Red (Taylor’s Version)
Republic · November 12, 2021
On her journey of reclaiming her music as truly hers, Taylor Swift has dominated many different charts with Red (Taylor’s Version). After having her music sold and therefore losing the masters of her first six albums, Swift began re-recording them, starting with Fearless and most recently releasing the re-recording of Red on November 12. From re-recordings to acoustic versions to new releases, fans have loved everything about Red (Taylor’s Version), and when listening, it becomes clear why.
The originally released version of Swift’s Red showcased her strong vocals, catchy melodies, and brilliant lyricism. These re-recordings brought attention back to how much of a lyrical genius Swift is, as well as how much her voice has grown and improved. Not only that, but knowing these songs are now hers again has brought many listeners a great deal of satisfaction and appreciation for the album.
Swift has proved how much she has matured vocally since the initial release of Red in 2012, as well as proved she can make music for almost any genre. Red (Taylor’s Version) includes a mix of genres such as pop, country, and even a bit of alternative. “Message In A Bottle” is a prime example of Swift’s clearly heavily pop-influenced music, while “I Bet You Think About Me,” featuring Chris Stapleton, is a song that goes back to Swift’s country roots. In a (successful) effort to incorporate bits of alternative music into Red (Taylor’s Version), Phoebe Bridgers features on Swift’s “Nothing New.” Swift’s album spans many genres, each switching from song to song, making it even more interesting and exciting to listen to.
The most highly anticipated part of Swift’s release of Red (Taylor’s Version) were the “from the vault” songs. These songs encapsulated many different emotions that were not previously felt on Red. The first from the vault song was “Ronan,” a heart-breaking ballad about the death of a child named Ronan. Swift had found the blog that Ronan’s mother, Maya Thompson, had created to share the progression of Ronan’s medical journey. Throughout the song, Swift sings about the memories Maya had of Ronan and the love she felt for him. Swift successfully transforms Maya’s grief into a powerful song about love and loss, one that felt very personal and emotional.
Following “Ronan” is “Better Man,” a country-esque song about Swift wishing her ex-lover would have been a better person. Throughout the song, it becomes evident that Swift knows she is better off without this person, but longs for them and believes that things could’ve worked had her lover been a better person. While the song has feelings of country, even people who don’t enjoy country would enjoy this song. Swift then followed up with “Nothing New,” featuring Phoebe Bridgers. Bridgers’ vocals fit perfectly with Swift’s, giving the song a beautiful sound both vocally and instrumentally. Not only does the song sound beautiful, but the lyrics are also brilliant. Swift and Bridgers sing about the hardships of growing up as girls, explaining how people expect things of them, even though they get criticized for doing them, perfectly describing how many young adults feel. This song was by far one of the most enjoyable “from the vault” songs.
Going back to the pop aspect of the album, Swift uses typical pop instrumentals while singing about betrayal on the track “Babe.” The contrast between depressing lyrics and upbeat music makes “Babe” a very interesting listen. Swift keeps the same kind of pop beat with “Message In A Bottle,” an upbeat song in which Swift sings about the possibilities of falling in love while simultaneously being afraid to make the first move. While the lyrics are pretty good and the song is upbeat and catchy, it feels more like a typical pop song than an original by Taylor Swift. However, Swift follows up with “I Bet You Think About Me,” featuring Chris Stapleton, which resembles the unique sound she had created with folklore. “I Bet You Think About Me” describes the feeling of not fitting in with a lover’s lifestyle and how, even though she didn’t fit in, the lover won’t forget her. The catchy tune and harsh lyrics of this song definitely make it unforgettable.
Swift further ventures into themes beyond just love and heartbreak with “Forever Winter,” a devastatingly beautiful song about a lover struggling with depression. This song is undoubtedly the most moving one of Swift’s “from the vault” songs. She then sings about running away with a lover on “Run,” which features Ed Sheeran. This is a soft sounding song that brings peace and serenity. Instead of sticking with the soft sound, Swift switches to another upbeat pop song with “The Very First Night.” This is a good listen with a catchy melody and great instrumentals.
To end the album, Swift finishes with the extremely anticipated “All Too Well (10 minute version).” This song demonstrates the heartbreak Swift felt after her short-lived relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who was 9 years her senior. This extended version has a more acoustic sound, where the beautiful instrumentals mix perfectly with the emotional lyrics, allowing listeners to really feel Swift’s pain. Overall, it absolutely lives up the hype that fans had put around it.
People have been looking forward to Red (Taylor’s Version) since she announced its release date back in May, and it is understandable why. Touching on various themes, from love and heartbreak to grief and loss as well as depression, Swift has yet again created an album that many can find enjoyable and relatable. The amazing instrumentals and brilliant lyrics as well as the vocal maturity in the re-recordings that Swift has delivered proves to everyone why so many people were so excited for this album, and absolutely makes it worth a listen for anyone who loves to listen to various genres.