Taylor Swift Begins Again with Red (Taylor’s Version)
By Gio Battaglia / Assistant Music Director
Just when you think Taylor Swift can’t outdo herself, she does.
On Friday, Swift released the full 30 songs that were originally intended for her 2012 album, Red, as part of her quest to re-record all her albums recorded under Big Machine Records, for complete ownership of her masters.
Swift shows a more mature sound on multiple tracks throughout the album. Red (Taylor’s Version) is a genre rollercoaster, but it is no challenge for Swift to shine on every track.
Both original and new collaborators, such as Ed Sheeran, Chris Stappleton and Phoebe Bridgers compliment Swift’s voice through the whole of the album.
The most anticipated track, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” did not disappoint. Don’t be intimidated by the time length, you’ll wish it was longer by the time it is over. Swift takes her most critically acclaimed song and adds meaningful verses and bridges that do not just fill time, they only add to the story. It makes the song come in full bloom, and the adult lyrics Swift incorporates add to the nostalgia feeling that these re-recordings bring. Accompanied with a short film starring Swift, Sadie Sink and Dylan O'Brien it is a story that comes to life with every line.
Swift incorporates songs she wrote for other artists during this time, and delivers her own version of them, such as “Better Man (Taylor’s Version,) originally performed by Little Big Town. Swift’s version was in high demand after she performed it at Bluebird Café back in 2018 and is one of the underdogs on the album. Her country roots mixed with her present alternative voice blend perfectly in this song.
The vault tracks add a layer of excitement instead of just a straight re-recording and make the Swifties question how they did not make the cut in the first place. “Nothing New (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault) [feat. Phoebe Bridgers]” is such an emotional song, that captures two different points of view, from someone with so much experience such as Swift, and someone just starting out, such as Bridgers. While it is a tear-jerker, it is a song that needs to be appreciated. A job well done on both artists parts.
The classics do not go unnoticed, the same level of thrill is present in songs like “22,” which has become a staple for the young generation to quote on their birthday, brings the same sentiment that it did back in 2012. Other singles such as “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” sound like they were recorded for the first time, and so fresh.
Overall, if you like the original version of Red, you will not have a problem switching over to the re-recorded version. If anything, you will leave with a new appreciation for the music and lyrics that Swift incorporates. To be fair – she has never done anything coincidentally, she knows what she is doing, and it shows in this album. Her journey of re-recording her albums to show that artists should own their work is a journey like no other.