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Navy Band’s sea-shanty version of a Taylor Swift hit receives mixed reviews online

Members of the U.S. Navy Band perform a sea-shanty version of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" in this screenshot from a video posted to Twitter, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

Members of the U.S. Navy Band perform a sea-shanty version of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" in this screenshot from a video posted to Twitter, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (U.S. Navy)

The U.S. Navy Band jumped into the sea-shanty craze Monday by releasing a whaling version of a Taylor Swift pop song – an interpretation quickly met by mixed reviews online.

In a roughly two-minute video posted to the band's social media accounts, five uniformed sailors sing “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” accompanied by only a single drum and violin. It was approaching 30,000 views on Twitter on Monday evening.

The song was a hit for Swift in 2012, and in it she recollects with regret her lapses in judgment in returning to a relationship she knows has no chance of working.

In earnest, five-part harmony, the Navy Band members croon lyrics such as, “I'm really gonna miss you picking fights and me falling for it, screaming that I’m right.”

The sea shanty is a song style first popular among sailors during the pre-steam era of whaling. In recent weeks, sea shanties have become all the rage on the video-sharing network TikTok.

The judgment of some Twitter users on the merits of the Navy Band’s foray into Swiftian sea shanties was harsh.

“There will be plenty of time for work songs in Leavenworth when you’re all brought to justice for making this,” said one commenter.

Another said simply, “superbly awful.”

Others loved it.

“I _loathe_ sea shanties but I'm glad the United States Navy is dragging this genre into the 21st Century!” wrote a commenter with the Twitter handle @billgau. “This is the kind of dirge I can get behind!”

Another of the song’s defenders wrote, “Don’t listen to the haters. This was superb.”

Taking note of the “strong opinions” generated by the song, Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, the Navy’s chief of information, on Monday weighed in with his own assessment of the band’s effort.

“While this shanty parody may not be your jam, I'm thankful for the talent, creativity & sense of humor of our @usnavyband,” he wrote.

He posted a link to the band’s recordings of more traditional shanties for “those who take their sea shanties more seriously.”

[email protected] Twitter: @WyattWOlson

Wyatt Olson


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US Navy Band's Sea Shanty Twist to this Taylor Swift Number is a Huge Hit Online

If you thought only Taylor Swift could master the art of adding fun to break-up songs, then wait till you hear US Navy band’s creative rendition of one of her hits. Earlier this week, the United States Navy band posted a video on Twitter that showed their soldiers performing a sea shanty version of Swift’s We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.

The clip shows a team of singers and musical instrument players from the US Navy band dressed in their uniforms as they present an all-new version of the American singer’s famous 2012 song. Sharing the video, they say that they have always been interested in this kind of music, even before it became “cool”. The US Navy’s Chief of Information Rear Adm. Charlie Brown also reacted to the video as he praised the band’s creativity and humour.

The two-minute eighteen seconds video has been viewed over 77.9k times on the micro blogging site and has been liked by more than 2.2k users who are quite impressed with the performance. Watch the rendition here:

One of the users commented that this might be the best thing the navy band has ever done and further said that they should cover more popular songs.

While another user said that the video was fun and amazing and also mentioned that it would be great if Swift saw it too.

Another Twitter user wrote that as a long time Swift fan and someone who has listened to way too many sea shanties lately, they “absolutely love” the latest rendition.

The Soon May the Wellerman Come sea shanty became one of the first trending TikTok videos of 2021 as multiple influencers from the social media platform collaborated to recreate the magical folk song. The tradition of sea shanty emerged when sailors were indulged in some work on the ship. Singing together gave a sense of togetherness at harsh waters when sailors were far away from home. The lyrics of Soon May the Wellerman Come is about whalers waiting for a resupply ship that would bring sugar, tea, and rum in the mid nineteenth century.

The TikTok trend was started by a Scottish user Nathan Evans who was a struggling musician and worked as a postman to earn his living. Nathan sung the viral song, a cappella version of Wellerman, and now has a three-album record deal, according to the Rolling Stones.

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Watch the U.S. Navy Band Perform a “Sea Shanty Parody” of a Popular Taylor Swift Song

In case you haven't heard, sea shanties are having a bit of a moment. The traditional folk songs have captivated mainstream audiences for the first time in generations thanks to TikTok, a Scottish postal worker named Nathan Evans, and now, the United States Navy Band.

The craze started when Evans shared his rendition of an old whaling song, "Soon May the Wellerman Come," to the video-sharing app in late December. Other people soon joined in, adding vocals and instruments to the track with TikTok's duet feature. Since then, videos with the #seashanty hashtag have racked up more than three billion views, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Last week, the shanty experts in the United States Navy Band joined in on the fun by putting a nautical twist on a 2012 Taylor Swift hit, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

The band shared a music video for the song on Twitter adding, "we were very much into this music before it was cool."

The singers perform the modern lyrics in traditional sea shanty fashion, even managing to slip in a line from another Swift hit: "I Knew You Were Trouble."

"And I knew you were trouble when you walked in," one sailor exclaims in a pirate voice. "Awwk. Trouble!" another sailor squawks while flapping his arms.

US Navy Band Taylor Swift Shanty
Credit: United States Navy Band

Musician 1st Class Chris Buchanan, staff arranger for the United States Navy Band and the man who wrote the Swift parody, told Southern Living that he doesn't think the sea shanty phenomenon came out of nowhere.

"I think that elements of the Sea Shanty are resonating with people today for reasons that transcend the aesthetic of the music," explained Buchanan. "The Sea Shanty was a work that involved communal effort—a piece of music that facilitated the physical realization of a task."

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"As we close in on 11 months of various stages of isolation, from social distancing to strict lockdowns, it's obvious that that sort of communal gathering and effort has a certain appeal," he continued. "We yearn to be together, so much so that people are willing to sing centuries-old whaling songs on TikTok to find that sense of community."

For those who take their sea shanties a little more seriously, you can find the United States Navy Band's more-traditional shanties on YouTube.

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