Begin Again (Taylor Swift song)

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"Begin Again"
Taylor Swift - Begin Again.png
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Red
Released October 1, 2012
Format
Genre Country
Length 3:58
Label Big Machine
Writer(s) Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Ronan"
(2012)
"Begin Again"
(2012)
"I Knew You Were Trouble"
(2012)
Music video
"Begin Again" on YouTube

"Begin Again" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fourth studio album, Red (2012). Swift co-produced the song with Nathan Chapman and Dann Huff. Initially released as a promotional single on September 25, 2012 by Big Machine Records, the song served as the second single from Red on October 1, 2012. "Begin Again" is a country song, with the lyrical content finds Swift falling in love again after a failed relationship.

The song was widely acclaimed by music critics, many of whom praised Swift's songwriting and complimented for coming back to her country roots for the close of the album. The song's accompanying music video was directed by Philip Andelman, who also directed the music video Swift's "Safe & Sound". "Begin Again" generally was commercially successful, and it became her second top ten hit from Red on both US and Canadian charts following the hit single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", debuting and peaking at number seven and four respectively. The single has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). "Begin Again" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Country Song at the 56th Grammy Awards.

Background and release[edit]

Swift quipped that the song is "about when you've gotten through a really bad relationship and you finally dust yourself off and go on that first date after a horrible breakup, and the vulnerability that goes along with all that".[1] She previewed it on Good Morning America on September 24, 2012,[2] and was released digitally on iTunes the next day, September 25.[3] The song initially served as a promotional single, the first of four tracks to be released during the four weeks preceding the release of her fourth studio album Red.[4] It was later announced that the song would be the second single from Red. An individually numbered CD single was released on October 23, 2012 exclusively to Amazon.com and Swift's official store.[5][6]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Begin Again" is a country song of three minutes and 58 seconds. The song was written by Taylor Swift and the producers were Dan Huff and Nathan Chapman. Musically, "Begin Again" is written in the key of G major, with a tempo of 76 beats per minute Moderately slow. Swift's vocals span from D3 to B4.[7] Lyrically, it finds Swift falling in love again after a failed relationship.[1] According to The Boot website, "It's a beautiful ballad that tells the story of a girl who is pleasantly surprised by a new guy who does everything right that the last guy did wrong".[1] Billy Dukes from Taste of Country commented: "For those who believe the arc of songs on 'Red' tell a story, the album ends with the sweet satisfaction of love found on 'Begin Again'. [...] Again, it's her vulnerability and willingness to reveal her battle scars that make this lyric on the Best Taylor Swift 'Red' Lyrics list so palpable and brilliant".[8] Dukes placed it as the third track on Red's best lyrics list, behind "All Too Well" and the title track, respectively.[8] Billboard magazine affirmed that unlike most tracks from Red which find Swift lamenting on the end of relationships, "Begin Again" talks about "finding hope at the end of that tumultuous period".[9] According to the publication, the singer's vocals are on a "breathy, girlish vocal" tone and is reminiscent of her contributions The Hunger Games soundtrack.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Swift during her appearance on Good Morning America, where she talked about "Begin Again", and also previewed the song

"Begin Again" was widely acclaimed by music critics, many of whom praised Swift's songwriting. Writing for Taste of Country, Billy Dukes gave the song a four star rating out of five, describing it as "a cleansing breath that hopefully foreshadows the true tone of her album".[8] Grady Smith of Entertainment Weekly wrote the song is "a well-crafted love story" and noted Swift's talent "at taking a single moment in time and letting it unfold like a pop-up storybook."[10] Jessica Sager of Popcrush gave the song 4 out of 5 stars, saying that "Swift paints a vivid picture of a first date following a rough breakup in ‘Begin Again’ — and she sounds like a young woman...She’s not settling, whether in her love life or her studio sessions. And for that, Taylor Swift, we salute you."[11] Matt Bjorke gave four out of five stars as well for Roughstock, complimenting that "The song is a vast improvement for Taylor. A ballad that's neither in-your-face or sounding like its from a twelve year old".[12]

The Boot noted that the story Swift painted was "sweet" and it's a "beautiful ballad".[1] Justin Proper of Under The Gun Review praised Swift for knowing "how to keep her core audience happy, and that is exactly what “Begin Again” accomplishes", also saying that the song gave him a "sensation of relief".[13] MuchMusic lauded Swift, stating "while she is more than capable of releasing the carefree, jump-around-your-room-with-a-hairbrush break up songs like "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," she also has the pen of a poet and knows how to craft emotionally gut-wrenching songs that speak to her millions of fans."[14] However, Kevin John Coyne of Country Universe gave a mixed review, giving the song a grade "B". He lamented how Swift's songs never leave the topic of boys, saying "as Swift continues to grow older, it’s becoming more troublesome that her sense of self-worth and happiness is always inextricably linked to whatever man is currently the object of her affection."[15] "Begin Again" was included in Billboard's list of Best songs of 2012 where it was ranked at number six.

