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I Bet You’ve Been Thinking About Red (Taylor’s Version)

All of a sudden it’s 2012 again and you’re screaming “I Knew You Were Trouble” in the car with your friends. Except now it’s 2021, you can drink wine, you’ve been through some heartbreaks, and you know exactly what Taylor Swift meant when she said, “and you call me up again just to break me like a promise, So casually cruel in the name of being honest”. 

Yes, that’s right, we are talking about Taylor Swift’s re-recording of her 2012 fourth studio album, Red. Red (Taylor’s Version) is 30 songs long and over two hours, with 9 songs from the vault, including a ten minute explicit version of “All Too Well”. 

Red (Taylor’s Version) has inspired several viral trends on TikTok, including what is known now as SwiftTok, and is the biggest filtered debut week for a female album in Spotify history with 377 million listens. 

The album as Taylor described it, “represents a heartbroken person” who is “happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild”, and that’s exactly what Swift did with the album once again. If possible, the re-recorded songs are almost more gut wrenching with lyrics that read like poetry, Swift’s now more crisp and mature voice create the effect that can only be described as a “Sad Beautiful Tragic”. The perfect opening track, “State of Grace ” comments on the beginning of a relationship, how fast it moves and how unpredictable and fleeting each movement is. The album title track, “Red”, highlights the good and bad parts of a relationship, the falling and the heartbreak. 

Swift also includes, feel good, scream in the car songs like, “22”, “Starlight”, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, “Stay Stay Stay” and “Holy Ground”. These upbeat tracks about being young and falling in and out of love, offset the heart wrenching songs such as, “Treacherous”, “I Almost Do”, “The Last Time”, and of course the song that’s left us all a crumpled up piece of paper lying here, “All Too Well”. 

The meaning behind the album

 This album tells the story of Swift  and her former beau, actor Jake Gyllenhall. Red (Taylor’s Version),  is one of the most vulnerable albums of Swift’s career, where we see her illustrate  falling in love, the fighting, the end, and remembering the relationship. 

In her re-recorded album, Swift gifted us with a ten minute explicit version of the fan favorite song, “All Too Well”, along with the song’s short film starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. This version had fans all too unwell, while hearing new verses that included dissing the patriarchy, commenting on the couples age difference, and the pitfalls of their relationship. The song has caused a viral sensation, the track is so unguarded with lyrics so true and raw, it allowed for people around the world to feel Taylor’s heartbreak for themselves.  

Another Swift tradition is releasing her “valut tracks” on her re-recorded albums, for Red this included the new pop hits “Message In A Bottle” and “The Very First Night”. The newly released songs include the stars like, Ed Sheeran on “Run”, Phoebe Bridgers on the heartbreaking “Nothing New”, and finally Chris Stapleton’s vocals on “I Bet You Think About Me”. Swift even teamed up with one of her long time best friends, Blake Lively, whose children were even the inspiration for her characters on the album “Folklore”, to direct the music video for “I Bet You Think About Me”, starring Swift  and Miles Teller. 

What’s next?

A great struggle of being a Swiftie is working to decode her easter eggs that she includes in nearly everything that she releases. With the release of Red, fans are now working to find out if Swift will release the Speak Now or 1989 re-recording, since Swift has given clues for both. 

For example, in the music video for “I Bet You Think About Me”, fans have theorized that each layer of the cake represents one of her albums. But it especially highlights 1989 with the seagulls on one of the tiers, which where a staple of the 1989 era. However, the whole music video reflects her Speak Now album since in the album’s title track, Swift illustrates her crashing her ex’s wedding which is what is played out in her new video causing conflicting feelings on what the next re-recording will be.

While these re-recordings may not seem as important as a whole new album since most of the songs have already been released, these re-recordings give Swift the ability to own her own music and to not allow her past record label and Scooter Braun to receive compensation from her music. This is crucial since Swift not only has a right to own her own music, but also writes nearly all of her songs and has a legacy that has surpassed other musical legends. Swift and her music has always been about her relationship with her fans and the unconditional loyalty, love, and respect that we will always have together.

Hannah Arthur

American '25

Hannah is a freshman at American University and is majoring in international relations with a concentration in global health. She is a contributing writer at HCAU and is passionate about equal rights and access to equal education.
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