“We Were Happy” by Taylor Swift
The fact that the verb found in the title (“We Were Happy”) of this song is in the past tense is very revealing. For it is of course a romance which Taylor Swift is referring to. And as implied, the bulk of the lyrics are actually dedicated to detailing how this relationship was at one time ideal.
And these memories being relayed are very specific. For instance, she and the addressee once “snuck into the circus”. Also while spending the night together, they would have discussions about one day purchasing his father’s farm.
They also spent sunsets on the shore, simultaneously watching the boats on the water. And the icing on the cake, as far as how strong this romance actually was, is centered on the fact that at one point in time, the addressee was actually proclaiming his intention to marry the vocalist.
The Demise of the Relationship
But that was then, and this is now. And in the here and now, the relationship has apparently and unexpectedly reached the end of its rope. And this song is very interesting in that, unlike most others based on a similar theme, there are no assertions that one party did the other wrong. In fact there are only two lines in which the narrator actually speaks to the nature of the breakup.
The first is found at the end of the second verse, whereas Taylor states “goodbye is so much harder ‘cause we were happy”. Now there are a couple of innuendos in that statement.
First is that the breakup was quite recent, perhaps even presently ongoing. And secondly, they are obviously not parting ways on what we would define as a sour note. Or let’s say that their past glory, even at this very point, is proven more powerful sentimentally then how the vocalist currently feels.
And in terms of how she currently feels, in the bridge it is revealed that she is “not in love anymore”. Now in the grand scheme of this song that may sound like a contradiction, but it’s not.
Instead at one point, the love was truly strong. And somewhere along the lines, feelings changed. Moreover it would even appear that it is the vocalist herself who is calling it quits. But we should not hastily conclude that she is doing the other party wrong.
Instead a statement found in the very-last chorus, “you were going to marry me”, implies that he had such an intention at one time and apparently changed his mind himself.
So we can conclude by saying that this is one of those types of relationships where perhaps no one can identify what exactly went wrong. Sometimes it’s like that when you’re deeply in love for a considerable amount of time, as apparently were the two individuals we’re dealing with today.
But that being said, something went wrong nonetheless. And as time progressed, feelings are not what they once were. So she has seemingly decided that parting ways would be for the best.
But concurrently, she can’t help but to reflect on the past, ‘happier’ days, where all indications were that they would be together forever. So even though she may feel that she’s making the right decision, that does not minimize the pain of doing so.
Release of “We Were Happy”
This is a song that Taylor Swift originally put together to be featured on “Fearless”, the album she dropped in 2008. However, the parties involved opted not to include it. So it remained in Swift’s own personal, unreleased catalog for nearly 15 years.
Then in 2021, she decided to re-release “Fearless”. This time around it is referred to as “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, and all of the tracks featured thereon share that same Taylor’s Version subtitle. That is because these are actually re-recordings of the originals, created under Swift’s own initiative (in conjunction with Republic Records).
So this is not the original, albeit unreleased, song. Rather this is technically We Were Happy (Taylor’s Version) [From the Vault]. And that latter subtitle basically means that it was never officially released in the past.
There are actually five other From the Vault tracks found on Fearless (Taylors Version). And the others are entitled:
“We Were Happy” was officially released on 9 April 2021. And Swifties had a particularly emotional response to this song.
Considering that this song is in fact from the aughts, Taylor Swift wrote it alongside one of her regular collaborators from that era, Liz Rose. However, its producer is someone she became associated with more recently in a professional capacity, Aaron Dessner.
Keith Urban appears on “We Were Happy”
Music legend Keith Urban is featured on this song. He contributes background vocals to the track. According to Taylor, she was immensely honored to work alongside Keith.
And to note, Keith also collaborates with Taylor proper on another song found on “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, which is entitled “That’s When”.