylor Swift - Fearless (Taylor's Version)". Gigwise. Retrieved 6 May 2021. 'We Were Happy' is the standout, a mixture of the songwriting skills she learned during her time as a country artist and the folklorian roots she's been leaning towards.
  10. "Taylor Swift - Fearless (Taylor's Version)". Clash. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2021. Leaning into all her influences, the vault tracks range from pure pop on 'Mr Perfectly Fine', to more Folklore- esque minimalism on 'We Were Happy'.
  11. Gajjar, Saloni (9 April 2021). "Taylor Swift forges ahead with a dreamy throwback in Fearless (Taylor's Version)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 6 May 2021. On the slower "We Were Happy," Swift sings: "We used to watch the sun go down/On the boats in the water/That's sorta how I feel right now/And goodbye's so much harder." It's an evocative song, much like "Don't You," about a woman still pining for her former love.
  12. "Credits / Fearless (Taylor's Version) / Taylor Swift". Tidal. April 9, 2021. Archived from the original on April 9, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  14. "Taylor Swift Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard.
  15. "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.


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