After the original album received mixed reviews in 2012, Taylor Swift is back with a heartbreakingly beautiful re-recording of Red (Taylor’s Version).Not only did she add a 10-minute version of the fan-favourite ‘All Too Well’, but she also introduced eight new songs from “The Vault” of songs that didn’t make it onto the initial albums.
The album has features from Ed Sheeran, Phoebe Bridgers, Gary Lightbody and Chris Stapleton. Swift uses this re-recorded album to prove critics wrong. She showcased her incredible storytelling and songwriting talents in songs such as ‘All Too Well’, ‘The Moment I Knew’, and ‘Come Back…Be Here’.
Red takes a glimpse into Swift’s romantic relationships from around 2010-2011, including her fling with Jake Gyllenhall, Taylor Lautner, and her relationship with Conor Kennedy.
The raw break-up songs Taylor wrote about became the soundtrack of many a first heartbreak, including my own. The re-release has reopened this wound, with many fans taking to Twitter to tell Taylor they are “not okay”.
Since the original release in 2012, Taylor’s voice has matured dramatically and seems richer. She has done what she does best: write songs that people can relate to.
‘Nothing New’ is an ode to growing older and realising that youth doesn’t last forever, with many people being replaced by a younger version. As someone turning 22 this year, this song hit a nerve and has been on repeat since. Once you hit 20 years old, it feels like each year is going quicker than the last, and life is just rushing by.
There comes an existential dread when you realise you’re no longer a teenager but don’t quite feel like a proper adult. Suddenly, you have no idea who you are or what you’re doing. Taylor captures this feeling perfectly in the song:
“I’ve had too much to drink tonight / How did I go from growin’ up / To breakin’ down and I / Wake up (wake up) /In the middle of the night / It’s like I can feel time moving / How can a person know everything / At eighteen, but nothing at twenty-two? / And will you still want me when I’m nothin’ new?”
Swift’s sweet and dreamy voice contrasts perfectly with Bridgers’ deep, velvety tones, producing a wonderful blend of emotions.
‘I Bet You Think About Me’ is about being the one who got away from an ex-lover. Years may have passed, but Taylor insists that the person still thinks about her and their relationship. The song has hints of Taylor’s country roots and shows us she’s still got it. This is one of many songs on the album which was rumoured to be about Taylor and Jake Gyllenhall’s short-lived relationship.
“I bet you think about me when you’re out / At your cool indie music concerts every week / I bet you think about me in your house / With your organic shoes and your million-dollar couch.”
‘All Too Well’ is precisely what we had been waiting for, giving us a deeper insight into the relationship between Jake and Taylor.
This version of the song was accompanied by a short film released the day after the album. The short film stars Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf, Maze Runner) and Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) assumedly as Jake and Taylor around 2010. The song and short film tell the story of the three-month fling between the two, and hint at a manipulative relationship on Jake’s part, including an eight-year age gap with Taylor being 20 at the time and Jake being 28.
If you don’t know why Taylor is re-recording her albums, let me quickly explain. Taylor owns the publishing rights and sheet music to all of her songs. However, in 2019, the masters and album artwork were sold for $300 million to Ithaca Holdings – a company owned by Scooter Braun. Scooter and Taylor have had a well-publicised disdain for each other that now spans years.
After he had purchased the masters, he offered them back to Taylor with the condition that she signed an NDA stating she would never repeat anything negative about him again. She, of course, declined his offer and he went on to sell them. Since Taylor owns the original lyrics, melodies etc. she plans to re-record all of her albums up to Reputation (2017) for Scooter Braun’s copies to become essentially useless.
Since her announcement that she was re-recording her albums, she has released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) in April and now Red (Taylor’s Version). We are now patiently waiting for her other albums, such as Taylor Swift, Speak Now, 1989, and Reputation.
Featured Image Source: Taylor Swift on Twitter (@Taylorswift13)
BA (Hons) Film, Media and Journalism graduate. Freelance Journalist for Brig Newspaper and Entertainment Daily. Head of Social Media for Brig Newspaper.
Passionate about diversity, inclusion and representation.