Arts & Entertainment - Music Review - Taylor Swift’s Red is Different but Enjoyable
If Taylor Swift’s Speak Now was a country album splashed with pop overtones, her newest release Red is pop splashed with country overtones. No matter what genre you want to classify Red within, fans will not be disappointed to hear elements of Swift’s characteristic style—autobiographical lyrics, catchy hooks, and a variety of emotions. In a way, Taylor Swift’s Red is edgier than her previous albums, not because of more adult themes or sexualized booklet photos, but because Red explores a wide variety of musical styles and contains some lyrics that might not make sense to her younger fans.
The album’s opening track, “State of Grace,” immediately identifies Red as a new era in Taylor Swift’s music, and radiates in alt-rock energy. With lyrics that are far deeper than any of the other songs she’s ever written, listeners will immediately know Red isn’t your typical Taylor Swift album. No song sounds quite like “State of Grace,” but “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” are also new for Swift—both embrace pop music with open arms, and “I Knew You Were Trouble” even features an interesting moment of dubstep.
Despite the appeal of sixteen tracks rather than the usual twelve or thirteen (plus six more on the Target Deluxe Edition), Swift and her producers could have easily cut down the album by a few songs. “Starlight” and “The Last Time,” a duet with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, are very nice songs, but nothing overly memorable. On the other hand, some of the songs on the Target Deluxe Edition are really wonderful, such as an acoustic version of “State of Grace” and “The Moment I Knew,” the story of a birthday party gone majorly wrong.
Although some of the songs on Red are slightly disappointing, there are many that are extremely well written and enjoyable. “All Too Well,” which was supposedly inspired by Jake Gyllenhaal, and “Begin Again” contain the most vivid lyrics Swift has ever written. “22” and “Stay Stay Stay” are upbeat and dance-y, and will probably be the favorite tracks of Swift’s 13-year-old fans. “The Lucky One” is a more mature track, and is one of the album’s few songs that doesn’t deal with love or heartbreak
In comparison to 2010’s Speak Now, which seamlessly flowed from song to song and contained no filler tracks, Red can seem somewhat disappointing. However, Red is undoubtedly Taylor Swift’s next step as an artist, and as her fan base grows up, Red is Swift’s way of telling the world she’s growing up, too.
Overall Grade: B+ Tracks to Download: “State of Grace” “Begin Again” “The Lucky One”