Babe (Sugarland song)

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"Babe"
Sugarland Babe.png
Single by Sugarland featuring Taylor Swift
from the album Bigger
ReleasedApril 20, 2018 (2018-04-20)
Format
GenreCountry
Length3:35
LabelBig Machine
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Sugarland singles chronology
"Still the Same"
(2017)
"Babe"
(2018)
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Delicate"
(2018)
"Babe"
(2018)
"Getaway Car"
(2018)
Music video
"Babe" on YouTube

"Babe" is a song recorded by American country music duo Sugarland, featuring guest vocals from American singer-songwriter 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[edit]

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]

Composition[edit]

"Babe" is an acoustic, midtempo country ballad about breaking up.[19][20][21] According to Rolling Stone's Brittney McKenna, the "foot-stomping" song bears a resemblance to Swift's Speak Now era. Nettles handles the lead vocals while Swift contributes to the song's backing vocals, which can be heard echoing in the chorus and the bridge.[22][23] Lyrically, the song addresses a former lover.[24]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song debuted at No. 27 on Country Airplay dated April 28, 2018,[25] 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.[26][27] It has sold 166,000 copies in the United States as of November 2018.[28] Additionally the song peaked at number 94 in Canada and number 64 in Scotland.

Music video[edit]

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.[29] To date the video has over 30 million views on YouTube.

Synopsis[edit]

The video, directed by Anthony Mandler, features Brandon Routh, Jennifer Nettles and Taylor Swift in primary roles.[30][31] Routh and Nettles are a married couple while Swift plays the role of a secretary who is having an affair with her married boss (Routh).[32] Routh is shown to be an unfaithful husband throughout the clip and is, ultimately, discovered by Nettles. However, it is later revealed that both women were victims, with Nettles being cheated on and Swift being told by Routh that he loves her and has written love letters to her, but later abandons her, breaking both women's hearts. The video ends with Routh leaving Swift's house to find his front doors locked and his belongings thrown out on the lawn. Nettles, now alone and free, lies down to go to bed, ready to enjoy her new life, and Routh leaves, as Kristian Bush, playing their neighbor, witnesses the whole thing while walking his dog. [33] Swift's attire in the music video was compared to that of character Joan Holloway from the television series Mad Men.[34][35]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2018 Country Music Association Awards Video of the Year Nominated [36][37]
2019 Academy of Country Music Awards Nominated [38]
CMT Music Awards Duo Video of the Year Nominated [39]
Collaborative Video of the Year Nominated

Live performances[edit]

Sugarland performed the song for the first time on Live with Kelly and Ryan on May 8, 2018.[40] On June 6, 2018, they performed it on The Today Show live from Blake Shelton's bar, Ole Red.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[44]

  • Kristian Bush – producer, vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Jennifer Nettles – vocals, producer
  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter
  • Patrick Monahan – songwriter
  • Brandon Bush – producer, keyboard, mixing assistance
  • Julian Raymond – producer
  • Zoe Rosen – producer
  • Brianna Steinitz – producer
  • Adam Chignon – mix engineering
  • Ted Jensen – master engineer
  • Tom Tapley – engineer
  • Lars Fox – engineer
  • Nik Karpen – mixing assistance
  • Sean Badum – record engineering assistance
  • Kevin Kane – record engineering assistance
  • Paul Bushnell – bass
  • Victor Indrizzo – drums
  • Tom Bukovac – electric guitar
  • Chris Lord-Alge – mixing
  • Justin Schipper – steel guitar

