Editor’s Pick: “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Taylor Swift re-releases “Taylor’s Version” of iconic “Red” album. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Taylor Swift re-releases “Taylor’s Version” of iconic “Red” album. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Isabel Danzis, Assistant Culture Editor

This week was made special by the release of “Red (Taylor’s Version).” The re-release of “Red” marks the second album that Taylor Swift has re-recorded in order to officially own her own music. The release of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was embellished with music videos, never-released before songs, new merchandise and, of course, a highly anticipated ten-minute version of the incredibly popular song, “All Too Well.” 

The album has all the hits that made it blow up when it was first released, but now Swift’s voice sounds deeper and more mature. This subtle change from the first album gives “Red (Taylor’s Version)” a slight edge. In fact, even though almost all the songs remain unchanged, they still all seem different from their original versions. 

“Red” as a whole is an interesting fusion of genres. While some songs like, “Stay, Stay, Stay” are high-paced pop songs, others like “Ronan” are heartbreaking. Within “Red,” every song  seems like it can belong in a distinct era or album in Swift’s discography. Songs like “I Almost Do” and “Begin Again” feel like they could belong in her 2008 album, “Fearless.” “Starlight,” a popular track in “Red,” represents a slight fusion between the country vibes of “Fearless” and the upbeat, pop sound of Swift’s 2014 album “1989.” On the other hand, songs like “Sad Beautiful Tragic” sound very similar to songs that can be found in Swift’s most recent albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” which are slower-paced and calmer. 

Even the new “From The Vault” songs follow this genre fluctuating pattern. “Babe,” a new song, is happy and seems similar to the “1989” song, “Clean.” “Message in a Bottle” is very upbeat and optimistic, mimicking many of the themes seen in Swift’s 2019 album, “Lover.” However, the song “Nothing New,” a collaboration between Swift and Phoebe Bridgers, could easily fall into “Folklore.”

The non-genre conforming nature of “Red” also marks a transition in Swift’s career. After “Red,” Swift came out with her first entire pop album. Since then, Swift has not returned to country, the genre that gained her fame in the first place. Additionally, the album came out when Swift was about 22 years old. Even though she was already extremely successful by that point, this album still can be considered one of the first albums that she put out as an adult in the music industry.

To Swift’s credit, she has been able to maintain an extremely solid and loyal fanbase. The release of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was highly anticipated and successful. Swift was the recent musical guest on Saturday Night Live and performed the ten-minute version of “All Too Well.” Additionally, Spotify experienced a slight crash and delays on the night the album dropped. 

To me, and I think many others, this release was important and sentimental. “Red” came out for the first time in October of 2012. I was in 4th grade and listening to “Red” with my mom and my sister, pretending to relate to the lyrics about heartbreak. I remember listening to the album over Thanksgiving with my cousins and all of us trying to memorize every single lyric. I remember my best friend buying a CD of “Red” and listening on a janky CD player in her room because neither of us had phones or iPods yet. While it is dramatic, when I listen to “Red (Taylor’s Version),” it’s those memories that I think of. For many people, it’s the same way. Even though it is fun to hear the new songs, watch the new videos and purchase the new merchandise, “Red (Taylor’s Version)”  is extremely nostalgic, which explains its popularity. Re-recording music is a financial move, it seems as if fans of the album do not care. They even embrace the statement Swift is making. 

If you haven’t listened to “Red (Taylor’s Version),” I would recommend giving it a go. It’s a fun, dynamic album that has songs for everyone. Whatever genre of music you’re looking for, it’s likely that there’s at least one song in “Red (Taylor’s Version)” that will fall into that category. And, even if you didn’t grow up listening to it, I think everyone can appreciate the cathartic feeling of screaming “All Too Well” at the top of their lungs.