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Red: A Review From a Long-Time Swiftie

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

November 12th finally came

I, along with many other Swifties, have been anticipating Red (Taylor’s Version) since June 18th. When it was initially announced, the release date was November 19. It was later announced that it would be released on November 12th instead, which still seemed so far away. All summer, we were on high alert about a new red single, theories about the next album she will release after red, etc.

In my opinion, Red is The breakup album everyone needs. This re-release was so nostalgic for me because Red was when I became a huge fan and was my first Taylor Swift concert. Swift is known to cross themes and develop different ideas into her albums, but Red is heartbreak and pure anxiety of never knowing a strong love again.

From the vault Ranked: In my Opinion

Message in a Bottle

Don’t come for me, but this is my least favorite song, and I can actually just say I do not like it at all. I don’t like that I don’t like this song because in case you haven’t gathered, I literally worship the ground Taylor Swift walks on. I love the title and idea of the song, but the actual musical production of this song just drives me insane, it’s like that song that never stops playing at your retail job in the mall. I promise it will get better. 


I don’t know what it is about this song that screams the romcom soundtrack, which isn’t a good or bad thing, but to me, it’s entertaining but nothing surprising. The background vocals singing “what about your promises” at the beginning of the song with the simple guitar chords make me feel like I am in that montage in a movie where the character is just trying to move on from someone who didn’t deserve them. This song is super cute and fun, but I remain neutral about this song in a way.

The very first night

This song is good, but it reminds me a lot of track #15 “Starlight” and between the two, I personally like “Starlight” better. There is a vintage, old-timey aesthetic to this song, much like “Starlight”. I think it’s an upbeat bop for the hopeless romantics out there that romanticized their ex. 

I bet you still think about me

The narrative of this song is so comically written and pretty catchy. It’s all about that one ex that made you as though they were better than you. The song goes through a mockery of how her ex is so much “better” now, but he still thinks of her. He seems to have “everything”, including a fancy house and a big social title, but in reality, he is lost without her, without the love she could give him. 

I recommend if you like her previous tracks “Mean” & “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Better Man

This song was originally written for Little Big Town, a lot of swifties, including myself, wanted Swift to record it and release it. So she did. I love this song because it gives me nostalgia of when she was more country. This is definitely going on my night drive playlist.

Forever Winter

This song is so beautiful and lyrically powerful. I especially like this song because though Red is mainly about a break-up, this song is about having a friend or family member dealing with severe mental health issues. It tells how you can never tell when someone is faking a smile and feeling loose with hope. The song takes us through a situation where she is on the phone with a friend who is suggesting that he doesn’t want to live his life. The chorus is a plead to stay alive, and a message of “I am here for you”.

“I’ll be your summer sun forever. Forever winter if you go.”- Ugh this song is so heart-wrenching.

Run (featuring Ed Sheeran)

I do not care, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift always sound perfect together. They have proven they can do both upbeat songs like End Game or classic ballads such as Everything Has Changed.

However, “Run” is my favorite of their collaborations with each other. This song is so gentle, sad, but hopeful all in the same song. The lyrics make it clear that there is a relationship where both partners are so in love, they want nothing more than to just be happy together but there are some outside factors dividing their relationship. This could be unsupportive family, friends or just differences that have come between them, yet they want to hold on. “Besides All Too Well,” this is the one that makes me cry.

Nothing New (Phoebe Bridgers)

Perfection. This is song is raw and vulnerable. I am so glad this song was held back until now because Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift on a track is such a blessing. Their somber voices and harmonies will bring tears to your eye. This song discusses losing their newness or sparkle to the outside perspective and then the internal fear or insecurity that this might be true.

On Late Night With Seth Myers, Swift explains how artists have a struggle to stay relevant after they have their breakthrough moment. This song can be reliable in regards to people who do deal with losing themselves and struggle with personal identity.

All Too Well (10 minutes)

How this whole song makes me feel is almost impossible to put into words. Of course, I am more subjected to love the song due to how much I thrive off Swift’s music and work. I can not help but get lost in the story of this song, it paints a very vivid picture.

In the original recorded version of “All Too Well”, we only get a glimpse of what she was going through compared to the 10-minute version. It sounds like three different songs while flowing together so well. I feel almost speechless about this song, I mean there is nothing to say, the song says it all.

Red Release week

During Red TV release week, she appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy FallonLate Night with Seth Myers as well as performing on Saturday Night Live. In both interviews she has emphasized how much she listens to the fans about what they like, don’t like and participates in what is known as “Taylor lurking”.

