Taylor Swift released her new “Red (Taylor’s Version)” album on Nov. 12 on all major streaming platforms that features 30 songs, which are re-recordings of her original “Red” album from 2012, in addition to nine newly released tracks.
This most recently released album resembles the original “Red” album pretty closely and would appeal very greatly to anyone who enjoyed the original. Although the album is mainly composed of previously released songs, the reason for this phenomenon is just another reason why fans should stream “Red (Taylor’s Version)” from now on, instead of the original.
As Swift writes all of her own songs, she retained the rights to the lyrics and music of each track, while her former record label, Big Machine Records, owned the master tracks, according to CNN, which were the physical recordings of each song in the original release.
Over the years, Big Machine Records has sold some of Swift's music, which was then sold again to yet another label, all without Swift’s knowledge or approval. Re-recording her albums, starting with “Fearless,” originally released in 2008 and re-released as “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” are Swift’s attempt to reclaim her own work.
This is a genius plan by Swift to rely on her loyal fans to rally around her and their old favorites by the singer-songwriter. At first one may be confused as to why an old album is being released again, but once the whole story is revealed, people should be eager to stream the new album to support Swift, the true owner of the music.
Additionally, Swift’s choice to include some as-yet unreleased songs on the album was a great choice to draw in new listeners as well as those who loved the original “Red.” The songs including “Better man,” “Babe,” “Message in a Bottle,” “The Very First Night” and more, all fit the character of “Red.”
One of those new additions is a 10 minute long version of “All Too Well,” the 14 minute long music video for which, titled “All Too Well: The Short Film,” is currently No. 1 trending for music on YouTube as of Nov. 15. The video shows two characters in a relationship more-or-less acting out the lyrics of the song as the relationship starts out sweet and loving and breaks apart over time. The song is interspersed with little sections of dialogue that compliment the song and extend its story line.
At the end of the video, Swift herself plays the grown-up version of the main female character played by Sadie Sink, sporting red hair to match that of Sink. The tie-in of the red hair with the album’s title and the motif of the red scarf weaved throughout the song and the visuals serve to artfully unify the song, the album and the film together without being too on-the-nose.
The 10 minute version of the song honestly works really well as a standalone track. It isn’t unreasonable to think that 10 minutes might be too long to work well as a single track on a larger album but with the story that flows through the song, the 10 minutes fly by as one is following the inner story.
The re-recorded songs are certainly nostalgic for the older era of Swift’s music. However, the new maturity in Swift's voice is palpable among the re-recorded tracks. It is such a privilege to be able to enjoy her older music, which many people connected with in their teenage years, with Swift’s developed vocals. It is a testament to the fact that Swift has not plateaued in her skill, but has continually improved despite already being a successful musician.
Guest artists Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapelton, Phoebe Bridgers and Gary Lightbody enhance the album greatly. These tracks are all very well done with the guest vocals perfectly complimenting Swift’s without overpowering her at all. The harmonies in each song are beautiful and accentuate Swift’s vocal skill.
In true Swift style, each song is very personal and specific. This character of her music makes each song incredibly powerful and passionate and since this re-recording is a statement of Swift’s autonomy as an artist, that passion shines through even brighter than in the original.
The “Red (Taylor’s Version)” album is an admirable step for Swift in taking back ownership of her music in addition to being a well-rounded, fun and relatable album that marries her previously popular songs with her more mature vocals.
RATING: 5/5 STARS