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"Babe" is a song by American country music duo Sugarland, featuring guest vocals from Taylor Swift. It was originally written by Swift and Patrick Monahan of the band Train for Swift's fourth studio album, Red (2012). The song was released by Big Machine Records on April 20, 2018, as the second single from Sugarland's sixth studio album, Bigger (2018).

Background

Patrick Monahan, the founding member of rock band Train, first spoke about the song during a 2013 interview with ABC News Radio. He said that when he asked Swift about collaborating on a song for Train's next album, she asked him to co-write a song for her album Red (2012). Ultimately, the song was not included on the album, but when Swift decided to put out a deluxe version of Red, Monahan thought it would finally be released.[1][2][3] The song was not previously recorded.[4][5]

The album's track list, which was released on April 12, 2018, shows that "Babe" is the only song on the album not co-written by Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.[6][7] It also marks the second song Swift has written for a country act since making her full transition to pop in 2014, following Little Big Town's "Better Man", as well as the first country song on which she is credited as an artist since that time.[8][9]

Sugarland told reporters backstage at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards that the collaboration came about after Swift, who is a Sugarland fan, called the duo wanting to work with them.[10][11] "She was gracious enough to reach out to us when she heard we were coming back together and doing a record," Bush said. "She said, 'I have a song, would you like to do it?' And we said, 'Uh, yeah!' I was a little anxious. I didn't want to mess it up!" Nettles added: "But she loved it and wanted [us] to be a part of it, which is exciting. She said, 'I have a song,' and we said, 'Okay. Send it over.'"[12][13][14] The duo found it to be an unusual experience, since they have never featured anybody on their past albums. "So we weren't really used to sorting through that and we didn't want to mess it up. We didn't tell anybody about it until we got finished and she liked it, thank God."[15] In a video Swift posted on Instagram, she expressed that she is delighted that the song "gets its own life" and that "Sugarland wanted to record it and has done such a great job with it".[16][17][18]

Commercial performance

The song debuted at No. 27 on Country Airplay dated April 28, 2018,[19] The following week it was released for sale, and the song reached No. 8 on Hot Country Songs with 38,000 copies in the first sales week. On the Billboard Hot 100 chart it peaked at number 72.[20][21] It has sold 166,000 copies in the United States as of November 2018.[22] Additionally the song peaked at number 94 in Canada and number 64 in Scotland.

Music video

The trailer for the music video aired during the 2018 CMT Music Awards and was uploaded to Sugarland's YouTube channel on June 6, 2018, while the official music video premiered on June 9. Swift had the original idea for the video's concept, and as stated per the Sugarland duo themselves, they all got together before the video shoot to collaborate on ideas.[23] To date the video has over 26 million views on YouTube.

Awards and nominations

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2018 Country Music Association Awards Video of the Year Nominated [24][25]
2019 Academy of Country Music Awards Nominated [26]

Live performances

Sugarland performed the song for the first time on Live with Kelly and Ryan on May 8, 2018.[27] On June 6, 2018, they performed it on The Today Show live from Blake Shelton's bar, Ole Red.[28] The song is also included in the Still the Same Tour set list. Swift included the song on her pre-show playlist on her Reputation Stadium Tour and sang it as the surprise song at her Cleveland show.[29] Sugarland joined Swift as the special guest at the second show in Arlington on the tour, where they performed the song together live for the first time.[30]

Lyrics

What a shame
Didn't wanna be the one that got away, yeah
Big mistake, broke the sweetest promise
That you never should have made

I'm here on the kitchen floor
You call, but I won't hear it
You said no one else, how could you do this, babe?

You really blew this, babe
We ain't gettin' through this one, babe
This is the last time I'll ever call you, babe
This is the last time, this is the last time
This is the last time, I'll ever call you babe

What a waste
Takin' down the pictures and the plans we made, yeah
And it's strange how your face doesn't look so innocent
Your secret has its consequence and that's on you, babe

I break down every time you call
We're a wreck, you're the wreckin' ball
We said, "No one else", how could you do this, babe?

You really blew this, babe
We ain't gettin' through this one, babe
This is the last time I'll ever call you, babe
This is the last time, this is the last time
This is the last time

Since you admitted it, I keep picturin'
Her lips on your neck, I can't unsee it
I hate that because of you, I can't love you
Babe
What a shame, didn't want to be the one that got away
How could you do this, babe?

You really blew this, babe
We ain't gettin' through this one, babe
How could you do this, babe
This is the last time, this is the last time
This is the last time, I'll ever call you babe

How could you do this, babe?
I'm here on the kitchen floor, you call but I won't hear it
You said I'm no one else, we ain't gettin' through this one, babe
I break down every time you call, this is the last time
We're a wreck, you're the wreckin' ball
This is the last time, this is the last time
You said no one else, this is the last time
I'll never call you babe

References

  1. Train's Pat Monahan on Writing with Taylor Swift: "Her Perspective Is Very Fresh"
  2. Taylor Swift Wrote and Is Featured on Sugarland's Newest Song "Babe"
  3. Sugarland and Taylor Swift Release Breakup Song 'Babe' — Find Out the Story Behind the Track
  4. Taylor Swift, Sugarland team for country duet 'Babe'
  5. Sugarland, Taylor Swift team for country duet 'Babe'
  6. Taylor Swift Lends Vocals on Sugarland's Bigger
  7. Sugarland dropping new track with Taylor Swift next week
  8. Sugarland Announce New Album 'Bigger,' Taylor Swift Collaboration
  9. Hear Taylor Swift Sing On 'Babe,' Country Duo Sugarland's New Breakup Anthem That She Co-Wrote
  10. Sugarland Talks Taylor Swift Collaboration on ACM Awards Red Carpet: 'It's Fantastic'
  11. Sugarland Reveal How a Taylor Swift Song Landed on Their Upcoming 'Bigger' Album
  12. Sugarland Teases Lyric Details on New Song 'Babe' Written By Taylor Swift (Exclusive)
  13. Sugarland Opens Up About New Taylor Swift-Penned Song "Babe"
  14. Taylor Swift's Upcoming Sugarland Single 'Just Might Be' Inspired by a Previous Relationship
  15. Sugarland on Recording Taylor Swift Song: 'We Didn't Want to Mess It Up'
  16. Taylor Swift Returns to Country Music With Sugarland Song 'Babe' — Listen
  17. Taylor Swift Is Featured on Sugarland's New Song "Babe"
  18. Taylor Swift Reacts To All The Love For Writing Sugarland's 'Babe'
  19. Country Airplay
  20. Hot Country Songs
  21. Top 30 Digital Country Singles: April 30, 2018
  22. Top 30 Digital Country Singles Chart: November 13, 2018
  23. Sugarland's Steamy 'Babe' Video Treatment Was Taylor Swift's Idea: 'She Reached Out to Us'
  24. CMA Awards announces 2018 hosts, will reveal nominees on August 28
  25. 2018 CMA Awards nominations announced
  26. 2019 ACM Awards nominations
  27. Watch Sugarland Perform 'Babe' on 'Kelly and Ryan'
  28. Watch Sugarland perform their new song 'Babe' live on Today
  29. All the Surprise Songs Taylor Swift Has Performed on Her Reputation Stadium Tour B-Stage (So Far)
  30. See Sugarland, Taylor Swift’s First Ever Live Performance of ‘Babe’
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