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"The Last Time” feat. Gary Lightbody is the tenth track from American singer and songwriter Taylor Swift's fourth studio album, Red, released on October 22, 2012, through Big Machine Records. The song became the seventh single from the album on November 4, 2013. It is also the tenth track from her second re-recorded album, Red (Taylor's Version), released on November 12, 2021, through Republic Records.

Background[]

On the album, "The Last Time" comes after the song, "Stay Stay Stay". Swift opted to collaborate with several producers on the album. One of the resulting collaborations was "The Last Time", which was produced by Jacknife Lee, who is best known for working with Snow Patrol and U2.

The song tells the story of a long-standing but crumbling relationship. Lyrically, the song describes the relationship as one with vicious cycles of both heartbreak and forgiveness, for instance: "You find yourself at my door, just like all those times before, you wear your best apology, but I was there to watch you leave" as sang by Swift. Orchestral swells accentuate the chorus and drama to the "instantly hummable refrain".

Composition[]

"The Last Time" is a power ballad that draws primarily from alternative rock and also interpolates elements of country and folk music.

Music video[]

The music video for the song premiered on November 15, 2013, on Vevo and YouTube. The video is three minutes and 48 seconds in length. To date, the video has garnered over 48 million views on YouTube.

Similarly to her music video for "Red", "The Last Time" features concert footage from Swift's Red Tour in Sacramento, California, on August 27, 2013. This was the first time Lightbody and Swift performed the single together live. The video starts off with Lightbody being lifted up onto the stage and Swift approaching him from behind. They begin the duet seated, with their backs facing each other. Throughout the video, is inter spliced with footage showing fans' hand-made signs and cheering. The video ends with Lightbody and Swift finishing their duet on stage.

Hidden message[]

Hidden message: LA on your break.

Lyrics[]

[Verse 1: Gary Lightbody]
Find myself at your door
Just like all those times before
I'm not sure how I got there
All roads, they lead me here
I imagine you are home
In your room, all alone
And you open your eyes into mine
And everything feels better

[Pre-Chorus: Gary Lightbody & Taylor Swift]
And right before your eyes
I'm breaking, no past
No reasons why
Just you and me

[Chorus: Gary Lightbody & Taylor Swift]
This is the last time I'm asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I'm asking you, "Why?"
You break my heart in the blink of an eye (Eye, eye)

[Verse 2: Taylor Swift]
You find yourself at my door
Just like all those times before
You wear your best apology
But I was there to watch you leave
And all the times I let you in
Just for you to go again
Disappear when you come back
Everything is better

[Pre-Chorus: Gary Lightbody & Taylor Swift]
And right before your eyes
I'm aching, run fast
Nowhere to hide
Just you and me

[Chorus: Gary Lightbody & Taylor Swift]
This is the last time I'm asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I'm asking you "Why?"
You break my heart in the blink of an eye (Eye, eye)

[Bridge: Gary Lightbody & Taylor Swift, Both]
This is the last time you tell me I've got it wrong
This is the last time I say, "It's been you all along"
This is the last time I let you in my door
This is the last time, I won't hurt you anymore
Oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho
Oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho, oh-ho

[Chorus: Gary Lightbody & Taylor Swift]
This is the last time I'm asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list
This is the last time I'm asking you, "Why?"
You break my heart in the blink of an eye

[Post-Chorus: Gary Lightbody & Taylor Swift]
This is the last time I'm asking you this (This is the last time I'm asking you this)
Put my name at the top of your list (Put my name at the top of your list)
This is the last time I'm asking you, "Why?" (This is the last time I'm asking you, "Why?")
You break my heart in the blink of an eye (You break my heart)

[Outro: Gary Lightbody & Taylor Swift]
This is the last time I'm asking you, last time I'm asking you
Last time I'm asking you this
This is the last time I'm asking you, last time I'm asking you
Last time I'm asking you this
This is the last time I'm asking you, last time I'm asking you
Last time I'm asking you this
This is the last time I'm asking you, last time I'm asking you
Last time I'm asking you this

