Taylor Swift: Red Album Review | 22-year-old Swift has had what could only be entitled a “fairy-tale” career. She’s like an overnight success, bursting on the scene as a sweet, innocent blonde country darling with her songs of romances gone bad. Now some eight years, six Grammys and four records in, Swift finally hits a stride that shockingly, this listener is impressed with. What she begins to steadily build in Speak Now (a pop sound), she embraces on Red. In this, Taylor solely enchants pop and light rock audiences with these sixteen tracks; songs that almost at times take on a pretty folk ballad genre.
Uncharacteristically, one of the most noticeable changes in Swift’s music is how well these songs suit her voice. I consider the
Nashville based song-writer to be one of the music industries (as we know it today) greatest talents but not when it comes to voices. Hers is one of the least imposing in comparison but to compliment her, this impresses with how good she sounds on a handful of tracks. This includes “Starlight” (one of my favorites, a pretty piece of romanticism); “Stay Stay Stay” (this is one of the best feel-good tracks with its peppy beat and hand claps); and the easy listening of a bad boy relationship in “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Contrast that with the moody heartbreaker “The Last Time” in a piano driven song that though pretty, doesn’t favor Swift’s voice as she is overshadowed by her collaborator Gary Lightbody. The song is dreary but somehow feels like a “freeing” tune for all those who cannot break a cycle of bad relationships. Also an interesting song is “The Lucky One” which is nothing like its Nicholas Sparks-esque title. It tells a tale of a small-town celebrity whose name was once in lights before morphing into wishful thinking as the story-teller expresses envy of a quiet life. Though it’s flawed with a rare swear word in the lyrics, one has to wonder with the drum-backed stunner that is really (perhaps) Taylor’s most unique sound yet.Taylor Swift: Red Album Review #FWarchives Click To Tweet
Morally, Swift’s music makes us cringe because in her own words, her writing inspires from the events in her life. Musically,
it’s a masterpiece. Fans of Swift hoping to see her revert to country will be disappointed as this is ten steps further away than the last two records. Sure a song or two takes on country (like the most mature “Treacherous”) but most are pop-infused beats or regretful love sagas gone wrong. In my inexperienced opinion, Swift’s voice is most suited to country music as evidenced by her debut album but I think she has grown into a more mature sound that for all its clichéd story-telling fits her capacity better than prior cuts, and for that reason, I must conclude that Taylor’s much-anticipated fourth album is deserving of all the chatter.
I cannot help but wonder if some of the changes in Taylor’s personal life spurred her retro style right down to the vintage-inspired photo shoot (which by the way, I love). These not-so-subtle differences seem to speak for themselves but even in my most critical day, I don’t think I could tear this album to shreds.
It’s stunning and captivating (“Starlight”); darkly romantic (“Sad Beautiful Tragic”); fabulous fast vocals that tinge on “rock”
(“Holy Ground”); or the peppy fun of some easy listening (“22”). I am willing to admit that my thoughts may change the more I listen to Red but I don’t expect these early impressions to morph into anything less complimentary: Lyrically, this is a stunner. (Even the three bonus tracks are worth hearing.) The lyrical collaborations and eclectic groupings create songs now firmly stuck in my head.
When announcing the release of this album, Taylor says of its themes and its title track:
“For the last two years, I’ve been working on an album called Red. I called it Red because of the tumultuous, crazy adventures in love and loss that it chronicles. In my mind, when you experience love that’s fast paced and out of control and mixes infatuation, jealousy, frustration, miscommunication, and all of those lovely emotions…in retrospect, it all looks red.” ♥
What do you think of Swift’s new record? Do you have a favorite song?
About the Album:
Writing Credits: Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback
Label: Big Machine Records
Number of Tracks: 16
Rating: 4 out of 5