Long Live (Taylor Swift song)

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"Long Live"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Speak Now
WrittenJune 2010
ReleasedOctober 25, 2010 (2010-10-25)
GenreHeartland rock
Length5:17
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
Audio
"Long Live" on YouTube

"Long Live" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her third studio album, Speak Now (2010). Produced by Swift and Nathan Chapman, "Long Live" is the closing track of the 14-track standard Speak Now edition. It is a heartland rock song featuring girl group harmonies and chiming rock guitars, with lyrics about Swift's gratitude for her fans and bandmates, using high school imagery to describe the accomplishments in life.

After Speak Now was released, "Long Live" entered and peaked at number 85 on the US Billboard Hot 100. A remix featuring Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes was released as a digital single in Brazil in March 2012. Swift included the song on the regular set lists of two of her world tours, the Speak Now World Tour (2011–2012) and Reputation Stadium Tour (2018), and performed it on select dates of two of her world tours, the Red Tour (2013–2014) and the 1989 World Tour (2015).

Background and composition[edit]

The song's lyrics celebrate moments of triumph[1] in the narrator's life, including collecting awards and being crowned (prom) kings and queens, and indirectly bring into question what others will remember of those times later on. Dave Heaton of PopMatters described "Long Live" as an "anthem of defiance", similar to Fearless album-ender "Change".[1] In an explanation of the song's meaning on her website, Swift called the song a "love song... written to my team".[2] Its lyrics feature high school imagery describing the accomplishments in life such as the coronation of prom kings and queens.[3]

Musically, "Long Live" is a heartland rock song,[4][5] featuring chiming rock guitars and girl group harmonies.[3] Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone compared the song's guitars to those on "Hysteria" by Def Leppard.[3] A repeating guitar riff carries the song, while the chorus features a strong drum beat. According to the digital sheet music published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, "Long Live" was composed in the key of G Major and set in common 4
4
time to a "moderate" tempo of 92 BPM.[6] Lyrics of the song are included in one of Swift's journal entries from June 2010.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

"Long Live" received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone found the song to be heavy-handed but effective: "Speak Now peaks with 'Long Live,' a ridiculously over-the-top prom anthem with all the epic girl-group swoon of the Ronettes or the Shirelles, plus a guitar lick from Def Leppard's 'Hysteria' ... Yet when Swift sings it, damn if you don't believe every word."[8] In About.com's review of Speak Now, Bill Lamb referred to "Long Live" as "perhaps the most powerful song [on the album]", noting its effectiveness as an album closer, and listed it as #5 on its top five album tracks.[9] Comparing the song favorably to "Change" from Fearless, PopMatters editor Dave Heaton felt the song was somewhat generic, but that the ambiguity of its subject matter strengthens its appeal as an anthem. "It’s an anthem of defiance," he wrote, "where the defiant ones are gaining their energy from memories and story-making."[1]

Others were less receptive to the song. In her review for HitFix, Melinda Newman labelled "Long Live", along with "Enchanted", as "throwaways" compared to the sharper lyricism of other tracks, and suggesting these two suffer the most from "going on a minute or two too long".[10] In 2021, Sheffield ranked it as the sixth best song of Swift's career.[5]

Live performances[edit]

Swift singing on a mic and playing the guitar
Swift performing "Long Live" on the Speak Now World Tour (pictured in Pittsburgh in 2011)

Swift first performed "Long Live" on a performance at the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Allure of the Sea in January, 2011.

Swift also included the song as part of the regular setlist of the Speak Now World Tour, performing it on every tour date as the last song before the encore.

"Long Live" was also performed on selected dates during The Red Tour, The 1989 World Tour and Reputation Stadium Tour. On the Red Tour, an acoustic version of the song was played by Swift while she sat on red stool with her guitar in an intimate moment with her fans. Swift played the song also in an acoustic version on the last date of The 1989 World Tour, in Melbourne, Australia. On the Reputation Stadium Tour, Swift performed this song from the piano along with a mashup of "New Year's Day".