Commercial performance[edit]

In the week ending September 30, 2012, just a few hours after an early release, “Begin Again” shot to number one on iTunes. It was the first single to dethrone “Gangnam Style” and also surpassed Rihanna's "Diamonds".[16] The song debuted at number one on Billboard Hot Digital Songs selling 299,000 digital copies in the week ending September 30, 2012, which became Swift's fifth number one on that chart.[17] As a result, "Begin Again" debuted at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated October 4, 2012.[18] The song fell at number fifty-two on its second week and has charted in Billboard Hot 100 for a total of twenty weeks. "Begin Again" has been certified Platinum by RIAA.

In Billboard Hot Country Songs, "Begin Again" debuted at number thirty-seven after it was released as the second country single on Red. The song jumped at its peak at number ten on its second week on the chart after Billboard changed their methodology on Hot Country Songs, thus giving Swift her seventeenth top ten consecutive hit but also tied with "Fearless" as her lowest-charting single on the said chart although it reached number three on Billboard Country Airplay.

The song attained moderate success worldwide. "Begin Again" became Swift's sixth top five hit in Canada, debuting on its peak at number four. It debuted in Australia at number twenty on the week ending September 30, 2012.[19] In the United Kingdom, the song gave Swift her second top 40 hit from Red after debuting at number 30, following the number four-peaking song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together". In New Zealand, the song reached number eleven. In Ireland and Spain, the song reached number twenty-five and number thirty respectively.

Music video[edit]

Synopsis[edit]

The video starts with Swift standing on a bridge while pensively gazing across the water and remembering a lost love. She then takes a walk along the Île de la Cité in Paris,[citation needed] wearing a Red dress with white flower appliques and blue peep toes and sits beside the river Seine. The video draws comparison to that of singer Adele's music video "Someone Like You" and Swift's own "Back to December" (only much happier).[20] She then rides a bicycle, wearing a blue and white floral skirt with white cat flats with sun glasses on and bikes down a Cobblestone street. She goes shopping and tries on new clothes, which is inter spliced with shots of Swift singing to a man. At a café while sipping cappuccino her attention is brought to a French man to whom she was talking earlier. He starts taking snapshots of her with his Leica M camera. They then have a bitter-sweet conversation, laughing and giggling at each other. The following clips shows Swift sitting at a park and sampling pastries. It also shows Swift walking by the Seine. The clip ends with the two walking side-by-side, as Swift allows herself to "begin again."

Deviation from lyrics[edit]

Directed by Philip Andelman and produced by Arthur Cantin,[21] the story in the video deviates from the song's lyrical narrative in several respects. While the lyrics recount the narrator's (Swift) trepidation of a first date after a bad breakup, the video instead relates a chance meeting in a cafe in Paris. In the video, Swift is seated at a booth, doodling in a small notebook when a Frenchman at another table takes interest and introduces himself. Missing from the video are the narrator's initial moments in the cafe, where her date has arrived early to wait for her, greets her, then helps her into her chair, displaying kindness and respect that was apparently absent from her former relationship. Late in the song, the date draws to a conclusion while the couple walks to her car. The song lyrics describe a touching moment when the narrator feels an urge to talk about her previous relationship, but before she can, her new friend starts describing his family's Christmas movie watching tradition. It is the pivotal moment in "Begin Again", where the narrator realizes she is no longer bound to her old relationship, "And for the first time what's past is past". In the video, instead of a clear end to the date, Swift is shown walking her bike alongside her new friend down a cobblestone road (the couple is not walking to her car as described in the lyrics, as she has her bike). In the video, it is seems clear that Swift is feeling love for her new friend, while the lyrical story leaves it to the listener to decide whether the narrator is finding love in her new friend, or is more generally reclaiming her ability to love through the experience of this date.

Reception[edit]

Entertainment Weekly thought the video was “another classic bittersweet Swift joint,” writing: “Though her boyfriend doesn't laugh at her jokes and bores her with stories about his family’s Christmas movie-watching traditions, she finds the ultimate salve: Wandering through the streets of Paris, chuckling with handsome dudes in a café (and probably snacking on snails or something) It’s a lovely clip, but a little bit sleepy. Also, there’s something about it that recalls ’Back to December’ — is it the color palette, or just the general moodiness?”.[22][23] To date, the video has over 130 million views on YouTube.

