Why Taylor Swift's Red is Her Best Album

For everyone who grew up listening to Taylor Swift, there are special places each album holds in their hearts. For over a decade now, people have been crying and dancing and singing along to her music and (with the exception of a couple of songs), it holds up pretty well. While I love them all dearly, Red is far and above her best album. Here’s why:

 

It’s vulnerable

Red, with songs like “I Almost Do” and “Sad Beautiful Tragic” and the incredible “All Too Well,” is open and vulnerable and heartbreaking while still being so articulate, which is one of the great strengths of it. The vulnerability is why those songs have resonated and made people feel in ways that no other songs she’s written have since. There’s an ongoing joke that track 5 of every one of her albums is the “crying song” and Red is no different. "All Too Well" is the song that has gotten me and literally half my friends through the most devastating of breakups, and that’s saying something.

 

It’s messy

The album was written when Swift was in her early 20s and reflects the messiness of that period. “22” is fun and upbeat, but still shows that feeling of being lost and unsure of what’s next. “Stay Stay Stay” is another one that feels messy, what with the opener “I’m pretty sure we almost broke up last night,” but ultimately feels happy and hopeful. Aside from the content of the songs themselves, one of the reasons Red didn’t originally get a lot of good press is because the order of the album is messy. It could’ve been organized better to flow more cohesively, but the songs all shine on their own and that says a lot. Seven years later, the messiness is a strength because it feels real.

 

It’s hopeful

Red, even with all the tears and hurt and heartbreak, is ultimately a hopeful album. It ends with “Begin Again,” which perfectly sums up the feeling of finally being able to dive back into love after being hurt. That, along with songs like “Everything Has Changed” and “Starlight” create an image of someone who has definitely been burned and hasn’t forgotten but is also willing to let go in hopes of finding something beautiful. It’s resonant in a world where sometimes a little light at the end of the tunnel is all we need.

Red culminates as a beautiful, heartbroken, yet hopeful snapshot of what it’s like to love in your 20s. It’s heartbreaking and full of pain but also sweetened with something that looks like the beginning of a happy ending, and this variety is what makes it so good.

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