Songwriters: Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Johan Shellback
McKayla Maroney says this better than I could:
By now it should hardly come as a surprise that Taylor Swift’s songs sound pop, but it’s easy to be almost taken aback by how fiercely un-country this song is, banjo in the country mix notwithstanding. As a pop song, it could be worse - at least in terms of structure. It boasts a sparse production and a strong melodic hook that makes a memorable impression, particularly in the chorus. It will fit in comfortably on Top 40 playlists between toe-tapping hits by Katy Perry and Hot Chelle Rae.
There’s just no way around the fact that this is a huge step backward for Swift in terms of lyrical construction. This song could be seen as everything Taylor Swift’s detractors detest about her wrapped up into a neat little package, with the juvenile aspect of her persona being played up to the point that it borders on self-parody. While the “What!?” hook sounds cute at first, the “ooh ooh oohs” and the snipey spoken word portions are grating upon arrival. As a whole, the lyric is one-dimensional, unimaginative, and – while I hate to use everbody’s favorite Swift perjorative – yes, this is very immature. Swift has done this kind of song many times before, and she’s done it with much more perspective, insight, and cleverness than she shows here. Considering she’s getting into her twenties now, it would be nice to see some forward artistic progression.
There are things that “Never Ever” gets right, but they’re not enough to offset all that it gets wrong. While there’s a potentially good catchy pop song buried in here somewhere, it ultimately ends up getting smothered in cheese. If this represents the direction of Swift’s upcoming album Red, then perhaps we would be better off joining Swift’s ex in listening to “some indie record that’s much cooler than mine.”