I swear people think I am insane when I tell them my theories about who a song is about or an upcoming release. She feeds into our theories and has gotten very good at it too. It’s not my fault that I have to try to pick out a hidden meaning every time Swift Tweets, posts on Instagram or Tiktok. I am simply conditioned to look at the capital letters in her all lower case announcements

It was honestly so refreshing to see Swift joking around on talk shows and connecting with her audience, both in-person and over the t.v. On Late Night with Seth Myers, she discussed her whole purpose for re-recording her album. Swift went on to say how she wanted to own her music and there were certain people (aka Scott Borsheta and Scooter Braun) who made it difficult for her to do so. She stated, “So I figured, I was the one who made it first, so I can make it again. So that’s what we are doing”. Besides being able to own her music, Swift is also able to release never released or “From the Vault” songs that were supposed to be on that album but were cut. Such as “Nothing New (featuring Phoebe Bridgers)” and “Run (featuring Ed Sheeran)”. 

Myers then questioned Swift about how it feels going back to that time in her life and re-recording songs about experiences that were once painful. Swift replied, “It’s nice to put this album out and, like not be sad, not be taking breaks in between interviews to cry. I’m telling you it’s much better this way.”

It’s adorable how much fun she is having with this and creating new projects off of her prior made songs like the “All To Well: The Short Film

All to0 well Short film & performance

What this song did for her, her fans and casual bystanders is amazing.

I first listened to this song at 2 a.m. on Friday, November 12th and I was laying in bed with my AirPods in and lights off. In this version, the instruments sounded as if they were more echoing and strumming along as memories come along. As I was listening to the song, I was so caught off guard on where new lyrics came into place. I watched the short film for the first time Friday night with three people who don’t listen to Taylor Swift and by the end, I felt as though we were all on the same page of being in awe. I adored seeing a positive reaction for this project, especially from people who aren’t particularly her fans.

The film was shot intimately with seamless transition through periods of time. The acting of Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brian was so intense and seemed emotionally draining. The presence and chemistry on-screen are insane, considering most of the film is a silent conversation, facial expression and intimate moments with All Too Well (10 Minute version) playing.

My favorite thing about this song and film is the constant flood of memories. You see the characters deal with several negative situations in the film, but it is “fixed” by the good memories or the ideas of each other that they can’t let go of. I feel like I am driving down memory lane, not only through her perspective but mine as well. In the last 2 minutes of the song, with the repeating lines- “just between us, I remembered it all too well”, “wind in my hair, I was there, I was there”, “down the stairs, I was there, I was there”, to me it felt like all the memories the relationship is washing away with the music. Part of me could feel like there was a realization of a relationship being one-sided, that you knew how you felt and what you experience, but you are now grieving that the feeling wasn’t mutual. I have been there and it is a hard pill to swallow.

Her Saturday Night Live performance hit me hard. I had a lump in my throat, holding back tears the entire time. It was the perfect combo for me. I get emotionally invested when I watch her perform. Before the re-release, I watched her 2014 performance of “All Too Well” at the 56th Grammy Awards about once a week. You can truly see the pain in her eyes the whole time.

This time around, you could see how her passion for this song has grown over time. This song has become a way to connect with her fans. The set for the performance set the mood, there was red lighting with the short film playing in the background as she was performing and then snow falling on the stage at the end of the song. During the performance, she was so present with the music, she physically showed how the music made her feel with her dancing and the way she played her guitar. She continued to make facial expressions and eye contact with the camera, which made the at-home viewers connect with her. This was so wholesome to see a song that once wasn’t a well-known track, now be one of the most listened to and appreciated songs on the album.

On to the next…

Swift has proven and is continuing to prove her place in the music industry. She has shown she can take something that was already produced, and make it better than the time before, which wasn’t even thought to be possible. At the time of her doing all of this, she continues to produce new songs such as “From The Vault” tracks and projects like “All Too Well: The short film”.

With that, I have no doubt she is has something completely new up her sleeve that we can even dream of. As a fellow Swiftie, I find it thrilling to go on this journey of the re-recording process with her. Some people think the next album will be 1989 because of the random drop of “Wildest Dreams”. Some people think that it will be Speak Now, because of the price of her signed Red cd on her website being $20.10 (which is the year Speak Now was released). I revel myself in the theories of TikTok about what album is coming next and I am emotionally invested to see what Miss Swift has in store for us.

Melina Cavella

Kent State '24

Hi! My name is Melina Cavella, and this is my first year being involved with Her Campus. I am currently a Fashion Merchandising at Kent State University. Her Campus has given me a new found enjoyment for writing, and I constantly feel encouraged by the amazing women that are in this chapter with me!
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