AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Taylor Swift - Red Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.18
Musicianship 7.07
Lyrics 6.84
Production 7.43
Creativity 6.96
Lasting Value 6.36
Reviewer Tilt 6.75
Average: 69%

Taylor Swift - Red

Reviewed by: Ryan Gardner (10/23/12)
Taylor SwiftRed
Record Label: Big Machine Records
Release Date: October 22, 2012


The color red symbolizes a variety of emotions. The color represents courage and bravery yet also embodies passion, sensuality, and love. Still, notably, red marks anger and rage, even danger, warranting caution. In conjunction with all of these various symbols, it makes sense that Red is the title of Taylor Swift’s most ambitious, dynamic record yet.

Riding on the heels of three incredibly successful records, Miss Swift knows she has nothing to lose here. As a result, she doesn’t hold back anything throughout Red’s 16 tracks. Her fourth record flirts with pop sensibilities, redefines her inner-country roots, and delivers tender ballads – it has a little bit of everything. Simply put, she could not care less what anyone wants to hear; she’s bridging the “genre gap” more so than ever before and is not about to back down for a second.

Starting the record off with the warm “State Of Grace” may be one of Swift’s boldest moves yet. Once the alluring guitar riff kicks in, it’s evident this isn’t going to be what we’re used to hearing from T Swift. What follows is one of the most diverse songs in her discography. The enticing guitar weaving in and out of her hypnotic words adds depth and layering to the song by making certain neither the guitar nor her voice is fully highlighted. Rather, both the mesmerizing guitar and divine vocal delivery bask in the spotlight through this structure – it’s a 50/50 split deal – letting us know this album is going to be monumentally different, both musically and lyrically.

Title track “Red” puts quite the new spin on classic Taylor Swift. It’s country sounding, sure, but there’s more to it than that – this is something new. Initially, the chorus sounds like you’d expect, but then the vocal effects kick in and the word “red” loops throughout the chorus, as Swift flirts with elements of pop more than ever before. The trend continues more prevalently on “I Knew You Were Trouble.” The jittery, even spastic guitar riff gets the foot tapping, but the track really takes off once the synth starts to kick in and the dubstep style drop hits at the chorus, demonstrating possibly the most daring, unexpected style change of any song in her discography.

In fact, there are times when Swift doesn’t just flirt with pop, she marries it. “22” becomes the complete antithesis of “15,” with Swift now writing the soundtrack to many 22-year-old girls’ upcoming Saturday nights. Honestly, if you had told me this was a Ke$ha song I may have believed you for a minute – yeah, it’s that kind of upbeat, girl’s dance party pop. But, she makes it work again and again, as lead single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is one of the catchiest pop songs of the year. Max Martin’s handiwork definitely shines through here, as the simple acoustic guitar allows the addictive chorus to get stuck in your head time and time again. It’s a song that sounds more like Avril or Kelly Clarkson than say Sugarland. Clearly, this is drastically different than the early “Tim McGraw”-era T Swift, and that’s entirely for the best.

However, she hasn’t abandoned her country roots, as the entire second half of the record would fit fine on her earlier records. Both “Stay Stay Stay” and “I Almost Do” dabble with old-fashioned country, as Swift lets her Southern twang take the lead on the adorable former. Though nonetheless, that the two duets stand out should come as no surprise. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol makes a poignant and painfully tender appearance on “The Last Time,” as the chemistry between the two heightens as violins swell and Swift and Lightbody harmonize wonderfully, playing off one another as they sing of welcoming a second chance for the last time. It’s easily the most beautiful song on the record. Ed Sheeran makes a similar appearance on “Everything Has Changed,” another gorgeous love song that uses simplicity as its prime weapon – it’s just the two of them, a vague guitar, and almost distant drums – in order to show that she doesn’t need any extra effects to still write a stirring ballad. Rather, her sense of harmony will do the trick just fine.

In the end, this record has it all. Country, pop, acoustic ballads – there’s something for every fan here. It takes a little bit from each of Taylor Swift’s other records – the youth of her debut, the country-pop crossover of Fearless, and the pop variety of Speak Now – and adds them all together into Miss. Swift’s finest record to date with Red. It’s sexy, daring, and complete. Notably, “Begin Again” ends the record with a fitting landscape of new beginnings and better tomorrows, and that’s exactly what Red is – a burning hope, a fiery passion, a fresh start.

