Should've Said No

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"Should've Said No"
Taylor Swift - Should've Said No artwork.png
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Taylor Swift
ReleasedMay 18, 2008 (2008-05-18)
StudioDark Horse Recording (Franklin, Tennessee)
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)Nathan Chapman
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Picture to Burn"
"Should've Said No"
"Love Story"
Music video
"Should've Said No" on YouTube

"Should've Said No" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The song serves as the fifth and final single from Swift's self-titled debut studio album.[1] The song is about Swift addressing her former lover who cheated on her. It debuted at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending June 7, 2008.[2] Furthermore it became her second number-one single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart,[3] and eventually peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the week ending August 9, 2008.[4] "Should've Said No" has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The song was performed live at the 43rd Academy of Country Music Awards.

The song is included in the concert film Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, and in the soundtrack to the movie.[5] An alternate version of the song was released on her extended play Beautiful Eyes.[6] As of November 2017, the song has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States.[7]

Background and composition[edit]

"Should've Said No" is an up-tempo song,[8] in which Swift wrote when she was sixteen years old[9] because "something really, really dramatic and crazy" was happening to her, and she felt that she needed "to address it in the form of music".[10] According to the Country Weekly magazine, she was inspired to write it after she discovered that her boyfriend at the time had cheated on her. The first line that came to her was the title, and she wrote the chorus in five minutes. Swift has also said that many of the lyrics were based on actual words that she used when confronting her ex-boyfriend.[9] She compared the song to her previous single "Picture to Burn". While "Picture to Burn" has an "angry and I'm-done-with-him attitude", "Should've Said No" is "more of a moral statement. It's an 'I love you, we were awesome and great together, but you messed this up and I would still be with you' kinda thing. You said yes, and you should've said no."[11] The song was a last-minute addition to Taylor Swift—Swift wrote the song two days before the mastering was scheduled, and booklets were about to be printed. She then called her producer and completed the song overnight.[10][12]

Critical reception[edit]

"Should've Said No" received critical acclaim along with "Picture to Burn". Roger Holland of PopMatters said that "Should've Said No" is "a truly splendid pop-rock song wrapped up in an almost entirely spurious country arrangement."[13] Chris Neal of Country Weekly believed "Should've Said No" and her previous single "Picture to Burn", were the most immediately striking songs on Taylor Swift.[14] Alison Bonaguro of the Chicago Tribune named the song along with "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Invisible" as "revenge songs," and commented that Swift's themes stayed the same throughout the concert.[15] Country music blog Engine 145 gave the song a "thumbs down" review. Reviewer Matt C. criticized the production as being "too loud", and thought that Swift's vocals were overly reliant on pitch correction and "not amenable" to the song's concept.[16]


Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2009 BMI Awards Publisher of the Year Won [17]
Award-Winning Songs Won

Live performances[edit]

Swift performed "Should've Said No" at the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards.[18][19] She also performed the song with Jonas Brothers on the Burning Up Tour.[20]

As for her own concerts, "Should've Said No" was performed as the encore for both the 2009 and 2010 set lists of her first concert tour, Fearless Tour.[21] She performed the song, acoustically, on selected dates of her Red Tour, in place of "I Almost Do", and it replaced "You Are in Love" during the first show in Santa Clara during The 1989 World Tour. The song was also incorporated as a part of Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour, where it was performed in a mashup with "Bad Blood".[22]

Music video[edit]

Footage from Swift's performance at the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards was later used as a live music video for the song. The performance begins with a hooded Swift playing the guitar and after an on-stage costume change, she is wearing a black dress. At the end of the performance, Swift walks up the stairs and performs in the rain.[23]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[31] Platinum 1,500,000[7]


  1. ^ "Should've Said No (Single)". Big Machine Label Group. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
  3. ^ Spencer 2010, p. 54.
  4. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Movie Review: "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience"". The Washington Post. February 28, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  6. ^ Spencer 2013, p. 2.
  7. ^ a b Trust, Gary (November 26, 2017). "Ask Billboard: Taylor Swift's Career Album & Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  8. ^ Murphy 2013, p. 197.
  9. ^ a b Horner, Marianne (October 20, 2008). "Story Behind the Song: Don't Cheat on a Songwriter". Country Weekly. 15 (21): 14.
  10. ^ a b Scaggs, Austin (January 25, 2010). "Taylor's Time: Catching Up With Taylor Swift". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  11. ^ "Taylor Swift Says Yes To "No"". Great American Country. May 19, 2008. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008.
  12. ^ Mullins, Jenna (November 13, 2014). "45 Things You Didn't Know About Taylor Swift Songs". E!. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  13. ^ Holland, Roger (November 9, 2006). "Taylor Swift: Taylor Swift". PopMatters. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  14. ^ Neal, Chris (December 4, 2006). "Taylor Swift review". Country Weekly. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  15. ^ Bonaguro, Alison (February 4, 2008). "Taylor Swift a prodigy who's coming of age". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  16. ^ C., Matt (May 14, 2008). "Taylor Swift - "Should've Said No"". Engine 145. Archived from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2008.
  17. ^ "Kris Kristofferson, Taylor Swift, Bobby Pinson, and More Honored at 2009 BMI Country Awards". Broadcast Music, Inc. November 11, 2009. Archived from the original on June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  18. ^ Spencer 2010, p. 42.
  19. ^ "Taylor Swift - "Should've Said No (From the 2008 ACM Awards)"". CMT. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  20. ^ Primeau, Jamie (July 12, 2015). "Nick Jonas Joins Taylor Swift Onstage & They're Proof That Anyone Can Stay Friends — VIDEOS". Bustle. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  21. ^ Frehsee, Nicole (August 28, 2009). "Taylor Swift Performs a "Fearless" Set at Madison Square Garden". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  22. ^ Warner, Denise (May 9, 2018). "Here Are All the Songs Taylor Swift Played on the Opening Night of the Reputation Tour". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  23. ^ "Taylor Swift - "Should've Said No (From the 2008 ACM Awards)"". CMT. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  24. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  25. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  26. ^ "Taylor Swift – Should've Said No". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  27. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  28. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  29. ^ "Taylor Swift – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  30. ^ "Best of 2008: Country Songs". Billboard. 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
  31. ^ "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – Should've Said No". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 6, 2011.