Lyric video[]

Critical reception[]

Joseph Atilano of The Philippine Inquirer described "The Last Time" as the most mature track on the album and positively noted that it "represents a darker tone" on Red. He further commented that the song "proves she is ready for the adult-pop realm" and lends her artistic credibility. Amy Sciarretto of PopCrush also praised Swift's maturity on the track, which she felt would fare well on adult contemporary radio. Sciarretto also characterized the song as "darkly romantic" and "sort of epic."[ Randall Roberts of The Los Angeles Times responded favorably to the song's balladry, writing that the song "is well-crafted, emotional and features an instantly hummable refrain."

Billy Dukes of Taste of Country was more critical of the song, as he felt Lightbody dominates the track and Swift "stretches out in the back seat"; he called "The Last Time" the "only pure skip-ahead moment" on Red.

Live performances[]

Lightbody and Swift performed "The Last Time" for the first time in Sacramento, California, on August 27, 2013, on the Red Tour.[1] Lightbody and Swift also performed the song on an episode of The X Factor from November 3, 2013.[2] Swift also performed "The Last Time" as the second surprise song in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 16, 2023, on The Eras Tour.

References[]

RED
"State Of Grace" • "Red" • "Treacherous" • "I Knew You Were Trouble" • "All Too Well" • "22" • "I Almost Do" • "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" • "Stay Stay Stay" • "The Last Time" • "Holy Ground" • "Sad Beautiful Tragic" • "The Lucky One" • "Everything Has Changed" • "Starlight" • "Begin Again"
Deluxe Edition
"The Moment I Knew" • "Come Back...Be Here" • "Girl At Home" • "Treacherous" (demo) • "Red" (demo)
"State Of Grace" (acoustic)
Taylor's Version
"Ronan" • "Better Man" • "Nothing New" • "Babe" • "Message In A Bottle" • "I Bet You Think About Me" • "Forever Winter" • "Run" • "The Very First Night" • "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)"
The More Red (Taylor's Version) Chapter
"Safe & Sound" • "Eyes Open"
Collaborations
Taylor Swift songs featuring other artists
"Anti-Hero" (Bleachers) • "Bad Blood" (Kendrick Lamar) • "Breathe" (Colbie Caillat) • "Castles Crumbling" (Hayley Williams) • "coney island" (The National) • "Electric Touch" (Fall Out Boy) "End Game" (Ed Sheeran, Future) • "evermore" (Bon Iver) • "Everything Has Changed" (Ed Sheeran) • "exile" (Bon Iver) • "Florida!!!" (Florence + The Machine) • "Fortnight" (Post Malone) • "I Bet You Think About Me" (Chris Stapleton) • "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" (ZAYN)• "Karma" (Ice Spice) • "Lover" (Shawn Mendes) • "ME!" (Brendon Urie) • "no body, no crime" (HAIM) • "Nothing New" (Phoebe Bridgers) • "Run" (Ed Sheeran) • "Safe & Sound (The Civil Wars) • "Snow On The Beach" (Lana Del Rey) • "Soon You'll Get Better" (The Chicks) • "That's When" (Keith Urban) • "The Last Time" (Gary Lightbody) • "You All Over Me" (Maren Morris)
Songs featuring Taylor Swift
"Babe" (Sugarland) • "Best Days of Your Life" (Kellie Pickler) • "Birch" (Big Red Machine) • "Both of Us" (B.o.B) • "Gasoline" (HAIM) • "Half of My Heart" (John Mayer)
"Highway Don't Care" (Tim McGraw ft. Keith Urban) • "Renegade" (Big Red Machine) • "The Alcott" (The National) • "The Joker and the Queen" (Ed Sheeran) • "This Is What You Came For" (Calvin Harris) • "Thug Story" (T-Pain) • "Three Sad Virgins" (Pete Davidson, from SNL) • "Two Is Better Than One" (Boys Like Girls) • "us." (Gracie Abrams)
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