Since the Instagram announcement over the summer, fans have lost their cool (which is an understatement) as they awaited the re-releases of Taylor Swift’s Red, which is perhaps her most universally beloved album. Many even believe the song ‘All Too Well’ (the infamous fifth track) is one of her best pieces of work. Today we’re talking about this re-release (which dropped on the 12th) of the album, and ranking the new songs of Red.
For years now, it would seem Red is often the fan favorite body of work. From my perspective, Red marked the first real change in direction for Swift’s career. From the lead single to the lyrics, and even album photo shoot, this one was different. Of course, after this album Swift released 1989, the first fully pop album of her career. For those who don’t know why she’s re-recording, in 2021 she started to re-record her albums to take back ownership. This is her second re-recording after the earlier in the year drop of Fearless.
In addition to every original song, Swift also released her own recordings of ‘Babe’ and ‘Better Man’ (which she gave to Sugarland and Little Big Town, respectively); six “from the vault” tracks; and the much hyped original ten minute version of ‘All Too Well.’ Honestly, I don’t notice that much different about the original songs. I’m sure there are some, I just don’t hear noticeable differences. Today I’m taking a look at the six bonus tracks on 2021’s Red (none of which I love? Bring me the Fearless tracks instead), and share some unpopular thoughts on the beloved ‘All too Well.’
RANKING THE SONGS OF RED
Ranking the new songs of Red from least to most favorite
According to Swift’s social media, the video for this vault track will have a video to accompany it tomorrow; a video co-written by Swift, and her collab partner is Blake Lively, who also directs. Chris Stapleton appears on this track, but for me, this one is just TOO much like other of her songs. It’s all about differences between a couple (he with a “silver spoon” while she says, “I grew up on a farm”). The song also demonizes the guy as being the “wrong” one which is a message wearing thin.
In many ways, it’s a “poppier” version of ‘All Too Well.’
UPDATE & EDIT: After watching the music video, I’m more convinced this song is the same story as ‘All Too Well,’ just done in a more pop sound. Either way, I’m WAY past over it.
5: NOTHING NEW
A collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers (who I’m not familiar with), I like the sound of this one, not the message. It bemoans society’s perspective of women, believing society is harsh on them after urging girls to “go out and have your fun.”
The opening notes of this song remind me so much of another of Swift’s tracks, but I cannot pin down which one. This one chronicles the mental health struggles of a boyfriend and the impact it has on their relationship. Swift sings she’ll be “forever winter” if he goes.THIS IS THE SOUNDS OF ‘RED’: THE NEW TRACKS OF TAYLOR SWIFT RANKED! + [UNPOPULAR] 'ALL TOO WELL' SHORT FILM THOUGHTS #REDTAYLORSVERSION #TAYLORSWIFT #ALLTOOWELL #RED #SONGLYRICS #RANKINGRED Click To Tweet
A kind of upbeat song that remembers a past relationship and “go back in time” and missing something. I like the upbeat tone of this one.
Co-written with Ed Sheeran, this is a slower song about being in a relationship that inspires you to go where “no one else is.”
This song surprises me like none other of the vault tracks. It’s pretty upbeat rather than more of a dramatic ‘Dear John’ kind of track, which I suspected by its name; certainly more of a feel good song and I like it. It’s about being apart but sending a message in a bottle as being “all I can do” in pursuit of someone who could be the one “I love.”
[UNPOPULAR] THOUGHTS ON ‘ALL TOO WELL’
So, in addition to 2012 5+ minute recording of ‘All Too Well,’ Swift released her 10 minute original version. In an interview, Swift says that she wrote the original song one day during Speak Now tour rehearsals. She recounts feeling down, picking up her guitar, starting to play chords and singing. She says her bandmates join in and the sound man ended up recording the song which is where the original song came from. Of course when it came time to record Red, she had to cut the song to a more reasonable length which meant a 5:29 song instead of 10:13.
I like this song fine, but also don’t love it. It’s yet another example of Swift placing the entirety of blame on her partner, here it’s rumored to be Jake Gyllanhaal, a man she dated in 2010 and is 11 years older than her. This is in no way a healthy way to remember or think about a relationship. I’m sure other artists do this, but as Swift is really the only artist I consistently listen to, I’m being critical.
In no way am I saying the partner isn’t to blame, however I don’t believe the girl has zero blame in why things don’t work. However, never mind just the song, there is now also a 10+ minute film that tells the story.
The story primarily unfolds behind Swift’s song with idyllic scenes (at the start). Then midway it stops to dramatize an intense fight in which the female character blames the guy for not “looking at her” during a night of seeing his friends after ten years. She also bemoans the fact that all of his friends are older than her. (Well, duh. Of course they are.) Some may use the reasoning of “well she’s young,” however they also say that this same girl is an adult meaning she’s fully grown and has a right to make adult decisions. Well, that’s way too contradictory.
The film, in my opinion, does nothing to paint the girl as the “victim” like I’m sure it wants to. It shows blame on both parts and also is really quite ironic in recounting how the guy cannot get over the girl, even some 13 years later. Well, when you depict the female character as using the relationship for a book, I’d just ask, who is it that cannot forget whom?
Note: the film is definitely a “mature” or “MA” rating with multiple F-bombs and a suggestive scene. There are also 2 songs (‘I Bet you Think About Me + the 10 minute ‘All too Well’) with the “explicit” rating, but you can purchase a “clean” version of the album.
That’s a wrap on my thoughts on Red and the ‘All Too Well’ short film – unpopular though they are! I’m curious, what did you think about this re-release? Is it a new favorite? Did you learn anything new or have a new perspective? How would you go about ranking the new songs of Red? Comment all of your comments below!
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