Review: ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ paints masterpiece of emotions

Photo courtesy of Spotify

By Katelyn Patterson | Reporter

Taylor Swift’s album, “Red (Taylor’s Version),” was released Friday as part of her project to rerecord her old albums. When “Red” was originally released in 2012, it received little to no acclaim, especially compared to her other works.

“Red” was where Swift “proved herself not to be just the supreme pop songwriter of her generation, but one of the all-timers,” Rolling Stone said. “‘Red’ wasn’t her first masterwork, but it’s the one that established the Swiftian universe as a place where every lost scarf is a ticking time bomb that can take years to explode into a classic song.”

The original 16-track album now contains 30 songs — including a 10-minute long version of “All Too Well” that has taken the internet by storm — and runs for nearly two and a half hours in its entirety.

“Red” is the second album to be redone, after “Fearless” in April. This could be seen as a risky, even detrimental move considering she has essentially halted the climb to her highest peak after dropping two of her biggest albums in 2020.

Swift’s adult voice adds new power to the rerecorded songs. Songs like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “22” and “Stay Stay Stay” are the true pop style Swift used as her transition away from being a strictly country artist in 2012.

“There was speculation Swift wanted ‘Red’ to be way more pop than it was, but she was directed by her former record company, Big Machine, to stick to hold on to her country music roots,” New Zealand Herald said. “With full creative license all these years later, Swift’s changes speak volumes about what the album means to her.”

In addition to the original songs, Swift added songs “From the Vault,” meaning songs that didn’t make the cut for the first album have now been released. “Nothing New” with Phoebe Bridgers, a song about growing up, questions, “How can a person know everything at 18 and nothing at 22?” Other vault songs include “Babe” and “Better Man,” which Swift originally gave to other artists (Sugarland and Little Big Town, respectively).

Arguably, the most anticipated song on the entire album was the 10-minute long version of “All Too Well.” This is speculated to be the rough draft before she cut it down for the original album. With lyrics like, “He’s gonna say it’s love, you never called it what it was,” and “I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight, and did the twin flame bruise paint you blue? Just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?” Swift turns her best song into something even greater.

“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is filled with nostalgia for Swift herself and for those who grew up with her and her music. In “State of Grace,” she sings, “… this is the golden age of something good and right and real.” That is exactly what this album is for her.