Sunday, October 28, 2012

Taylor Swift's Red: A Review

Ready for another long post? Here's my review of Taylor Swift's new album "Red." I do have a request for you; if you find it helpful, would you give me a yes vote on Amazon? The link's here if you're able.
I wanted to start by listing my biases going into this album.
a. I was a little late to the Taylor Swift party, getting her first album for Christmas 2007 and falling super hard for "Love Story" the next year. Then I have continued to follow her career and her life. We're about the same age and I have a deep fondness for the girl.
b. When listening to music, I tend to prefer short, fast songs, which made Speak Now a bit of a trial since there were several songs over 5 minutes long.
c. I also tend to focus on lyrics rather than music or vocal performance. I'll be sharing some of my favorite lines below.
d. I LOVE pop music-Max Martin is a genius to me so I figured I would really enjoy those elements on this album
e. My top 5 most played Taylor songs (so far) are: "Love Story," "Sparks Fly," "You Belong With Me," "Ours," and "Our Song."

1. State of Grace: I'm not saying this is a full-on rock song but I have seen critics classify it as in the rock genre. Although there might be rock enthusiasts who will say it's not rock, I found it to be too much for my poppish sensibilities. So the album didn't open strong to it's soooo long.

2. Red: Much more to my taste; I love the idea of these colors punctuating the moments of their relationship although I wish there had been more than three colors mentioned (just red, blue, and dark gray). I also really love the repeating r-r-r-r-red and the way the music moves during the third chorus (I do not have the vocabulary to describe it properly).

3. Treacherous: Although this is a slower song, I actually really like this one. It seems a bit more adult for Taylor ("I'll do anything you say if you say it with your hands") and I really like the percussive elements.

4. I Knew You Were Trouble.: This was my favorite song of the five that were released early. It's fast, catchy, and I love the light dubstep influences.

5. All Too Well: A slow 5 min+ song sounds like one I'd hate but this one is another winner for me. All the details that paint a beautiful picture to my word-loving brain. It's so pretty and it also satisfies my gossipy side (this is totally about Jake, right? I mean, maple lattes!) I want to share a few lines too:
"You tell me about your past, thinking your future was me"
"And maybe we got lost in translation/Maybe I asked for too much/But maybe this thing was a masterpiece/Til you tore it all up"
"So casually cruel in the name of being honest"
"But you keep my old scarf from that very first week/Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me"

6. 22: I'm just about the same age as Taylor and am happy to dance to this song until we turn 23 and then I'll be bitter that she didn't release this earlier. The very beginning makes me think of Pink's "Raise Your Glass."

7. I Almost Do: This is another slower song and it's not that I don't like it but after "Treacherous" and "All Too Well," it doesn't stand out enough for me.

8. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together: I am of two minds about this song. On the one hand, it sounds very high school and no way do I ever want to go back to that time but on the other hand, it's so dang catchy and fun! I easily memorized all the lyrics and love to dance to it.

9. Stay Stay Stay: This reminds me of "Ours" except a bit more upbeat so it's no surprise that I loved this one especially due to the image of the boy in the football helmet.

10. The Last Time: A duet with Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol, a band I'm not familiar with (they don't sing pop do they?) It's a great song and very pretty. I feel that it fits well in Swift's oeuvre.

11. Holy Ground: I don't have much to say about this song; I don't hate it but it's not a standout to me. It is quite catchy as I realized I was singing it to myself during my lunch break.

12. Sad Beautiful Tragic: My least favorite offering on this CD-it's long, slow, and reminds me of my least favorite parts of the album Speak Now. I do really like the line "And you've got your demons and darling they all look like me."

13. The Lucky One: Another song that left me cold. Perhaps better for Joni Mitchell fans? I also bristle at Taylor telling her she's the lucky one; I think she knows!

14. Everything Has Changed: I'm going to steal from my sister since she doesn't follow my online activity: "It is too perfect." I checked out Ed Sheeran's music after hearing that Taylor had tweeted about writing with him and I liked it a lot. If you're a fan of him, you'll probably like this song.

