“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is the the bittersweet fall soundtrack you’ve been yearning for
“Red (Taylor’s Version)” could not have come sooner. This past week, I found myself humming “All Too Well” as I walked around on campus, watching autumn leaves fall down like pieces into place, daydreaming about what the new songs on Taylor’s re-recorded album would sound like.
This is Taylor Swift’s second re-recording of her albums. Early this year, fans were thrilled to hear “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” but something about “Red (Taylor’s Version)” feels different. Maybe it’s the fact that Swift included nine bonus tracks, with six never heard before tracks on this sort-of-new album.
In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Swift explained that these were songs that she had cut from the original album. She thought they might make it on future albums, but because she took such a turn with “1989” and “reputation,” the songs languished in the vault for a few years.
“Red” was a mosaic of heartbreak and intense emotions, spanning from euphoria to sadness. These new songs paint a greater picture of the story that Swift tells with this album. Songs like “I Bet You Think About Me” and “The Very First Night” bring Swift’s heartbreak into focus, with hyper-personal lines that translate effortlessly into the universal.
It’s classic Swift to create songs that are both catchy and well-written. “The Very First Night” along with “Message in A Bottle” have a production that turns them into perfectly danceable songs, with honest lyrics about regrets and new crushes, respectively.
There’s also the long coveted 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” This is the original version of the song, a raw and powerful story about the heartbreak that ensues when you lose someone you thought could have been the one. You might think a 10-minute song is too long, but every line is expertly crafted and adds depth to the story.
Details like “you were tossing me the car keys/fuck the patriarchy” and “I was thinking on the drive down/anytime now, you’d say it’s love/you never called it what it was” are sung in an almost ironic tone, with a strong feeling of remorse. It’s easy to see connections between the themes and tone of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” “Nothing New” and “Forever Winter” with the songs in “folklore” and “evermore.” Swift worked on these songs when she was about 21, and it’s satisfying to see her prowess as a writer was building even then.
It’s even more pleasing that fans finally get to hear the album in the way that Swift wanted it to be. Now that she has more power as an artist, she can choose which songs to include on the album, regardless of whether or not her record label thinks it might fit in with the rest of the album or disappoint fans looking for a simple radio friendly single.
This is the album that many Swift fans, aka “Swifties,” have a soft spot in their heart for. It’s a fan favorite and for good reason. This is the album that is about heartbreak, with masterful songs that demonstrate some of Swift’s best writing.
This album definitely has a special place in my heart. I first listened to it in high school and played the songs on repeat as I drove home from school through the red and gold tree-covered hills. It was the perfect fall soundtrack, happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time, if you will.
“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is well worth the listen, especially the new songs which round out the album and turn it into something that is truly magical. You can listen to “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on all streaming platforms.