As a single man, few things get me excited for possible existential heartbreak. But one of those things is Taylor Swift’s new album “Red (Taylor’s Version).”
I am a complete sucker for 2010s pop: Taylor Swift, Adele, and Katy Perry. You name it, I listened to it. For this reason, I keep my pop mix tape under lock and key.
Swift recaptures the magic of her 2012 masterpiece in “Red (Taylor’s Version,)” her second remastered work, which mixes country, pop, rock, and raw emotion into an expansive 30-track album.
Swift enhanced the album with new instrumentation and eight new tracks labeled as “From the Vault:” songs that she wrote in 2012, but never released with the final cut. These new songs demonstrate Swift’s broad mastery of different genres and her wide-ranging vocals. From country-pop to electronic dance, Swift pushes the boundary of her musical prowess.
Swift’s 10-minute version of “All Too Well” brings the heart-wrenching frustration during a breakup to the forefront in a slight against her ex-boyfriend. Swift captures feelings of rage and melancholy, combining them with a resolve to leave a toxic relationship behind, tying the solemn ballad together. The thudding bass pushes the song to its dramatic climax as Swift reflects on a broken relationship’s good and bad memories.
Last Friday, on the day of the album release, Swift also released a 10-minute short film that she directed. The video received 30 million views on YouTube.
Like many people critical of Swift, I expected Swift’s new album to be a cash grab after the drama surrounding her battle for the original rights of “Red” prompted the album’s recreation. However, Swift brings candid transparency to her music by singing on the difficulties in relationships and emotions that come with them.
Even her re-releases of the classic tracks “Red,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “22” include new instrumentation and a level of care for her music that goes above and beyond. These tracks reverberated with nostalgic harmonies, yet the slight differences added to the overall enjoyment of these tracks.
Swift’s performance is transformative throughout the album, illustrating her change from young adulthood into mature adulthood with her improved vocal range. Her new song called “Nothing New” exemplifies this transformation. In a duet with Phoebe Bridgers, Swift sings about her insecurities around aging and growing old demonstrated by the song’s Lo-Fi distortions, which are audible imperfections in the song’s production.
Swift shows growth as a musician, building on her foundation with an appreciation of her country roots. The original release of “Red” is Swift’s entrance into pop. She builds on her country foundation by incorporating banjo and harmonica in “I Bet You Think About Me,” where Swift contrasts her country background to her ex-lover’s “high-end” lifestyle.
Swift’s new album is a transformative experience that does justice to her classic pieces in their remastered format and shows a level of personal growth in her eight new expansive “From the Vault” tracks. The new album is a rewarding listen which delivers on style, instrumentals, and vocals. Now that I’ve learned every way to break a girl’s heart, I guess I’m back to trying to find a date.