Red (Taylor’s Version)

Mia Fitzloff

“Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person.” Red (Taylor’s Version) releases November 12th—by the time you’re reading this, it will already be out.

Staying true to myself, I am covering this monumental release. A release that has been so highly anticipated by Swifties everywhere that we as a community have gone mad. If you live under a rock, the album Red by Taylor Swift first dropped in October 2012. Featuring songs such as “22” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Red is one of Swift’s most popular albums. I went into great detail as to why Swift, now 31 and no longer heartbroken over Jake Gyllenhaal or Joe Jonas, is re-releasing all of her previous works up to Lover in my Fearless (Taylor’s Version) article last spring. If you’re curious, make sure to check it out. I’m writing this intro on Tuesday, November 8th, but the rest of this review will happen after Red (Taylor’s Version) has been released. 

Like my Fearless (Taylor’s Version) article, I am going to disclose some of my predictions and an interview I did with Kate B ‘22, a fellow Taylor Swift fan. Swift has been posting hints for months now. She even posted a video of a vault that held every track (old and new) that would be on Red (Taylor’s Version). However, being the lyrical maniac she is, Taylor scrambled all the track titles to be decoded by fans. I did not participate in the decoding, but her truly dedicated fans solved the puzzle in under an hour. Here are the tracks she later revealed once the words were put together: 

(Image from Instagram)

  1. State of Grace (Taylor’s Version)
  2. Red (Taylor’s Version)
  3. Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)
  4. I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor’s Version)
  5. All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)
  6. 22 (Taylor’s Version)
  7. I Almost Do (Taylor’s Version)
  8. We Are Never Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version)
  9. Stay Stay Stay (Taylor’s Version)
  10. The Last Time (Taylor’s Version) (feat. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol)
  11. Holy Ground (Taylor’s Version)
  12. Sad Beautiful Tragic (Taylor’s Version)
  13. The Lucky One (Taylor’s Version)
  14. Everything Has Changed (Taylor’s Version) (feat. Ed Sheeran)
  15. Starlight (Taylor’s Version)
  16. Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)
  17. The Moment I Knew (Taylor’s Version)
  18. Come Back… Be Here (Taylor’s Version)
  19. Girl At Home (Taylor’s Version)
  20. State of Grace (Acoustic Version)(Taylor’s Version)
  21. Ronan (Taylor’s Version)
  22. Better Man (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
  23. Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)(Taylor’s Version)(From The Vault)
  24. Babe (Taylor’s Version)(From The Vault)
  25. Message In A Bottle (Taylor’s Version)(From The Vault)
  26. I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton)(Taylor’s Version)(From The Vault)
  27. Forever Winter (Taylor’s Version)(From The Vault)
  28. Run (feat. Ed Sheeran)(Taylor’s Version)(From The Vault)
  29. The Very First Night (Taylor’s Version)(From The Vault)
  30. All Too Well (10 Minute Version)(Taylor’s Version)(From The Vault)

Yes, this is an ENORMOUS album. Not only does it have 21 original tracks, but it also has NINE “From The Vault” tracks (which is also a concept I also explained in my Fearless (Taylor’s Version) article). I am highly anticipating the ten minute versions of All Too Well, Better Man, and Nothing New. I sat down on the stationary bikes with Kate B. 22’ this week to get her opinions on the impending release. Here is how our conversation went:

Me: When did you first get into Taylor Swift? 

Kate: I think that I was pretty young when she first started releasing music because she was around 16 or 17 when she dropped her debut? When she was still in her country phase. I was a big fan of that from the start. I feel like my music taste has really evolved with her, all the way from her debut to evermore and folklore. Really my whole life. 

Me: What would you say your favorite album is, if you had to choose one? 

Kate: I couldn’t pick a favorite for forever but right now I’m listening to 1989 a lot, especially the deluxe version because of Wonderland—that’s a great song. But I love them all. 

Me: What would you say your favorite songs are? If you could pick a few? 

Kate: In the spirit of Red, Come Back… Be Here is amazing. Her songs kind of reflect the seasons so in the fall there’s ‘Tis The Damn Season and Come Back…Be Here, but in the spring and summer I love songs from Fearless and Speak Now. 

Me: What are your thoughts on her re-releasing her old music? 

