Taylor Swift: Red Album Review


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.

Taylor Swift: Red Album Review. Chatting about Taylor Swift's 2012 'Red' album and my thoughts on its 16 tracks. Text © Rissi JC

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.  

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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:

Released: 2012
Writing Credits: Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback
Label: Big Machine Records
Genre: Pop
Number of Tracks: 16
Rating: 4 out of 5

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I don't listen to a lot of Taylor Swift, but I do like her country songs. I was hoping she would more go down the road of being a country star. But I do like some of her other songs too :)

  2. I must admit that I don't really love TSwift's music but I really adore the type of girl she is :) She's the kind of role model I want my daughter to look up to…. compared to most of the celebs out there!

  3. Miss Hatcher – in my humble opinion, Taylor's voice is best suited to country music but she seems determined to distance herself as best as possible from that genre. Having said that, I think she does well in this new collection and because of that, I suspect these songs will be some of my fave for a long while now. :-D

    Lydia – hey, girl! You were missed during your blogging break – happy you are back and your new layout rocks! :-)

    'Trouble' is a fun song but probably not my fave off the new record – like you, I think this new sound suits Swift very well and I'll be excited to see where it takes her! Glad you like it.

    Courtney – I've "grown" into Swift's style but I often laugh at myself because none of her music relates to what I go through nor am I in the age bracket that she usually targets. Unfortunately, I think Taylor has pulled away a bit from her sweet, "good girl" image but I hope it isn't all that it seems. She is a great role model by the entertainment industry standard and I've always admired her "normalcy."

    Thank you so much for dropping by and the lovely comment AND the follow! I really appreciate it – visit anytime!

    Brooke – you and me both! I've poked fun at Taylor more times than I can count and yet I still enjoy her happy-go-lucky, stereotype songs. There is just something about them – and she is a great musician!

    These new songs are complimentary and for that, yeah, I am loving Red! :-D

  4. I'm no fan of Taylor Swift, but I do listen to her songs. They're not the best, but I guess you have to credit her for all those catchy tunes and lyrics. I'd like to hear this new album, though.

  5. Ok, so don't judge me or anything… but I may had today's date marked on my calendar to go pick up her album. Plus I needed new nail polish and other groceries from Target =)

  6. Jemimah – I have the album up at the bottom of this post. It's a bit "pitched" because it was a leaked edition but you can still enjoy the songs – have a listen then let me know what you think!

    This sound is really different for her, nearly all signs of her country (or twang) is gone and even her pop sound is tempered as she has come into a more mature, retro sound that really suits her voice. Enjoy!

    Natalie – no judging here! I may have done the same thing for release dates of things I was anticipating, and in fact, I have several times. ;-D It's better safe than sorry, right!?

    What'd you think of it!? I've heard all three bonus tracks but may still pick up the record next time I get to Target…

  7. I did not get the Target special one- there isn't a target where I live. (At least close by.)

    From what I've heard so far, thanks to that awesome playlist you've posted, I still really like the new sound. :) It seems to fit her.

  8. Rosie – my closest Target is an hour away but I get there every now and then so I may pick up the deluxe edition. I've heard the three bonus tracks and they're worth a listen but the 16 tracks on the "standard" edition are just as memorable!

    Glad you are liking it so far… hope you continue to. 100% do these songs suit her vocals. Hopefully she'll continue in that vein. :-)

    Natalie – yay! So glad you are liking it, girl! I've had it on "repeat" also. No telling how many times I've listened through it. :-D

  9. Oh, me too, Kellie – I don't go for music with explicit lyrics or profanity but it's only once and not "graphic" swearing so I am willing to forgive. :D

    1. There are a few country genre songs on this new record, Birdienl. I've uncovered their sound the more I've listened to the 16 tracks. One review dubbed 'Begin Again' as the most "country" and indeed, it could possibly be…

      Unless the playlist quit working, you can have a listen to the entire album at the foot of this post. :D (Though some of it is slightly pitched as it was a leaked version.)

  10. I am a fan of Taylor Swift so I am looking forward to getting her new album. I like the fact that there is some growth to her music and she's trying new things. I liked your review of Taylor Swift's new album and I am glad that you enjoyed her music.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Carlyn – and for the follow! I really appreciate it and loved reading your thoughts. :)

      Taylor has grown a lot since her first album but in that, those of us who like country music have been disappointed because she is now more pop/rock/folk as opposed to traditional country. The more I listen to this album though, the more I like it!

  11. Vanessa V. May 10, 2013

    I hear Taylors music since I am 13 years old. I think she is very talented and she always got better with every album!

    "I knew you were trouble" is one of my favorite songs from her.

    1. (My sincere apologies, Vanessa – somehow, your comment mistakenly was deleted. I've added it again under my name but did "bold" your name. Sorry about that. :/)

      Have to agree with you, Vanessa! Each of Taylor's albums have gotten better with 'Red' being the peak so far. She's a real talent as a songwriter and I hope to continue to follow her in that career.

      'Trouble' is a great song; I like how it sounds and Taylor's vocals on that track. :)

      Thanks for the follows today! Really hope you enjoyed your visit, Vanessa! :)

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