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from Tidal.[11]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, producer, acoustic guitar
  • Nathan Chapman – producer, acoustic guitar, piano, digital piano, banjo, bass guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, organ, synthesizer
  • Bryan Sutton – acoustic guitar
  • Amos Heller – bass guitar
  • Tim Marks – bass guitar
  • Tommy Sims – bass guitar
  • John Gardner – drums
  • Nick Buda – drums
  • Shannon Forrest – drums
  • Grant Mickelson – electric guitar
  • Mike Meadows – electric guitar
  • Paul Sidoti – electric guitar
  • Rob Hajacos – fiddle
  • Tim Lauer – piano, Hammond B3
  • Al Wilson – percussion
  • Eric Darken – percussion
  • Smith Curry – steel guitar

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 85
US Country Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[13] 13

Paula Fernandes version[edit]

"Long Live"
Taylor Swift - Long Live (feat. Paula Fernandes).png
Promotional single by Taylor Swift featuring Paula Fernandes
from the album Speak Now World Tour – Live / Meus Encantos / Multishow Ao Vivo: Um Ser Amor
Language
  • Portuguese
  • English
ReleasedMarch 1, 2012 (2012-03-01)
Length5:15
Label
Songwriter(s)
  • Taylor Swift
  • Paula Fernandes
Producer(s)
  • Nathan Chapman
  • Taylor Swift
Music video
"Long Live" (Taylor Swift & Paula Fernandes) on YouTube

In 2012, a new version of the song was released as a single from the Brazilian edition of Swift's live album Speak Now World Tour – Live (2011),[14] featuring additional Portuguese verses written and performed by Brazilian recording artist Paula Fernandes. This release was a local hit, breaking into the top 5 on Billboard Brazil's Brasil Hot 100 Airplay chart.[15] The song was included on the album "Meus Encantos" (2012) and the live album Multishow Ao Vivo: Um Ser Amor (2013), both by Fernandes.

Music video[edit]

A music video for the single version of the song was filmed. The video is made to appear as if Swift and Fernandes are performing the song at the same time while connected via satellite, with Fernandes recording the song in Brazil while Swift performs the song during a show in the United States. Fernandes commented that "the idea for the video is for it to look like I'm here in Brazil participating in a Taylor Swift show in the United States." For that, several big screens showing Swift performing in a concert were used in the studio where Fernandes' scenes were filmed. Fernandes' parts of the video were filmed in one hour. The video was directed by Eduardo Levy.[16] Two days before the video's release, Fernandes stated that the video would debut in the Brazilian TV show Fantastico on Rede Globo.[17]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
position
Brazil (Brasil Hot 100 Airplay)[15] 5
Brazil (Brasil Hot Pop)[18] 2

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Heaton, Dave (November 29, 2010). "Taylor Swift: Speak Now". PopMatters. Spin Media. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  2. ^ "Long Live by Taylor Swift". Songfacts. Tone Media. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Sheffield, Rob (October 26, 2010). "Speak Now (2010)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  4. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (August 19, 2019). "Taylor Swift: Speak Now". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on December 14, 2020. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (October 26, 2021). "All 199 of Taylor Swift's Songs, Ranked by Rob Sheffield". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 26, 2021.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Taylor Swift "Long Live" Sheet Music in G Major (transposable)". Musicnotes.com. Sony/ATV Music Publishing. January 31, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  7. ^ Swift, Taylor (August 23, 2019). Lover Deluxe (Media notes) (2nd ed.).
  8. ^ Sheffield, Rob (October 26, 2010). "Speak Now | Album Review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Lamb, Bill. "Review of Speak Now Album by Taylor Swift". About.com. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  10. ^ Newman, Melinda (October 22, 2010). "Review: Taylor Swift takes on John Mayer and Taylor Lautner on 'Speak Now'". HitFix. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  11. ^ "Try the TIDAL Web Player". listen.tidal.com. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  12. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  13. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Country Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  14. ^ "iTunes - Música - Long Live (feat. Paula Fernandes) - Single de Taylor Swift". iTunes Store (Brazil). Apple Inc. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Chart Search". Billboard Brasil Hot 100 Airplay for Taylor Swift. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  16. ^ "Exclusivo: uma espiadinha nos bastidores da gravação do clipe de Paula Fernandes". December 18, 2011. Archived from the original on January 8, 2012.
  17. ^ "Lançamento do clipe de 'Long Live' será domingo, no Fantástico!". 2012.
  18. ^ BPP. "Billboard Brasil Hot 100 Airplay". Billboard Brasil. No. April 2012.