Taylor Swift has done it again. Less than a week after the release of her fourth studio album, she’s already passed the ‘one million sold’ mark. Red is definitely the most daring of her albums. From the pop anthem “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” to the more Swift-esque “Begin Again”, there’s a song for everyone on this album. Swift has said of the album that she was trying to “really explore the edges of what she was allowed to do”. Of course, with success like hers, there really isn’t anything she isn’t allowed to do. By incorporating so many different influences into Red, Swift has essentially removed all barriers between genres in her music. On top of that, she gathered the likes of Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol front man Gary Lightbody for duets, both of whom have had their own share of success. In the midst of all this, it was also nearly impossible to escape the album before its release. If you were anywhere near the radio, television, or even Papa John’s, you probably heard all the details. That’s what you call a good marketing team. Before it was even released, Red had the makings of a hit album and it seems to be living up to that now.
This album kicks off strong with “State of Grace” and “Red”. Both of these just happen to be the songs you can’t help but sing along to (and subsequently have stuck in your head for the next week). Though these aren’t what fans would consider ‘typical Taylor’, they’re clearly hits, based on their recent popularity.
Next we hear the first of Swift’s ballads, titled “Treacherous”. Lyrically, this is one of the best songs on the album. The idea behind it is the relationship that is heading down this unending slope. The lyrics in the chorus are “This slope is treacherous This path is reckless”. This song is all about loving someone you know you shouldn’t. Which, ironically, is exactly what the next song is about. “I Knew You Were Trouble” talks about exactly that, knowing someone is trouble and realizing you were bound to get hurt.
Clearly, Taylor put these songs in order of how the real situations played out. The next song on Red, titled “All Too Well”, a typical Taylor Swift tale of heartbreak. On a completely different note is “22”, which seems to be about her time with friends, which tends to follow a breakup. What better way to cure heartbreak than a night out with friends, right?
Everyone and anyone who has been through a break-up has dealt with the urge to call the person you know you shouldn’t, which is exactly what the song “I Almost Do” discusses. But alas, there is the moment when you remember every reason that you broke up in the first place. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is the perfect anthem for that situation, and also the perfect choice for a first single.
With the next few songs, Swift takes us on this rollercoaster of emotions, from the upbeat “Stay Stay Stay”, to the melancholy “The Last Time”, a duet with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody. From there, she takes us back to the fast-paced melody of “Holy Ground”, which talks about the realization that every relationship has its reasons and its good points; we just have to look back with a positive attitude.
The most impressive song, in my opinion, is “Sad Beautiful Tragic”. It’s not over-produced or going to be stuck in your head for weeks, but Taylor admitted that this was the demo version that they just stuck with. Nothing is better than the raw emotion of a demo track.
“The Lucky One” is a song I’m sure most celebrities can relate to. Daily I’m sure they hear just how “lucky” they are, when no one truly knows what it is that they are truly dealing with. Some of them might not be as lucky as we think. Swift’s duet with Ed Sheeran “Everything Has Changed” is very reminiscent of one of Sheeran’s songs. Strictly fueled by acoustic guitar and beautiful harmonies, it doesn’t take much for this song to catch your attention, it does it all on its own.
“Starlight” is a song Swift wrote about a photo of Ethel and Robert Kennedy. She said she “wasn’t sure what they did but it just looked like they were having the best night”. The second single of the album, “Begin Again”, is the final song on the album. Swift closes the album with the hope of a new love and a renewed faith in what love truly looks like. Very typical of hopelessly romantic Taylor, but there’s never anything wrong with staying true to character.
Overall, this is yet another Taylor Swift gem. Not only did she keep her image intact, she stretched the limits of what she could do, experimenting with multiple genres. Not only was it a great career move, it was clearly great for her inspiration too. There’s no doubt in my mind that she deserves all the success she’s getting and will continue to get from the release of Red.