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Red (Taylor’s Version): My Favorite TS Album (So Far)

I still can’t believe it’s been so long since Red originally came out. I was in middle school, that’s insane! Red (Taylor’s Version) is the second of her albums that Taylor Swift has rerecorded so far, meaning she now completely owns the songs on the album, as she should. Red has been the one album I listen to all the way through no matter what I’m doing and what mood I’m in, and now that it has a whopping thirty-one songs I’m going to listen to all of them SO MUCH.

And before I get into everything, here’s a tip: listening to Red (Taylor’s Version) while lying on the floor of your bedroom and looking up at fairy lights or your other decorations is an experience. That’s what I used to do for years with Red, and I know I’ll be doing it for years to come with Red (Taylor’s Version).

Because I want to keep this relatively short, and because I’m sure there will be no shortage of Her Campus articles on this exact topic, I’ll be going over my personal highlights from this album! I won’t exactly be reviewing it since I literally have no choice but to give it a ten out of ten every time, but I hope you enjoy nonetheless!

Lyric Videos

I’m a huge fan of Taylor deciding to drop lyric videos for us fans starting with folklore. I used to learn the lyrics using the lyric book included with her CDs, but since I don’t actually own the CDs for her five most recent albums, nor do I have a CD player in my dorm room, lyric videos help me a lot.

What I especially love about the lyric videos for all of Taylor’s songs is that they fit the aesthetic of the song and album. Look at the lyric video for “22” and you’ll see what I mean: the confetti clearly fits the party vibes of the song, but somehow still fits with the overarching feeling you get from the entirety of Red (Taylor’s Version). This is true of all of her lyric videos, and again, I really really appreciate that they exist.

Top Three Songs from Red and Red (Taylor’s Version)

As I mentioned earlier, I grew up with Red and Red (Taylor’s Version) brings back so many memories even though I really never stopped listening to it. It’s so, so hard to choose favorites with this album, because there’s not a single song on there I dislike. There were some I didn’t like initially when I was younger, but as I grew older I started to appreciate them more and more.

Since these songs were just rerecorded with not much changed at all (though “Girl At Home” definitely felt like it had been changed a bit more than the others), my favorites largely stayed the same. “State of Grace,” of course, is one of my top favorite Taylor Swift songs in general. It was the first of her songs I learned to play on ukulele, and the first song that helped me figure out how to change what key I sing in. In my opinion, it goes a lot harder in Taylor’s Version than in the original, though both are extremely good.

Another age-old favorite of mine is “Everything Has Changed,” featuring Ed Sheeran. I fell in love with the song when I figure heard it, and I love the kind of childhood-love innocence it has with it, especially in the original version’s music video. I have to give props to Ed Sheeran and all of the other artists Taylor collaborated with originally for rerecording the entire song along with her. This song will never get old to me!

And, finally, “Stay Stay Stay” has always been just the bubbly song that portrays what kind of romance I want: “You took the time to memorize me, my fears, my hopes and dreams.” There hasn’t been a single time that song has come on that I haven’t dropped everything to sing along, and that won’t ever change.

From the Vault

Ever the legend, Taylor Swift included seven From the Vault songs, plus three other songs that aren’t necessarily new but are new to the album: “Ronan (Taylor’s Version),” “The Very First Night (Taylor’s Version)” and, of course, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version).” I’ll focus less on those three than the other seven, but believe me when I say “Ronan (Taylor’s Version)” is just as emotional as when I first heard it years ago.

Because these were songs that didn’t quite make the cut for Red, all of them still keep the feeling of the album while giving the feeling of being completely new to us fans. That’s, of course, because they are new to us. “Better Man (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault),” though, has been one of the From the Vault songs that fans have been eagerly awaiting for years, and I can definitely understand the hype; it feels like the perfect blend between her old country style and her Red-era style.

The lyrics still hit hard after so long; it’s hard to think that I was ten when I first started singing these songs, but the inclusion of lyrics like from “Nothing New (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” already hit close to home: “How can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?” I’m only 19 now, but I already feel like I can relate to this line, because I definitely know nothing right now.

Following the trend of me liking collaborations between Taylor and Ed Sheeran, I think “Run (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” is my favorite From the Vault song, followed closely by “Babe (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault).” “Babe” was originally a collaboration between Taylor and Sugarland, but I have to say that this version hits differently, though both are amazing. Seriously, I don’t think there’s a single From the Vault song I don’t like.

All Too Well: The Short Film

When I tell you I ugly cried because of this short film, I ugly cried. Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien were perfect to cast as “her” and “him,” as the credits list them. There were so many heart-wrenching moments, especially with the clear portrayal of the difference in Taylor Swift’s and Jake Gyllenhaal’s ages (shown by the difference in Sadie and Dylan’s) and how their relationship played out. Everything from the music to the setting to the dialogue was perfectly done and I could feel the raw emotion put into it.

“All Too Well” has always been one of my favorite songs on Red and one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs to sing dramatically in the shower (despite never having my heart broken like that), and with the ten minute version and the film, I feel like I really won the lottery by being a Swiftie. This is definitely my new go-to for when I feel like crying. The storytelling is just so gorgeous, especially with all of the easter eggs, I don’t really know how else I can describe it.

I cannot overstate how amazing of an experience listening to this album is, time after time. I highly recommend listening to it, even if you’re new to Taylor Swift’s music. I hope if you do you enjoy it!

Nina Fichera

Geneseo '24

Nina Fichera is an avid writer and reader, and can often be found writing somewhere (usually in her room) with her trusty journal. She is working towards an English degree, with the hopes of becoming a Creative Writing professor.
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