15. Starlight: The lyric message on this song is "For Ethel" which immediately brings to mind the Kennedys and Taylor's whole thing with that kid, which is just so weird. If I were always able to separate her life from her music, I would love this song because it's so danceable.

16. Begin Again: I like the hopefulness but something about the line "And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid" doesn't work for me. The rest of the song is great though.

 After "Ours," "If This Was a Moment," and "Superman" were hits for me, I had to make sure to get the deluxe version again hoping for three more winners (I'm ignoring the two demos and acoustic version). This time though, well, two out of three ain't bad.

17. The Moment I Knew: This is one of my fave slow songs from Taylor ever. It actually reminds me of the OC New Year's Eve episode-does anyone remember that show? Of course, there Ryan does show up to kiss Marissa while here the guy never shows leaving Taylor to cry in a beautiful song for us even if it's emotionally draining to her.

18. Come Back...Be Here: It would be too personal to share the main reason I love this song but love it I do. I love everything but especially the music and lyric at "New here/But you're in...London/And I break down,/Cause it's not fair that you're not around." This occurs about a minute from the end and I keep repeating it over and over again.

19. Girl At Home: Although ostensibly against cheating, this line gave me pause: "And yeah I might go with it,/If I hadn't once been just like her." It sounds like she's only anti-cheating because she's been cheated on-that is not good girl code. But even though this song is short and catchy, it's really repetitive and I find it a bit boring.

Cover: One last thing to mention-I saw another reviewer pan the cover and I kind of agree. Fearless and Speak Now were gorgeous covers but this one is very meh to me.

If you made it to the end, thanks for reading! Did you get this album? What songs do you like? 



  1. Really need to check out her new album!! I've only heard one song so far (Never getting back together) and have mixed feelings about it. Sounds like the rest of the album is good :D Great review!!

    Rabiah @ Confessions of a Readaholic

  2. Fun post! I like it when people incorporate music into their blogs :)

  3. I didn't get the album but I'm in the process of listening to the songs on youtube and buying the ones I like on youtube. So far I really like We are never getting back together and begin again. Haven't heard most of the others yet.

  4. I'm a huge fan of Taylor's as well! She's one of the only singers whose CDs I run out and buy once they're released. Anyhow, I'm really loving this one! I know a lot of people are against the mix of different genres, but I really like the mash up of pop, rock,country, etc. It gives it a unique sound. I like a lot of the same songs you do, but I LOVE Sad Beautiful Tragic. There's just something I find so magical about it. Also, you need to check out Snow Patrol! They are an incredible band!

    1. I love the many different genres too-it makes me think of YA and so many books are mashing up different genres to create something new and awesome!

  5. I totally love Taylor Swift! There are very few songs of hers that I don't like, although I think there is a slightly higher proportion of songs on this album that I tend to skip over. My favorite song on this album is the acoustic version of State of Grace, but I also love Red, All Too Well, I Almost Do, and Everything Has Changed. This post makes me want to listen to the album now!

  6. I'm a total T Swift fan, so I had to buy this album as soon as it came out. You and I come from totally different perspectives (I'm a rock girl at heart), but I agree with you that this was a good album...but maybe not her best. I think "Fearless" is still my favorite, although I also like the gossipy stuff so "Speak Now" was perfect for that. I think my favorite songs are "Red," "22," and "Holy Ground." But I also really like "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

    If you've never heard of Snow Patrol, you should check them out! They're more alternative rock, but there are probably some songs you would like of theirs. Try "Chasing Cars," "Just Say Yes," and "Chocolate." Those are all more pop-ish. :)

    1. I think Fearless is still my favorite album as well; the only song I don't like on there (including the bonus tracks) is "Fifteen." I adore every other song. Still I love the vast majority of her music because Red inspired me to listen to every song I have of hers.

  7. hi! Thanks for commenting on my Red post, so I came and found yours! You certainly are doing a lot of giveaway at this time too. Just noticing that. We do have somewhat similar tastes on the album. My two favorites were definitely The Last Time and Starlight. But I really loved Come Back Be Here, All too Well, and I Almost Do a lot too. I'm going to ask my parents to get me the album for Christmas:)


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