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

By WYATT OLSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 25, 2021

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.”

Twitter: @WyattWOlson

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.