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various April 20, 2018 Big Machine [44]
United States Country radio
[55]
Australia April 25, 2018 Contemporary hit radio [56]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Train's Pat Monahan on Writing with Taylor Swift: "Her Perspective Is Very Fresh"". ABC News Radio. October 15, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Stone, Chelsea (April 20, 2018). "Taylor Swift Wrote and Is Featured on Sugarland's Newest Song "Babe"". Teen Vogue. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  3. ^ Chiu, Melody (April 20, 2018). "Sugarland and Taylor Swift Release Breakup Song 'Babe' — Find Out the Story Behind the Track". People. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  4. ^ Watts, Cindy (April 20, 2018). "Taylor Swift, Sugarland team for country duet 'Babe'". USA Today. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Watts, Cindy (April 12, 2018). "Sugarland, Taylor Swift team for country duet 'Babe'". The Tennessean. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Stephens, Samantha (April 13, 2018). "Taylor Swift Lends Vocals on Sugarland's Bigger". CMT. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Snider, Chase (April 15, 2018). "Sugarland dropping new track with Taylor Swift next week". 10News. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Hudak, Joseph (April 12, 2018). "Sugarland Announce New Album 'Bigger,' Taylor Swift Collaboration". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  9. ^ White, Caitlin (April 20, 2018). "Hear Taylor Swift Sing On 'Babe,' Country Duo Sugarland's New Breakup Anthem That She Co-Wrote". Uproxx. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Schiller, Rebecca (April 15, 2018). "Sugarland Talks Taylor Swift Collaboration on ACM Awards Red Carpet: 'It's Fantastic'". Billboard. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  11. ^ Thompson, Gayle (April 16, 2018). "Sugarland Reveal How a Taylor Swift Song Landed on Their Upcoming 'Bigger' Album". PopCulture. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  12. ^ Tailor, Leena (April 15, 2018). "Sugarland Teases Lyric Details on New Song 'Babe' Written By Taylor Swift (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  13. ^ Mastrogiannis, Nicole (April 18, 2018). "Sugarland Opens Up About New Taylor Swift-Penned Song "Babe"". iHeartRadio. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  14. ^ Runtagh, Jordan (April 15, 2018). "Taylor Swift's Upcoming Sugarland Single 'Just Might Be' Inspired by a Previous Relationship". People. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  15. ^ Freeman, Jon (April 16, 2018). "Sugarland on Recording Taylor Swift Song: 'We Didn't Want to Mess It Up'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Calvario, Liz (April 20, 2018). "Taylor Swift Returns to Country Music With Sugarland Song 'Babe' — Listen". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  17. ^ Daramola, Israel (April 20, 2018). "Taylor Swift Is Featured on Sugarland's New Song "Babe"". Spin. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
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  19. ^ Rosa, Christopher (April 20, 2018). "Taylor Swift's Fans Are Living for Her New Country Song With Sugarland". Glamour. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  20. ^ Weatherby, Taylor (April 20, 2018). "Sugarland Teams Up With Taylor Swift For Acoustic Breakup Tune 'Babe'". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  21. ^ Variety Staff (April 20, 2018). "Sugarland Drop 'Babe,' New Single Featuring and Co-Written by Taylor Swift". Variety. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  22. ^ McKenna, Brittney (April 20, 2018). "Hear Sugarland's New Song 'Babe' With Taylor Swift". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  23. ^ Chiu, Melody (April 20, 2018). "Sugarland and Taylor Swift Release Breakup Song 'Babe' — Find Out the Story Behind the Track". People. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  24. ^ Whittaker, Alexandra (April 20, 2018). "Taylor Swift Returns to Country with a Breakup Song Alongside Sugarland". InStyle. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  25. ^ "Country Airplay". Billboard. April 28, 2018.
  26. ^ "Hot Country Songs". Billboard. May 5, 2018.
  27. ^ Bjorke, Matt (April 30, 2018). "Top 30 Digital Country Singles: April 30, 2018". Roughstock. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  28. ^ Bjorke, Matt (November 13, 2018). "Top 30 Digital Country Singles Chart: November 13, 2018". RoughStock. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  29. ^ "Sugarland's Steamy 'Babe' Video Treatment Was Taylor Swift's Idea: 'She Reached Out to Us'". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  30. ^ Honeycutt, Shanté (June 11, 2018). "Sugarland & Taylor Swift's Glamorous 'Babe' Video Depicts a Retro Love Triangle". Rolling Stone.
  31. ^ Gage, Jeff (June 6, 2018). "See Sugarland, Taylor Swift Tease 'Mad Men' Video for Collaboration 'Babe'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  32. ^ Staff, Variety (2018-06-11). "Taylor Swift Plays a Homewrecking Redhead in Sugarland's 'Mad Men'-Inspired 'Babe' Video". Variety. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  33. ^ "Watch Taylor Swift Wreck a Marriage in Sugarland's 'Babe' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  34. ^ Kiefer, Halle. "Taylor Swift Is Here to Ruin Your Life in Sugarland's 'Babe' Music Video". Vulture. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  35. ^ "Yes, Taylor Swift is giving us Mad Men vibes in Sugarland's "Babe" music video — but she's also serving serious Red vibes". HelloGiggles. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  36. ^ "CMA Awards announces 2018 hosts, will reveal nominees on August 28". The Tennessean.
  37. ^ "2018 CMA Awards nominations announced". The Tennessean.
  38. ^ "2019 ACM Awards nominations". Forbes.
  39. ^ https://twitter.com/TSwiftNZ/status/1125822395556683777. Retrieved May 12, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  40. ^ Hermanson, Wendy (May 8, 2018). "Watch Sugarland Perform 'Babe' on 'Kelly and Ryan'". Taste of Country. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  41. ^ "Watch Sugarland perform their new song 'Babe' live on Today". The Today Show. June 6, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  42. ^ Iasimone, Ashley. "All the Surprise Songs Taylor Swift Has Performed on Her Reputation Stadium Tour B-Stage (So Far)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  43. ^ Hudak, Joseph (7 October 2018). "See Sugarland, Taylor Swift's First Ever Live Performance of 'Babe'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  44. ^ a b "Babe / Sugarland TIDAL". Tidal. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  45. ^ "Sugarland Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
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  47. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. April 30, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  48. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  49. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
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  53. ^ "Country Airplay – Year-End 2018". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  54. ^ "Hot Country Songs – Year-End 2018". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  55. ^ Cantor, Brian (April 18, 2018). "Sugarland & Taylor Swift's New Single "Babe" Arrives At 6AM ET On April 20". Headline Planet. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  56. ^ "The Purge 324". auspOp. 2018-04-24. Retrieved April 28, 2018.

External links[edit]