On November 12th, the queen of fall herself dropped her most fall-esque album to date. Red (Taylor’s Version) embodies the essence of fall as it was inspired by the season that the relationship of the album occurred. Red (Taylor’s Version) is the next album that Swift is re-recording following her other album Fearless (Taylor’s Version) back in April. The timing was perfect as the original dropped October 22, 2012, so Swift releasing it on November 12 just makes sense and keeps the whole fall vibe to the album. So Red (Taylor’s Version) includes the original 20 songs on the deluxe version of Red and 10 vault tracks and a message from Taylor herself talking about the significance of the album, so this was a lot to listen to. I did of course and here are my thoughts on Red (Taylor’s Version).
The Original 20
I actually listened to these songs first before going into the new songs cause I really wanted to see how Taylor would change some of my favorite songs. Referring back to Fearless (Taylor’s Version), the songs this time have more of a variation and more significant change to it while still keeping it to the true song. Probably because Red is one of my top two favorite Taylor albums (1989 is first) I could definitely tell the differences from the original versions. My favorite song “Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)” sounds much more lively and richer as the instruments are clearer and her voice is deeper. The same thing could be seen throughout the album as she actually strives to make a difference in the songs. In one of the deluxe tracks, “Girl at Home (Taylor’s Version)”, as someone who had this song on heavy rotation during 2020, I could notice the difference at the first second. Swift turned this country-pop song to have a more electro-pop sound which is similar to the whole sound of 1989 (hopefully she re-records this next!). “Girl at Home (Taylor’s Version)” resembles the sound that “New Romantics” off of 1989 embodies. Overall, across the original 20 songs, the differences in the instruments and the development of Taylor’s voice make replacing the stolen version much easier. It is hard saying goodbye to the original songs as I find myself revisiting the 2012 album every year but the effort in the new songs makes up for it as now it is finally in Swift’s possession.
From the Vault
With every re-recording, there are songs from that era that did not make it on the original that Taylor records to put on the new version. The vault tracks in a sense continue the story that the original left off at and we get more of a picture of her feelings and state at the time of writing the album. One of the vault tracks happened to be a long-awaited fan favorite, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” which is one of the highly anticipated songs on the album so far. I remember being on Tumblr seeing the rumors of this song as Taylor hinted of this version on her page constantly. So seeing the vault tracks list before and seeing this song on there was such a surprise because of how long she teased this song. The song exceeded my expectations as I thought that it would be a continuation of the original. Instead, it was a completely different version. The instruments make the song sound much more bitter and somber compared to the original. Swift incorporates verses throughout the song that adds more to the story. “Ronan (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” tugs on the heartstrings as she sings about 3-year-old Ronan Thompson who died of cancer. This is one of the more emotional songs as Taylor sings about Ronan while the overall sound of the song captures the somberness. In “Nothing New” (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)[Feat. Phoebe Bridgers]” Taylor with the help of Phoebe Bridgers sings about the troubles of growing up and realizing that there’s still more to learn. The lyrics, “How could a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22” is the direct opposite feeling about turning 22 as we see in “22(Taylor’s Version)”. At last my personal favorites from the new vault’s tracks have to be “Babe (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” and “Message in a Bottle (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”. “Babe (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” features that country-pop sound of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version) and “22 (Taylor’s Version)”. “Message in a Bottle (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” has a sound that is similar to 1989 with a more pop-synth-sounding vibe. Red(Taylor’s Version) is an album that truly captures the autumn season with the heartbreak and the ups and downs with love as it tries to capture all those feelings while going through autumn. This album truly showcases Swift’s songwriting and her ability to tell her emotions through words. The vault tracks definitely give Red (Taylor’s Version) a chance to show its full potential. Overall, this album is a 9/10 and I can’t wait to see which one of her albums she will re-record!