Taylor Swift – Red
Record Label: Big Machine Records
Release Date: October 22, 2012
I personally love female vocalists. I am also not ashamed to admit that I really like catchy “Top 40” pop music. For those reasons, I am a pretty big Taylor Swift fan, and therefore got really excited when I got to listen to her new album Red. However, as I listened through the tracks my excitement slowly died song by song as I realized that Red is not only Swift’s worst album to date, but just an overall bad album.
The first single off of Red is “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” which happens to be one of my favorite tracks. It is catchy and upbeat pop song that makes you want to dance around a little. However it is in no way a representation of what the majority of the album is like. If there were more songs like it I would have a positive view of Red, but there aren’t.
Many people have criticized Swift in the past for the lack of originality and variety in her lyrics. They say that that she sings about the same things over and over again, but to be honest I never really paid attention to those complaints. I would always just say that she writes fun songs that people can relate to then go back to listening. However, after listening to Red I am starting to agree with her detractors. Out of the 16 tracks on Red, I feel fairly confident in saying that 10 of the songs are definitely Swift singing about past relationships. 10 of 16 songs are her singing about her exes or what could have been, and actually an argument could be made that a couple more songs are about this same topic as well. Now she has sung about break-ups before, and I liked some of those songs, but after hearing so many about the same topic on one album I just got sick of it. Now if these songs about past relationships were good I would probably excuse the repetitiveness of the topic, but the real problem is they are not good. They are almost all slow and whiny. And they just keep coming one after another, and they slowly killed my enjoyment of the album along the way. The barrage starts with the 1st track “State of Grace” and never really lets up. By the time I had gotten to “Sad Beautiful Tragic” which is the 12th (and by far my least favorite) track I really didn’t know if I could take anymore. I mean do I really want to spend my time listening to some girl trying to sound as depressing as possible by vocally moping about lost love? I mean she literally beats a dead horse, breaks up with it, and then beats it some more. Even taking into consideration the songs off of the album that I am fond of, the dour mood established is just too much to overcome.
While most of the album is Swift whining about her exes there are a few songs that venture into different aspects of life. One of those tracks is “22,” which is a song about going out and having a good time. I feel it is Swift’s first straight-up attempt at an up tempo song that could be played in a club. Now as someone who usually enjoys this type of songs, I will say that “22” isn’t half bad, but there are just so many artists that do this kind of song better that I really have no need to go to Swift when I am in the mood for one.
My favorite song off the album is “Stay Stay Stay.” I guess some could say the chorus is uncreative and repetitive, but I feel that it is catchy enough that it slowly seeped its way into my brain and I was happily singing along with it whenever it came on. While it is still a pop song there are certain aspects of it that remind me of Swift’s most “country” songs. I could easily imagine Miranda Lambert or Sara Evans singing it and hearing it on a country radio station.
There are two duets on the album, “The Last Time” featuring Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, and “Everything has Changed” featuring Ed Sheeran. I actually think that both of these songs work better than most of the Swift solo songs on Red. I am not a fan of Snow Patrol or Ed Sheeran so I can’t say if these songs are reminiscent of those artists’ other works. However I think that “The Last Time” is the better of the duets, even though both of them are a little depressing.
Another song that I like is “Starlight.” I think the reason I like this song so much is the fact that the lyrics make me think that Taylor Swift actually likes her life (unlike most of Red). Instead of singing about breaking up, she is singing about falling in love. I think the positive tone of the lyrics really rubbed off on me and put a smile on my face while listening to it. It might sound a little odd to say (well maybe not since they lyrics are about dancing with somebody you like), but I think “Starlight” could end up being the theme song for high school homecoming dances in the years to come.
Music is a very subjective thing, we all know that. Because of that I understand that some people will really like this album, I am just not one of them. To me the music of Red is too slow and meandering, and the lyrics are so repetitive that it borders on of self-parody (or at least parodying people’s conceptions of her song). Maybe it all boils down to the fact that I am just not the target audience for this record. I mean if I was a 13 year old girl who just broke up with her first boyfriend I would probably put this album on repeat for a month straight. However as a listener who has enjoyed all her previous efforts I am just a little disappointed I don’t feel the same way about this one.
The only thing I am really sure of after listening to Red, is that Taylor Swift is really bad at relationships.
This review is a user submitted review from billcom6. You can see all of billcom6's submitted reviews here.
Interesting review, personally i think it's her best effort. Actually because of the variety of the songs, it's like she has something for everyone, the uptempo poppish song (WANEGBT, Trouble, 22), the slow sad ballads (I Almost Do, All Too Well), some Acoustic driven happy songs (Ed Sheeran's Duet, Stayx3)
and even some of them with an alternative-ish vibe (State of Grace, The Last Time)...
Maybe lyrically as you said it's not really varied, but well, it's a taylor swift album. Most if not all songs are heavily centered in relationships, good or bad, and break-ups, and it's been this way since album 1...
Sincerely i Enjoy Red, State of Grace and All Too Well, the last one being my favorite Song by hers. Noted though that i usually dislike top20, dancepop songs, and the "Let's have a party, and fuck, and love, and dance!!!1!!1!!" vibe that surrounds them, so that might explain it.
That said, good review dude :D
(The song with Ed Sheeran is "Everything has Changed", you should fix it in the review)
I think most people that gave this album a chance (like you did) would disagree with your opinion, but thats ok. Red was my first beginning-to-end album from Taylor Swift. I heard all her other singles and what-not but I was into different music at the time and didn't like any of it. But I got Red based on Ryan Gardner's review and I loved most of it. Since I don't listen to pop music and I generally don't like female artists, this was fresh air for me. To each his own I suppose.