With its original release in 2012, Taylor Swift’s fourth album “Red” stood as the beginning of her venture into pop. “Red” itself was a patchwork quilt of different genres, writing styles and instruments, between the 16 tracks of the album lived pure country anthems like“Begin Again” and “Stay Stay Stay”, as well as new-age pop hits including “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “22”.
After the release of the first single off of “Red”, entitled “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift had begun her journey to being known as one of the most versatile artists of this generation.
Taylor Swift’s decision to re-record and re-release her first six albums seemed to be a nearly impossible feat. To completely remake near-exact copies of her previous albums while Swift could spend that time making new music seemed difficult to understand by many.
But when you think about it, Swift’s exclusive history of deeply honest records and putting every aspect of her personal life into her music makes it necessary that she is the one who owns it.
A musician’s masters refers to the publishing rights of their music which is almost always owned by the recording company. A few years ago, Swift’s masters were sold by her record label for $300 million without her knowledge, and without giving her the opportunity to buy it herself. Taylor Swift decided that she was not going to allow all of the songs she’s written about her own life to be owned by someone else, so she took on the all-consuming task of going back and re-recording her first six albums.
To take a line from the song “It’s time to go” off of her album “Evermore,” Swift sings “He’s got my past frozen behind glass/But I’ve got me”.
“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is nothing like anybody expected. Made up of an incredible thirty tracks, Taylor Swift made what only she could make: the full, unedited version of her seminal heartbreak album.
“Red” was written and recorded in 2012 when Swift was first 20 and finished at 22 years old. Now a decade later, Swift’s mature voice ascends over the tracks of heartache and growth. “Red,” at its root, is a mosaic of human emotion. It is a whirlwind of bold colors combined with immense sadness and the confusion that comes with entering your twenties.
The album consists of the original 16 tracks including the four bonus tracks, nine songs “From The Vault” that didn’t make it onto the album back in 2012 and the fan-favorite, long-awaited, ten-minute version of “All Too Well”. Renowned by most reviewers and fans to be her best song, “All Too Well” has created a storm of feeling and an expansive take on the painful heartbreak song that reflects the best abilities of Taylor Swift. With new lines added to the classic like, “You kept me like a secret/But I kept you like an oath” and “I was thinking on the drive down, ‘anytime now, he’s gonna say it’s love’/You never called it what it was”.
In its essence, “Red” is about heartbreak. It reflects all of the feelings that come after the end of a painful relationship that was still sometimes wonderful. But between all the shades of heartbreak, “Red” is filled with coming-of-age and feeling lost.
The vault track “Nothing New” features Phoebe Bridgers and reflects the somber start of your twenties and realizing that you’re getting older. Swift and Bridgers singing about the female musician experience with feeling like you have moved past your prime is just as sad as you think it is. In the second verse, Bridgers sings, “How long will it be cute, all this crying in my room?/When you can’t blame it on my youth”. “Nothing New” was a side of 2012 Swift that no one had seen, but it further completes an already seminal album.