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Review of Red (Taylor's Version)

If there’s one thing that everyone has learned by now is that Taylor Swift does not come to play. The 31 year old artist has released 9 studio albums, 2 re-recorded studio albums, 5 EP’s, 3 live albums and 14 compilations during her career. All of these works have been followed by immense success, and nowadays, it’s hard to find a person that is unfamiliar with the name “Taylor Swift”. Some know her for the infamous songs about ex-boyfriends, and a large amount simply enjoy her music. But one thing is certain, when her name is spoken, ears perk up.

Taylor Swift recently decided that she would be re-recording her first albums since the rights to them had been sold off many times without her permission. The man who her music was sold to is American executive Scooter Braun, who manages stars such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato. Scooter Braun has recouped the $300 million he spent on Big Machine Label Group by selling the rights to Taylor Swift's first six albums to an investment group in just over a year and a half. This meant that Taylor no longer earned money when people listen to music that she wrote; she was also not given the oportunity to buy her own music, which was naturaly an issue seeing as the singer puts immense effort into all her works. In order to fix this issue, Taylor decided that it would be best to record these albums once more; this way, her fans can still listen to her music and she can still own her creations.

On November 12th, 2021, Taylor Swift released the re-recording of her infamous album “Red.” When it was initially released in 2012, “Red” amounted to a total of 5.2 million copies sold globally, making it the second best-selling album of 2012, second only to Adele’s “21,” which also received worldwide success. When the album “Red” was initially released, Taylor was twenty-two years old, and she was going through many changes regarding her personal life and career; it's clear that this gave her immense inspiration.

Fans were eager to get a taste of the newly recorded version of the album, which included all the beloved songs from before, such as “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” “Red,” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” To everyone's delight, the album also included songs that had never before been released. The album has a total of 30 tracks, 19 of which are from the original album. The other songs include an instrumental version of "State of Grace," an extended version of "All Too Well," the stand-alone charity song "Ronan," and eight previously unreleased tracks.

The song that was by far the most awaited was the extended version of “All Too Well” which is a total of 10 minutes. Taylor had released the original version of “All Too Well” when the album first came out, however she had cut down the 10 minutes of the song and compacted it into 5 minutes; meaning that half of the song was out of the public until now.

Along with the song, Taylor decided to bless her fans with a short film that complimented it. The film was an immense success, as it follows the love story that Swift tells in the moving song. The two main characters are played by Stranger Things actress Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, who has been in numerous works such as Teen Wolf and Maze Runner.

Following the story told in the song, the movie, which was directed by Taylor Swift herself, depicts a relationship between a young girl and a man that is substantially older than her. As expected, this relationship does not end well, as the couple fight and ultimately part ways. This leaves the girl (Sadie Sink) feeling completely heartbroken and picking up the pieces of herself.

Just as most relationships, the story that Taylor tells starts beautifully. Her lyrics perfectly capture the storyline, and most people who have been in a relationship that ended badly can relate to the pain of her lyrics. The story is able to perfectly capture the trajectory of a relationship. From the start, to the first crack in the glass, to the breaking point, and finally, the reeling and the recovery.

Whoever listens to this song is able to experience the relationship in full. The short film shows amazingly filmed scenes that include upstate escapes, dancing in the kitchen, arguments and an infamous red scarf that serves as a memento of the ill-fated relationship.

Fans speculate that like most of her songs, All Too Well is actually a dig at one of Taylor's ex-boyfriends. In this case, the ex it seems she is referring to is Jake Gyllenhall, who she dated for three months in 2012, two years before the release of “Red.”

The relationship between Swift and Gyllenhall was incredibly controversial from the get go - especially considering the fact that Taylor was merely 20 years old, whereas Jake Gyllenhall was 29, this begged the question: was this relationship inappropriate?

Once more referring to the song “All Too Well,” Taylor writes many lyrics that cause fans to reflect on the relationship that is said to have inspired the album. Among the lyrics, Taylor writes “I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age” - ouch! She also asks the simple question “just between us, did the love affair maim you all too well?” Once more, showing just how impacted she was by their romance, all the while she felt as though she was the one that hurt the most.

Her moving lyrics are able to touch everyone that listens to this song. On top of that, the incredible directing and acting that takes part in the “All Too Well” short film only adds to the impact that this song has. It’s clear that Taylor writes vulnerably and openly about a relationship that hurt her deeply.

Taking the focus away from the song “All Too Well” there are other works that were introduced in this stellar 30 track album. Among these, is the song and music video “I Bet You Think About Me.” Similarly from “All Too Well,” the song “I Bet You Think About Me” features an amazing music video, this particular video was directed by none other than Blake Lively.

The music video stars Taylor Swift and actor Miles Teller, who plays Taylor Swift's ex-boyfriend. As the song progresses, Swift sings about the failed relationship between her and Teller’s character, all the while she is at his wedding, which surely makes for good entertainment.

Blake Lively is able to bring the song to life with her astounding directing. Throughout the music video, there are many homages paid to the name of the album Red. The entire music video features the color red, from the gown that Swift wears to the wedding cake that she destroys, the bright color is everywhere.

Of course, “All Too Well” and “I Bet You Think About Me” are not the only works that deserve to be mentioned. But if I were to talk about every single one of the songs, it would take weeks - especially if one considers that Taylor Swift is an absolute lyrical genius, and her songs are filled with lyrics that can be interpreted in a multitude of t ways. Another song worth mentioning is “Nothing New - From The Vault,” this song is among the others that had been previously unreleased with the original, 2012 version of Red. “Nothing New” features indie rock singer Phoebe Bridgers, which fans were certainly excited about.

“Nothing New” talks of the feelings that Taylor Swift has in terms of getting older (in this case, it is similar to the other song “The Lucky One,” which is one of the original songs from Red). She writes about how “people love an ingénue” and she also begs the question of “how can a person know everything at 18, but nothing at 22?” It is crucial to mention the importance that a Taylors 20’s has on the entire album, as she frequently makes comments about the ages of twenty-one and twenty-two (there is even a song of the album which is named “22.”)

Overall, the album “Red” is a classic and an essential to anyone that calls themselves “Swiftie” - if you haven't listened to at least one of the songs on this album, I simply do not trust you and urge you to drop everything and listen to this masterpiece. The album offers a variety of 30 songs, and one of them is bound to connect with you. Taylor Swift writes with incredible honesty and her lyrics are created in a way that motivates people to keep listening. It's no surprise that most people are completely obsessed with the singer and her amazing lyrics. Whether you call yourself a “Swiftie” or you simply enjoy good music, this is one album that is definitely worth your time.


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