Kate: I think she’s a genius, honestly. She’s like the smartest musician I could think of. I’m just so excited to hear the vault tracks and the extended version of some songs, and I think she’s really girlbossing the music industry right now. 

Me: What songs are you most excited to hear off of Red (Taylor’s Version)? 

Kate: Obviously All Too Well ten minute version, and then also Come Back… Be Here, I’m also wondering if she’s going to do State of Grace normal and acoustic? 

Me: What are your thoughts on Jake Gyllenhaal? 

Kate: I really dislike him. I think that he’s probably texting Joe Jonas right now and just trying to figure out how to deal with the re-recording. I don’t know how he can recover. I’ve been seeing him getting a lot of hate. 

Now that I’ve consulted a fellow Swiftie and gathered my thoughts, I am ready to listen. And cry. 

Alright. It is Sunday, November 14th. Red (Taylor’s Version) has been out for a little over two days since its release on November 12th.

This album. Wow. I’ve got to say this topped my expectations more than I ever could’ve imagined. I wouldn’t have even categorized Red as one of my favorites before this, but Red (Taylor’s Version) is so raw and emotional I don’t see how it could be topped. Obviously, I started by listening to All Too Well (10 minute version) because that was the most highly anticipated song across the board. The song All Too Well was written about the brief but extremely heavy relationship between Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal, who dated in 2010. If you need a deeper background on the relationship, here is this article by Today— Taylor and Jake. When Swift originally wrote the song following the couple’s split in 2011, it was 25 minutes long. She eventually cut it down to ten, then around 5, which is what made it onto Red. The song is very emotional and honest, which is what draws fans in. Some of these very honest lyrics include: “If we had been closer in age maybe it would’ve been fine,” and, “I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age.” The new ten minute version adds in additional verses and bridges, making it even more of a rollercoaster. Even if you literally have never listened to Taylor Swift and do not care whatsoever about how she and Jake Gyllenhaal dated when he was 29 and she was 20 (ew.), I highly recommend listening to this song AND watching the short film (which is a masterpiece). Swift released the short film featuring Sadie Sink (19) and Dylan O’Brien (30) the day after the album dropped. It is a beautiful 14 minutes that many non-Swifties have already enjoyed. My favorite lyric from the ten minute version of All Too Well is, “And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue? Just between us did the love affair maim you too? ‘Cause in this city’s barren cold, I still remember the first fall of snow and how it glistened as it fell. I remember it all too well.” 

(Image from Pop Buzz)

(Image from YouTube)

I could honestly write a whole article about All Too Well by itself, but for the sake of the overall review I will move on.

Nothing New featuring Phoebe Bridgers is an absolute KILLER. I love Phoebe Bridgers and when I saw she was on the lineup for Red (Taylor’s Version) I just about lost my mind. I had no idea what to expect, but now that I’ve heard it I can say with confidence that I DEFINITELY did not expect to be having an existential crisis at 17!!! I had no idea getting older bothered me so much until I heard this song. If you’re apprehensive about listening because you’re worried Phoebe may be on backup vocals or blah blah blah don’t fret. She has her own verses and the song is a perfect balance between both artists! Standout lyrics: “How can a person know everything at eighteen, but nothing at twenty-two?” and “And then she’ll say she got the map from me. I’ll say I’m happy for her, then cry myself to sleep.”

Because this article is due in 5 minutes, the last song I’ll write in-depth on is Better Man. I knew I was going to love this song. It’s sassy and slightly depressing, which is exactly my style. It expresses the trap of romanticization and being let down perfectly. I don’t know who it’s written about exactly, but since Red was mainly about Jake Gyllenhaal, Cory Monteith, and Connor Kennedy, I’m going to guess it’s about Jake. My favorite lyrics are: “I waited on every careless word, hoping they might turn sweet again like it was in the beginning” and “I gave to you my best and we both know you can’t say that.”

Other standout songs: 

Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)

I Bet You Think About Me (From the Vault)

Babe (From the Vault) 

Come Back…Be Here (Taylor’s Version) 

Lucky One (Taylor’s Version) 

See you all next time for Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)—I hope.

Image credit: https://www.nme.com/reviews/album/taylor-swift-red-taylors-version-review-3093107