The Last Time

Album: Red (2012)
Charted: 25 66
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Songfacts®:

  • For this song, Swift wanted to replicate the sounds of the songs Jacknife Lee has produced for the likes of U2 and Snow Patrol. So not only did she recruit the latter band's lead singer, Gary Lightbody, to co-write and duet with her, but she recruited the producer himself to helm the whimsical orchestral ballad.

    Gary Lightbody is one of several songwriters that Swift reached out to write with her on Red. She told Billboard magazine that the people she chose to collaborate with were ones who inspired her. "Snow Patrol are so absolutely dead-on," she said, "they can just hit you when they are singing about loss or longing."
  • The song finds Swift at the end of her tether with her boyfriend. She's had enough of his minimal commitment and the hurt he's causing her, so the singer is putting him on final notice. She warns him that unless he puts her name at the top of his list, this will be "the last time" she lets him in her door.
  • Swifties believe the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, whom the singer dated for three months in late 2010, is the subject of the track. Swift hints at this with the hidden message for the song: "LA on Break." The couple broke up when Gyllenhaal missed Swift's 21st birthday party as he was in Los Angeles to promote his movie Love and Other Drugs. Swift details the incident on another Red track, "The Moment I Knew."

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