Red (Taylor's Version) Review

Taylor Swift released her second installment of re-recordings, “Red (Taylor’s Version),” on Friday, Nov. 12, which features 30 songs including nine unreleased songs from the original album, or otherwise referred to as “From The Vault.” The highly anticipated album is heart-wrenching, disconsolate, and curiously comforting. 

Swift is re-recording her albums because her original master recordings were sold without her permission by talent manager, Scooter Braun, in 2019. Swift has expressed interest in owning her entire discography, and re-recording her old albums gives her the opportunity to do so.

Fans’ most anticipated part of their most loved Taylor Swift album was the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” which did not disappoint. Accompanied by a 15-minute short film, Swift relives the heartbreak from a past relationship. With new verses, a proper outro, explicit language and a moviesque sound, the rendition of the beloved song makes me want to relive my high school heartbreaks and scream (in the best way possible).

With the addition of the 10-minute version of Swift’s most beloved song, every album lyric is interconnected, offering an unparalleled listening experience for the fans who know every single line of “Red (Taylor’s Version).”

Compared to its 2012 counterpart, the album’s crisp audio and vocals make the listening experience much better. 

The maturity of Swift’s voice makes the original singles, “Red” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “22,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “Begin Again,” stronger than ever. The emotion Swift inserts into the songs adds more depth and vigor to the songs, making them better than the originals. “Sad Beautiful Tragic” stands out for its new backup vocals and instrumentals, making it one of the best sounding tracks on the album.

Although “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is a self-proclaimed heartbreak album, Swift intersperses the album with a few notable, fun songs. Unlike the original version, “Girl At Home” seems to finally be finished as it shifts from a sad ballad to a catchy up-tempo dance anthem. “Message in a Bottle” reminds me of Swift’s fifth studio album, “1989,” with its electro-pop acoustics and romantic lyrics about being in love again after having your heart broken time and time again.

Swift includes two well-known songs originally performed by other big-name music artists including “Better Man” and “Babe,” both of which Swift wrote in the early 2010s, among her “From The Vault” songs. Both songs belong in the album, and after hearing Swift’s soft yet assertive vocals, I am relieved they are finally in Swift’s discography. 

Swift digresses back to her southern twang with “I Bet You Think About Me” featuring country singer-songwriter, Chris Stapleton. The song is a snarky reminder to Swift’s antagonists of her timeless success in the music industry.

My expectations for this album were somewhat low, which hurts me to admit. I was disappointed with her first re-recording, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” because of its lack of diverse sound and feared a similar situation with “Red (Taylor’s Version).” To my surprise and utter delight, Swift’s second re-recording is as refreshing as it is a poignant display of Swift’s songcraft. 

The album takes you through the grief and sorrow of an ending relationship but reminds you of the good times you two certainly shared. This album gives hope to those who are heartbroken, but Swift reassures listeners that they will be okay. She is, undoubtedly, a lyrical genius. 

I give “Red (Taylor’s Version)” a 10/10 with my only complaint being the massive use of parentheses. Swift is well on her way to earn a Grammy nomination for the two-hour and 11-minute heart-wrenching album. Time will certainly take its sweet time erasing the aftermath this album has had on all fans, including myself.

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