Taylor Swift’s “Red” Too Mainstream or A Perfect Collaboration?

Paige Solomon ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

Taylor Swift’s album “Red” was released today (Oct. 22).
Photo via http://www.yenra.com/wiki/images/Taylor-swift-red.jpg

“Losing him was blue like I’d never known/ Missing him was dark grey all alone/ Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met/ But loving him was red/ Loving him was red”

Sounds, emotions and colors, OH MY! Taylor Swift’s much anticipated album, Red, was finally released on Oct. 22 and it shows a new side of Swift that is sure to surprise fans in many ways.

Red delivers country music, pop, and acoustics, along with two beautiful collaborations. Swift’s songs range from singing about regretting being with somebody to longing for that one person to falling in love (what else do you expect out of a Taylor Swift album?). Classic Swift meets new Swift in Red.

After Swift’s first album titled Taylor Swift, she came out with a refined sound that caught people’s attention in 2008 with her second album, Fearless. Fearless combined a pop and country sound that resonated with fans and from there it just kept getting better. With her third album in 2010, Speak Now, Swift captivated young teenage girls that could relate to songs about falling in love, fairytales and darker sides of relationships. Now there is Red, a grown up version of Swift’s past albums.

Swift’s title song, “Red,” song has its moments, which are reminiscent of classic Taylor Swift, but with that pop sound we have come to know recently. The chorus is where she loses me though when in the background “R-r-r-red” is repeated over and over again.

Other songs that made me reminiscent of her past work are “I Almost Do,” “All Too Well,” “Stay Stay Stay,” “Holy Ground,”  “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” and “Begin Again.” “Stay Stay Stay” was by far the most country sounding song on the album, which was refreshing from the rest of the album where the country sound was limited and in some instances almost not apparent where it seemed like it was supposed to be.

“Begin Again” and “Sad Beautiful Tragic” were two of my favorites off of this album though, along with another notable song, “Treacherous.” “Begin Again,” released on Sept. 25, reassured fans of the classic sound of Taylor Swift that was not present in some of her other singles. What I like about this song also is that I could see it being on Fearless or Speak Now. “Sad Beautiful Tragic” is also a beautiful song that is soothing and slow, reminding me of “Innocent” and “Untouchable.” “Treacherous” is also very slow but then builds up to a faster pace. Swift sings it beautifully and the chorus on this track gives me chills, one of the better choruses on the album.

Another song to take note of is “State of Grace.” Swift experiments with different sounds that do not stray from what we love about her sound. The drums combined with the tones in Swift’s voice combine to form a great song. Throw in all the other elements of the song and this is a really great example of the range of new sounds (instrumental and vocal) that she can pull off without losing what makes her music so great.

“The Lucky One” also shows Swift’s wide range, but this time I am talking about topics her songs center around. This song is about fame and the business she is in rather than love and heart break. “22,” is another one that, although it touches on heartbreak and finding a new guy, gives insight into a different side of Swift’s life, being 22. Rumored to be about Conor Kennedy’s grandparents, “Starlight,” is about love but about a classic love and a love story that is not her own.

As for the incredible collaborations on this album, not only are they beautifully executed, but the fact that two voices can compliment each other so perfectly is astounding. “The Last Time” featuring Gary Lightbody reminds me so much of “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from Once (the hit Broadway musical). I only mention this because the tones in their voices go hand in hand so perfectly it just makes for a beautiful song like the one from Once. The other collaboration on this album was for the song “Everything has Changed,” featuring Ed Sheeran. This song has a new sound that is different for Swift, but it works. With the assistance of Sheeran’s soothing voice, this is a solid piece that once again shows Swift’s range in new sounds and rhythms.

Fortunately, Red has a lot of good songs that remind me of what I like so much about Taylor Swift and also adds new elements that surprised me in a good way. Unfortunately, there were also more songs than I expected that I do not care for. This is only because I prefer the acoustic and country sounds that Swift’s songs have compared to the completely pop dominated sound.

“I Knew You Were Trouble” has grown on me since listening to it a few times. It is very catchy and the dubstep element surprised me. I do like this song, but not as a Taylor Swift song. “22” reminded me of something that KE$HA or Avril Lavigne would sing. It is a punk, sometimes auto tuned sounding, song that does not belong on this album. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is by far my least favorite song out of the group as it is too mainstream pop.

Overall, this is a great album, with a lot of new and mainstream elements that combine to give Red an edge. Two thumbs up!

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