Swifties everywhere have had the best year of their lives as Taylor Swift has re-recorded not one but two of her albums for fans to enjoy all over again. On Nov. 12, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” dropped after much anticipation.
After not being given the opportunity to own her music, Swift decided to re-record her albums done with Big Machine Records so she would have the rights to her own work, as she should. This movement of hers has been inspiring to me as a female to do things my own way.
Now, on to the music. We get old radio favorites like “22” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” but there are also tracks “From-the-Vault” that didn’t make it on the original record. A very impressive and talented lineup of featured artists join Swift as well, including Ed Sheeran, Phoebe Bridgers, Chris Stapleton and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. These four add another layer of dimension and texture to Swift’s already astounding work.
When the original “Red” came out, I was 11 years old. I am a long-time Swiftie and have had her music on repeat ever since my main source of entertainment was my Barbie MP3 player in kindergarten.
Of course, I didn’t really grasp or comprehend the weight of her elite lyricism stemming from real-life experiences back then, so getting to listen as a 20-year-old has been an experience I haven’t received from other artists.
I cannot say enough great things about the growth and maturity in Swift’s voice on this re-recording. The songs are exactly the same, but just being able to hear how her vocals have become even vaster is incredible. It’s as if you can hear the finality of revisiting and conquering her old work as well as her personal struggles.
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In her heartbreaking duet with Bridgers called “Nothing New,” Swift sings about doing what typical women in their twenties do, dating and having fun, which is what society deems normal. However, as soon as women actually do those things, we are shamed and name-called. The pair sing through this melancholy tune to a soft piano in the background, but somehow it has a punch just as hard as a loud and upbeat track.
This song includes a line that says, “Will you still want me when I’m nothing new,” that honestly made my chest hurt when I heard it. I connected it to her “1989” song “Call It What You Want” when she sings, “Loves me like I’m brand new,” and this made me happy to know Swift found a relationship that isn’t total garbage.
One song that I was most excited to rediscover is “The Last Time” featuring Gary Lightbody. This is one that wasn’t super popular when the original came out, so I sort of skimmed over it, but I now realize it might be one of my favorite duets. The lyrics, drums and guitars all build perfectly together, and I just can’t stop listening.
And of course, the moment we have all been waiting for … “All Too Well (10-minute version).” Every lyric in this song hits home in a whole new way. The added verses, which were originally supposed to be included, truly complete this track in the way it was meant to be heard (and spills some tea). I can’t listen to the original anymore, only the 10-minute version is acceptable from now on.
The number of times I have screamed this song in my car might be slightly unhealthy. Am I heartbroken? Quite the opposite, actually. Do I even have anything to be sad about? No, not really. But that doesn’t stop me from taking the long way to school every day so I can fit the whole song into my drive.
There are rumors that “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is just around the corner, so we might be blessed once again before the year is up.