Taylor Swift ‘Red’ 2012

redalbumcover

A Brief Background

Taylor Swift has become a household name worldwide, starting as a country singer with a ‘girl next door’ image musically and physically – Swift broke onto the scene in the UK with ‘Love Story’ and the rest is history! She has became the highest grossing country singer and her albums ‘Red’ and ‘1989’ won album of the year at the two years running.
Today we look at ‘Red’, the singles released from ‘Red’ and their peaks are as follows;

Red (Album): US #1, UK #1
We Are Never Getting Back Together: US #1, UK #4
Begin Again:US #7, UK #30
I Knew You Were Trouble: US #2, UK #2
22: US #20, UK #9
Red (Single): US #6, UK #26
Everything Has Changed: US #32, UK #7
The Last Time: US N/A, UK #25

For our ‘1989’ click here – Taylor Swift ‘1989’ 2014


The Review – Luke and Jordan

1) State of Grace           *Audio*

(T.Swift)
As soon as the ‘Play’ button has been pressed, this seems like a great opener with gradual building drums and escalating guitar riffs – almost punky. Taylor then graces us with her vocals, singing about who ‘we’ are in metaphorical terms. The track seems to work well as an interlude, as there isn’t much of a chorus to grab on to, it’s quite wishy-washy. The song starts to pick up by the third verse though with faster paced vocals and heavier beats, but it’s a shame it came in so late. The song starts to outstay it’s welcome with its repetitive chorus – however if the chorus had more girth to it, then it would have been welcomed. It is strangely feel good. 4/10
An exciting beginning sound, Taylor begins to tell her story in song. The instrumental is a saving grace for this track. A casual listener may not appreciate the lyrics upon first listen. I like how the song ends, the arrangement is done beautifully; although it is quite  along track. 5/10

 

2) Red              *Audio*

(T.Swift)
As soon as the song switches to ‘Red’ a different sound becomes obvious straight away, we are taken to the southern part of America. Then T-Swizzle reintroduces us to drums and some beats to keep us entertained. The hook she supplies “Re..eh..eh..eh…” is a great way to grasp the listeners attention; and the other features “Loving him was blue” is very clever and a great lyrical moment – I wish she played on this more. This fast paced track also gives us strong vocal moments and adlibs and by the middle 8 we are given an electric guitar moment which is very refreshing and exciting. This track majorly outshines ‘State of Grace’ I do wish however that she would sing with some more diction – I am struggling to understand her. 8/10
I love the guitar riff at the beginning, the music is simply beautiful with Taylor Swift’s vocals and a pop/country feel. The hook on “Red” is the pop element which is easy to grasp. Describing different colours of feelings but “Loving him was red” means strong, passionate, angry, hot, painful. The production is great with different musical moments and instruments which spiced up the song. On the last sentence, she takes us down low which ends the song nicely – this song would have been a great opening track to the album. 9/10

3) Treacherous          *Audio*

(T.Swift, D.Wilson)
A more mellow sounding guitar riff now, and this is the same with Taylor’s vocals – I much prefer this Taylor Swift to the schreechy “BABY NOW WE GO BAD BLOOD HEY” which is jarring. The sentiment in the song is very nice and I can picture her singing her heart out to this song, but it’s bland. Similarly to “State of Grace” the song picks up towards the end of the track – but by this time, I probably would have skipped it. Sorry, not my bag! 4/10
Another calming moment where the lyrical content is at the forefront, rather than the instrumental. The song does pick up musically during the second verse, then you are taken to a quieter moment before it picks up again. 4/10

 

4) I Knew You Were Trouble           *Video*

(T.Swift, M.Martin, Shellback)
Wow, the pace has been picked up with this cute little number hasn’t it? Another very strong song lyrically but also musically. The builds from Taylor in the bridge are fantastic, the arrangements get gradually faster and then suddenly there’s a drop in the music and a dub-step sound appears. I must commend Taylor Swift for incorporating modern sounds with her country roots, no matter how subtle – it’s different to chart music at the time of release and just as attainable. Lyrically, you can see Taylor has been scorned previously and she lets her emotions and past experiences out through song. A great tune. 9/10
A deep lyrical song with a hot and captivating beat, the pre-chorus cools it down but you’re built up to “Lying on the cold, hard ground” followed by a heavy bass and dubstep moment, which isn’t expected from Taylor Swift; and at the time wasn’t as common int he pop industry.  You just want to jump around the room to this song, it’s an instant hit – and I knew this before it was released as a sing that it was going to be something special. She supplied great vocals that are full of passion, and it is an iconic Taylor Swift song that has influenced other pop acts to venture into the field of dub-step. 9.5/10

 

5) All Too Well         *Audio*

(T.Swift, L.Rose)
The formula of this album is growing tiresome now – we seem to be going ‘Good song, bland song, good song, bland song’ and this is another bland song. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the lyrical content but it’s the instrumental that doesn’t seem to fit the vocal arrangement especially around the second verse. Once again, the song picks up towards the end of the track becoming heavier and more commercial…  This should have been done earlier on. I will say that her vocals sound good, even though the track is drab – One of the best uplifting parts of the song comes from the unknown male singer, the voices blend very well. 4/10

Another beautiful melody followed by those amazing lyrics that tell as story. A wonderful chorus. The male backing vocals help give the song something extra, she takes you to another level and the story is incredible emotional – I can’t help but have a tear in my eye. 9.5/10

 

6) 22           *Video*

(T.Swift, M.Martin, Shellback)
Yes, a fun bop! You can almost feel the fun seeping out of the speakers, Vocally, you can hear Taylor having fun and singing from emotion memory and it’s nice to hear, as a lot of artists don’t do this. The backing “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway? Eww” Is particularly fun! I can see 22 year olds everywhere singing this (I will admit, my friends and I did). The vocal arrangement of the chorus is a great hook, how the inflections come after “22” and “you keep me next to you” This is definitely a song to play when getting ready to go out. 7.5/10
A fun track for Taylor to sing, a catchy pop track and chorus with some nice adlibs! 8.5/10

 

7) I Almost Do           *Audio*

(T.Swift)
Still following that formula… I will admit, this song is slighty better than the other ballads we have heard thus far, the hook is easier to grasp and a great lyrical moment with “I Bet” leading her off to sing about anything she likes. This track is reminiscent of something from a Disney movie, I can see The Little Mermaid singing this – One of my favorite moments here is when she lets out little falsetto moments which almost sound like whispers “It takes everything in me“, they are sweet and she comes across in a vulnerable light in conjunction with the lyrics. This is a sound that I can imagine Miley Cyrus pursuing if she didn’t start twerking on huge teddy bears. 6/10
It’s about splitting up with someone but wanting to get back with them and almost doing so but being scared to. A great mid-temp with some exciting moment. 8/10

 

8) We Are Never Getting Back Together           *Video*

(T.Swift, M.Martin, Shellback)
Oh and would you look at that… a good track! Predictable much.
I can see why this was the lead single from the album – it presents Taylor in a different light whilst still attaining a ‘Girl Next Door’ image. Taylor still has that “Swift sounds” we have become accustomed to whilst incorporating heavier beats to accompany her and it works well coinciding with the song’s slightly aggressive theme. The middle 8 is refreshing compared to the rest of the song, with her sweet vocals and then her ‘talky’ part. This has become something of a female empowerment song and it’s easy to see why. 7/10
Another fun track with a simple message. The pop beats and catchy “ooohs” give the audience something to grasp. The fact she talks in the song, gives it a more personal feel, and you invest into Taylor as a person, almost like she is talking to you as a friend about a personal relationship. A pop song all the same that will do well in the charts. 8.5/10

 

9) Stay Stay Stay            *Audio*

(T.Swift)
How chirpy! I’m so pleased she has broken this formula with an uplifting song even though the opening lyrics are “I’m pretty sure we broke up last night” it’s a pretty strange juxtaposition. Again that male vocal blends well with Taylor’s naturally high vocals. The chorus is very easy to grasp and I imagine this would be a single if she released another from the album. The vocal overlays in the background towards the end of the track work very well and boosts the song up a notch. 7/10
A fun child-like instrumental is that a ukulele? A nice love song that talks about relationship ups and downs but regardless they should stay together. 8/10

 

10) The Last Time (Feat. Gary Lightbody)           *Live*

(T.Swift, G.Lightbody, J.Lee)
From the beginning tones, this sounds like a funeral song if I ever heard one. Then as soon as Taylor appears, there is almost a military style drum roll in the background, followed by strong violins which make for a very dramatic instrumental. I love the lyrics “You break my heart in the blink of an eye” it’s unique. I think the violins in the instrumental produces a hook rather than the actual lyrics. Unfortunately, this does sound more like a Snow Patrol song rather than a Taylor Swift track, and I’d love to see what Gary Lightbody sounds like singing along to a country styled song. 4/10
A deeper emotional track, a piano leading melody that’s quite depressing. Then an outburst of emotion in the chorus. The build on the word “Me” which transitions into the chorus is a nice touch, the instrumental break is a nice chance to appreciate the melody before it kicks in to the heightened emotional state of singing. It does get slightly repetitive towards the end. 7/10

 

11) Holy Ground         *Audio*

(T.Swift)
I’m pleased she has pulled this track out of the bag, I assumed we would start mellowing out even more towards the end of the album. The introduction was calming and them BAM she kicks in with those fast paced vocals. I love how the song takes a turn and the song starts to mellow out in the bridge and then comes back in with a kick. I’m struggling to identify where the chorus is in this song, it’s all blending into one verse (I think this is due to the constant instrumental) – after a couple of listens I’ll be able to identify more.
It’s a great kick up the bum when I started to drop off to sleep – 6/10
She likes her builds of instruments and no surprise, they work exceptionally well with her vocals. This formula works well for her and this is a nice song, but not one that stands out. 6.5/10


 

12) Sad Beautiful Tragic             *Audio*

(T.Swift)
I see what Taylor is trying to do with this track and the potential is astounding – the backing guitar/harp sounds are so different and reminiscent of an Italian/French song and the melody of the track is beautiful but it’s just not working as a song on it’s own merits, it doesn’t really go anywhere and comes across as quite monotone until the end where Taylor’s Adlibs/overlays come in. It’s a very strong song lyrically but I think it would works as an amazing interlude as opposed to a track. 5/10
An interlude sounding song, it really changes the mood of the album to a relaxing and slightly sad moment. 5/10

 

13) The Lucky One          *Audio*

(T.Swift)
I am really into the story Taylor is portraying with the lyrics in this track, from the outset I was gripped – until the chorus came in which sounds like a prequel to ‘Out of the woods’. The verses are definitely stronger than the chorus is. Is the story an interpretation of Swift’s rise to fame?  Or how fickle the world of showbiz is? I’ll leave that up to you!
This track is quite mellow, but a foot tapper at the same time – The song is packed with lyrics and I’d need to hear it a few more times to appreciate everything she is singing. I hate to say it, but the chorus really lets the song down, it’s not as deep or emotionally stirring as the verses. 6/10
Is she talking about the negatives of being famous? The world tells you you’re lucky but the reality is it’s an unstable point in your life where it can all change in the blink of an eye. She realises now that the lucky ones are the ones that have escaped from the madness of being a star. 7/10

14) Everything Has Changed (Feat. Ed Sheeran)       *Audio*

(T.Swift, E.Sheeran)
This song has a nice hook “I just wanna know you better know” even though it’s very repetitive – It’s more memorable than the song’s title. It’s yet another mid-tempo track with a nice simple middle 8 with just Taylor and her guitar. I don’t think Ed was necessarily needed for this track, he is barely heard until his verse. It is nice to hear his subtle “oooh” overlays at the end of the song though. It’s nice but there’s not much else to say about it, very middle of the road. 5/10
Another ballad about a relationship breaking down, it’s another nice song but the repetitive “know you better now” is old and they should come up with more lyrics to compensate. 6.5/10

15) Starlight            *Audio*

(T.Swift)
When this track started I thought it was going to be a banger of a club tune, there was a great build and it really got me excited, then suddenly her guitar came in and took the song back down which really disappointed me. The chorus does make up for this, it’s a foot tapper and the “Dancing, dancing” hook is contagious, I like how the song is almost Taylor’s most inner thoughts about the perfect night. 6.5/10
 After the previous mellow tracks, ‘Starlight’ is a slight uplift before the album comes to an end, country elements become obvious here with an upbeat pop chorus which is enjoyable to listen to. The melody is nice with the use of piano riff, drums, guitars and bass, a good vocal from Swift also. 7.5/10 

 

16) Begin Again            *Video*

(T.Swift)
Straight away, this reminds me of old school Taylor Swift, and with this track being at the end of the album it’s almost like a goodbye to the old sound whilst saying hello to the new sound, especially when considering the title is “Begin Again” it’s like a reinvention of sorts. The different vocal arrangements are sweet with several inflections and then a couple of deeper moments. The instrumental reminds me of the sad moment in ‘The Fox and The Hound’ where the old lady dumps the fox in the woods. I like how there’s a subtle lift in the pre-chorus, it reminds me of a country style ‘X Factor’ winner song. I can’t decide if this song is sad or uplifting? It’s kind of in between. It makes for a good closing song though and kind of sums up the albums journey ‘Neither here or there’. 6/10
A quality ballad with a personal story of falling in love with some one deserving. She talks about her personal life beginning again. It’s a sweet and simple melody with sweet and cute lyrics which make you smile and feel happy for Taylor. 8/10

 


 

Overall Scores

Luke – 95/160

Jordan -117.5/160

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