The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
When Taylor Swift announced in 2019 that she would start rerecording her first six albums to gain back the rights to her masters, it was a win-win situation for both Taylor and her fans. Not only would Swift have ownership over her music with these rerecordings, but she and her fans would get to relive the releases of these albums with some added songs affectionately known as “from the vault.” Taylor released her first re-recorded album Fearless (Taylor’s Version) earlier this year in April and instantly won everyone over with stunning remakes of fan favorites — of course, doing better on the charts than the 2008 version. Thus, when she announced that Red (Taylor’s Version) was going to be her next album release in this ambitious re-recording project, people couldn’t contain their excitement.
Yet, I think it’s safe to say that Red (Taylor’s Version) exceeded everyone’s expectations and, at least in Boston, the rainy weather on Friday fit Taylor’s modern take on her classic intro to pop break-up album. By remaking a past album that ties the visceral pain of heartbreak, moving on, and new beginnings altogether — with almost a decade of knowledge to reflect on — Taylor shows that who she was in 2012 is not who she is in 2021. And for that, it’s all the more powerful and exciting for her future projects.
Released at 12 a.m. EST Friday, Red (Taylor’s Version) features a whopping 30 tracks with ten coming from the vault including a 10-minute version of “All Too Well” — which is one of her greatest songs of all time. Swift’s matured voice is easily recognizable and gave these vulnerable songs a much more powerful essence. Her voice now makes underrated hits like “The Last Time,” “I Almost Do,” “Come Back… Be Here,” and “The Moment I Knew” hit even harder and hold more strength. Albeit, her evolved vocals take away from the initial anger of her pop songs “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The evolution from her 2012 version to her 2021 version proves that Taylor Swift continues to top her classics and refine them to be bigger, stronger, and all too wise.
In addition, the 10 vault songs are so phenomenal we wonder how they were scrapped from the album to begin with. Firstly, the feature song “Nothing New” with Phoebe Bridgers combines 2012 Taylor with 2021 Phoebe, a popular artist primarily known by Gen Z. It’s poignant to hear a 31-year-old Taylor Swift sing about her prior fears about someone, specifically five years younger, becoming the next best thing and saying how she “got the map from her [me].” If Taylor was aware of the fact that Phoebe is five years younger than her remains unknown, either way, the song points to how forward-thinking and calculated Taylor is.
“Message In A Bottle” and “The Very First Night” are perfect pop songs that we were deprived of until now, and they are perfect songs to dance to with the thought of someone in mind. It makes sense why they may have been taken off the original Red album since they don’t exactly match the melancholy, autumn break-up vibe; however, I’m forever grateful for the fact that the re-recordings have given her the opportunity to uncover these gems.
With tracks like, “Better Man,” ‘Babe,” and “I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton)” we got a glimpse of her country twang and songs about that person that we know all too well. And of course, the lyrics “I bet you think of me when you say “oh my god, she’s insane, she wrote a song about me,” are a nod to the beloved1989 crazed single “Blank Space.”
“Run” is another feature with Ed Sheeran that made its way onto the album and gives us an upbeat, beautiful song between two friends that encompass change and love. On the other hand, “Forever Winter” gives us a slower tempo yet beautiful ballad set around anxiety and mental health.
Lastly, Taylor Swift has finally answered the prayers of her fans and blessed us with the “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” that encapsulates all the pain and grief of the first version and turns it into an even bigger masterpiece. Swift turned this song into a confessional, painting scenes of him charming her father and an actress comforting her when he didn’t show up to her 21st birthday, on top of quoting her father saying, “it’s supposed to be fun, turning 21.” If we thought this song couldn’t be any crueler, this 10-minute version proved us wrong. Not only is it more gut-wrenching, but Taylor does not hold back on her snark, especially with her punchline of, “I’ll get older but your lovers will stay my age.” Accompanied by a short film that can be found here or at AMC theatres in New York, Taylor encourages us to see just how wrong and painful this all was, yet she encapsulates it with so much beauty and rawness that we feel the pain with her.
With the release of Red (Taylor’s Version), Taylor Swift has become the most-streamed female in a day, with the album also becoming the most-streamed in a day by a female in all of Spotify’s history! Swift continues to outdo herself and manages to make her old classics become modern hits, plus she gets the rights of her music back by doing so.