8.5/10

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. State of Grace
2. Red
3. Treacherous
4. I Knew You Were Trouble
5. All Too Well
6. 22
7. I Almost Do
8. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
9. Stay Stay Stay
10. The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol)
11. Holy Ground
12. Sad Beautiful Tragic
13. The Lucky One
14. Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran)
15. Starlight
16. Begin Again

Website
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 70.
05:54 PM on 10/23/12
#2
Kris_Gontz9
Anklebiters.
Offline
User Info.
Kris_Gontz9's Avatar
Stellar review, really well written.

Though i feel this album could've had less songs on it, it all comes together in a nice way. The first half of the album really stands out too...
07:32 PM on 10/23/12
#3
billcom6
AP Addict
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
While I disagree with your opinion of the record, what bothers me the most is that your review is written so much better than mine (already submitted).

Its like I know what a good review should focus on, but when I go to write my own all my idea leave my head, then I just type too much instead. Then again I suppose that is why you are a "Staff Reviewer" and I am a lonely member contributer. Though I would like to think that my reviews are slowly getting better.

Long Story Short - Nice to read another opinion on this album. Great review. The album, not so much...
07:33 PM on 10/23/12
#4
CellarGhosts
cellarghosts.tumblr.com
Offline
User Info.
CellarGhosts's Avatar
inb4 LOL I THOUGHT DIS WUZ ABSOLUTEPUNK

good review, sir.
07:39 PM on 10/23/12
#5
Ryan Gardner
@RyanGardnerC
Online
User Info.
Ryan Gardner's Avatar
inb4 LOL I THOUGHT DIS WUZ ABSOLUTEPUNK

good review, sir.
hahah waiting for that too
07:42 PM on 10/23/12
#6
CellarGhosts
cellarghosts.tumblr.com
Offline
User Info.
CellarGhosts's Avatar
hahah waiting for that too
haha i was expecting it to be like, the first comment. anyway. I've never really been a big fan of hers in the past (still can't stand pretty much anything from her first record) but I was seriously impressed with this album and pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy it.
07:51 PM on 10/23/12
#7
Ryan Gardner
@RyanGardnerC
Online
User Info.
Ryan Gardner's Avatar
haha i was expecting it to be like, the first comment. anyway. I've never really been a big fan of hers in the past (still can't stand pretty much anything from her first record) but I was seriously impressed with this album and pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy it.
My thoughts exactly. I'm the farthest thing from a country fan, but she does the trick with her brand of..country pop? haha
07:56 PM on 10/23/12
#8
JamieTheSonger
05 Fuck Em
Offline
User Info.
JamieTheSonger's Avatar
fuck jake gylenhall
09:00 PM on 10/23/12
#9
gr33ndayfr3ak
www.nickferran.com
Offline
User Info.
gr33ndayfr3ak's Avatar
As far as mainstream pop music goes, there are some seriously fantastic songs on here. "State of Grace," "Red," "I Knew You Were Trouble," and "The Last Time" are all standouts for me. Great review as well, I agree with pretty much every word.
09:01 PM on 10/23/12
PTVsnewO
hi
Offline
User Info.
PTVsnewO's Avatar
I THOUGHT DIS WUZ ABSOLUTEPUNK!!!
09:02 PM on 10/23/12
Ryan Gardner
@RyanGardnerC
Online
User Info.
Ryan Gardner's Avatar
It was hard to try to talk about all the songs I wanted to in the review with the album having 16 tracks and being so long. They're all worth checking out though - a perfect balance of everything
09:04 PM on 10/23/12
gr33ndayfr3ak
www.nickferran.com
Offline
User Info.
gr33ndayfr3ak's Avatar
I've seriously been looking forward for her to make this album. I've always enjoyed some of her singles, but the fact that she's finally realizing she doesn't have to keep up the whole faux country thing and can be much more successful and expressive if she abandons that stigma is very exciting. And I think you nailed that in the review.
There are some serious gems on here, "State of Grace" and "The Last Time" come to mind.
09:06 PM on 10/23/12
whenyourearound
ad astra per aspera
Offline
User Info.
whenyourearound's Avatar
22 is my jam, although i can only relate to it for a few more weeks before i turn 23

I really love I Almost Do and Stay Stay Stay as well
09:08 PM on 10/23/12
CallMeTroy
Fail To Feel
Offline
User Info.
CallMeTroy's Avatar
RIYL?
09:10 PM on 10/23/12
FTank
I just want to sell out my funeral.
Online
User Info.
FTank's Avatar
I THOUGHT DIS WUZ ABSOLUTEPUNK!!!
Haha there we are
Options
More From This Author

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Submit News
CONNECT
Forums
Contests
RSS
Mobile Version
Banners, Flyers, Widgets
HIDDEN TREASURES
Free Music
Video News
Sports Forum
AP.net Related News
Recommendations
INFORMATION
FAQ
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm