Album Spotlight: Red (Taylor’s Version)
The highly anticipated re-recording of Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album, Red (originally released in 2012,) finally dropped, along with a pretty extensive media tour promoting her new re-recordings. Appearing on shows such as Late Night with Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live (where she performed the new 10-minute version of her classic deep cut “All Too Well,”) Swift is giving her fans (AKA “Swifties,”) everything they want.
Red (Taylor’s Version) is the second re-recorded album that Swift has released in 2021, with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) being released in April 2021. However, these are not merely re-recorded albums with the original tracks. Swift had another trick up her sleeve, adding a slew of previously unreleased tracks from each era onto the re-recorded versions of her albums. One of these previously unreleased tracks was the infamous 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” a song that Swifties have claimed as a fan-favorite. With its expanded verses and lyrics that cut deep to the heart of a past relationship, it’s no surprise that this extended cut has resonated so deeply with so many people.
Also included amongst her new “from the vault” tracks are the glittery pop track “Message In A Bottle” (which was her very first collaboration with certified hit-maker and pop music producer Max Martin,) “Nothing New” (a collaboration with indie-rock artist Phoebe Bridgers,) and “Run” (her first collaboration with English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.) With an album as genre non-exclusive as Red, it’s no surprise that the songs released from the vault jump around from glitzy pop to acoustic ballads to classic country tunes.
Many of the tracks from the original Red track listing sound just as good, if not better than the original versions. On tracks like “Holy Ground” the instantly recognizable drum beat sounds clearer and hits harder than it ever did in 2012; or on the title track, where the chorus feels more like an explosion of sound and color in 2021. Even on the deep cut ballads such as “Sad, Beautiful, Tragic” or album closer “Begin Again,” the production on both the instrumentals and vocals sounds updated yet nostalgic, capturing the essence of the original tracks with a more modern flourish.
Some may argue that not all the tracks hold up to their original incarnations. Take, for example, the cloyingly sweet chorus of iconic hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” which is missing some of the charm from the original version. Yet there’s no denying that Red (Taylor’s Version) as a whole only serves to enhance the artistic vision of the original album. From pop to rock to country and everything in between, this album has something for fans of every era of Swift’s career. That’s two re-recorded albums down, four more to go.