Artist takes baby steps in new territory, retains tonal consistency
In Taylor Swift’s own words her fourth hit album “Red” is about red relationships, the ones you wish you never had or look back and learn from.
Unlike her previous albums, the songs have taken a step back from country roots and transitioned into hipster pop.
Swift remains honest in her lyrics, laying her emotions out for the world and wearing her heart on her sleeve. She experiments with her vocals and steps out of her comfort zone.
Unfortunately, trying new things doesn’t always work.
STATE OF GRACE
The album begins with Swift having been blindsided by love. Things go well, then as in many relationships something goes wrong, but feels “this is a worthwhile fight/love is a ruthless game/unless you play it right.” There is an indie rock feeling that is not typical Swift at all. Overall, it’s lyrically refreshing.
Red is about not being able to move on from a relationship. “Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met,” Swift sings. This song is very relatable and packs a punch. The chorus, on the other hand, is choppy and confusing.
Swift channels her country roots in this twangy tune and owns up to her part in failed relationships. “This slope is treacherous/And I, I, I like it.” She knows the guy is no good for her but she just can’t help herself. She exposes a weakness and does so in a graceful way.
I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE
This song gives me mixed feelings. Swift admits the guy she writes about is not the only one to blame for a failed relationship. For me this is an Hallelujah moment. “I guess you didn’t care/And I guess I liked that.” She is setting herself up for disappointment. This would be one of the best songs on the album if it weren’t for annoying repetition.
ALL TOO WELL
This is yet another depressing confessional full of boring details. But then out of the blue Swift channels her inner country and does it all too well (pun intended). “Hey you called me up again just to break me like a promise/So casually cool in the name of being honest.” This song channels Carrie Underwood in a way.
The song opens with an acoustic guitar and quickly dives in to hipster mash up that makes you want to go out and forget about everything except having fun. “It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters/And make fun of our exes.” There is some country vibe but not nearly enough to qualify it as a true country song. “We’re happy free confused and lonely at the same time” hits the nail on the head with how every twenty something year old feels.
I ALMOST DO
It’s back to the country tempo in this song about wanting an ex back but restraining herself from what she wants. It’s the most insightful and complex song on “Red.” “I wish I could run to you/I l almost do.” Heartwarming and beautifully written.
WE ARE NEVER EVER EVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER
As I enjoy Swift’s twangy lyrics this is the best pop song she has done and I find myself dancing and singing at the top of my lungs in the car to this catchy song. “You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me/But we are never ever ever ever getting back together.” She tells it like it is.
STAY STAY STAY
This song is about finding the right guy after having dated “self-indulgent takers” and making it work when they get into a fight. Its sweet but annoying, annoying, annoying.
THE LAST TIME
Swift teams up with Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and the two work beautifully together. This song is dark and romantic at the same time and by far the most mature track on the album. It could introduce Swift to a whole new world of fans.
New love, loss and remembering what it was like. This song is catchy, fast and heart pounding! It’s definitely something to dance around to.
SAD TRAGIC BEAUTIFUL
This tear jerking lyrical melody reminisces about a lost love. Swift channels every heartbreak she’s ever suffered and takes the emotions and turns them into beautiful poetry. This song brings heartache to the front of your mind and is so deeply profound.
THE LUCKY ONE
This song combines serious relationship problems with an upbeat and fun vibe. The music and words complement each other well and balance out nicely.
EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED
Back to the acoustic guitar for this one as Swift teams up with Ed Sheeran. This song further backs what any Swift fan already knows—she works magic when singing duets. This song is powerful but not in your face.
There is no doubt that this one is about her most recent relationship with Conor Kennedy. references are made to yacht club parties and pretending to be someone else like they are in a fairy tale. It’s full of fluff but not really deep or profound. In fact, it’s quite nauseating.
This song is really incredible; the guitars combined with Swift’s urgent tone make for a great ending. It reminds me of the still burning embers left over from a raging fire. Passionate and fierce, but in a subtle way.
OVERALL: 3/5 STARS