Track listing[edit]

Digital download/Limited Edition CD single[3][24]
  1. "Begin Again" - 3:58

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from album liner notes.[25]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

List of radio and release dates with formats and record labels
Country Date Format Label
United States September 25, 2012[3] Digital download Big Machine Records
October 1, 2012 Country radio
October 23, 2012[5][6] CD single

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Taylor Swift 'Begin Again' Lyrics Tell Sweet Story of First Date". The Boot. September 25, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Taylor Swift's 'Begin Again' Previewed On 'Good Morning America' [UPDATE]". The Huffington Post. Aol, Inc. September 24, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Begin Again - Single by Taylor Swift". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. Archived from the original on September 27, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ Williott, Carl (September 21, 2012). "Taylor Swift's 'Red' Nabs Countdown Campaign With iTunes & 'Good Morning America'". Idolator. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "LIMITED EDITION 'Begin Again' Single CD". Amazon.com (US) Amazon, Inc. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "LIMITED EDITION 'Begin Again' Single CD". store.taylorswift.com. Amazon.com (US) Amazon, Inc. Archived from the original on December 19, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Taylor Swift - Begin Again Sheet Music". musicnotes.com. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Dukes, Billy (September 25, 2012). "Taylor Swift, 'Begin Again' – Song Review". Taste of Country. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Taylor Swift, 'Red': Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. October 12, 2012. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ Smith, Grady (September 25, 2012). "Taylor Swift's new track 'Begin Again' isn't a break-up song". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  11. ^ Sager, Jessica (September 25, 2012). "TAYLOR SWIFT, 'BEGIN AGAIN' – SONG REVIEW". Popcrush. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  12. ^ Bjorke, Matt (September 25, 2012). "Single Review: Taylor Swift - Begin Again". Roughstock. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  13. ^ Proper, Justin (September 25, 2012). "STREAM: TAYLOR SWIFT – BEGIN AGAIN". Under The Gun Review. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  14. ^ Music, Much (September 25, 2012). "TAYLOR SWIFT OPENS UP IN NEW SONG BEGIN AGAIN". MuchMusic Blog. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  15. ^ John Coyne, Kevin (September 28, 2012). "Single Review: Taylor Swift, "Begin Again"". Country Universe. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ Copsey, Robert (October 1, 2012). "Psy 'Gangnam Style' tops Aussie singles chart". Digital Spy. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Mumford & Sons, Green Day, No Doubt Debut at Nos. 1-3 on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. October 3, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  18. ^ "PSY Can't Beat Maroon 5 In Close Race For Hot 100's Top Spot". Billboard. October 3, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  19. ^ Copsey, Robert (October 1, 2012). "Psy 'Gangnam Style' tops Aussie singles chart". Digital Spy. Nat Mags. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  20. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (November 25, 2012). "Taylor Swift Decides To 'Begin Again' in Paris: Watch New Video". Billboard. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Taylor Swift - Begin Again (2012) | IMVDb". IMVDb. Retrieved 2016-10-08. 
  22. ^ Lansky, Sam (October 24, 2012). "Taylor Swift's "Begin Again" Video: Review Revue". Idolator. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  23. ^ Anderson, Kyle (October 24, 2012). "Taylor Swift's 'Begin Again' video: The French connection!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  24. ^ Begin Again (CD single). Taylor Swift. Big Machine Records. 2012. 4393000739. 
  25. ^ Borchetta, Scott (2012). "Liner notes". Red (Booklet). Taylor Swift. Nashville: Big Machine Records. p. 18. BMR310400A. 
  26. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Taylor Swift – Begin Again". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  27. ^ "Taylor Swift – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Taylor Swift. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  28. ^ "Taylor Swift – Chart history" Billboard Canada Country for Taylor Swift. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  29. ^ "Chart Track: Week 39, 2012". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  30. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Taylor Swift – Begin Again". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  31. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Taylor Swift – Begin Again" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  32. ^ "6, 2012/ Archive Chart: October 6, 2012" UK Singles Chart.
  33. ^ "Taylor Swift – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Taylor Swift. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  34. ^ "Taylor Swift – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Taylor Swift. Retrieved October 1, 2012.
  35. ^ "Taylor Swift – Chart history" Billboard Country Airplay for Taylor Swift. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  36. ^ "Best of 2012: Hot Country Songs". Billboard. 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Best of 2013: Country Airplay". Billboard. 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Best of 2013: Hot Country Songs". Billboard. 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Taylor Swift – Begin Again". Music Canada. 
  40. ^ "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – Begin Again". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]