Released on Nov. 12, Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version)” holds onto the integrity of the original tracks the album remixes, but Swift makes them her own by giving them a pop beat rather than their original country vibe.
Spanning two hours and 10 minutes, the 30-track album has only one skip — “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version).” However, Swift’s storytelling capability through her lyricism makes “Red (Taylor’s Version)” an outstanding record and worth the stream.
Swift bounces from rock to country to pop genres throughout the first 20 tracks, resembling the rollercoaster of emotions that accompanies a heartbreak. She delves into a torturous relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal and contrasts that relationship with her summer fling with Conner Kennedy.
“All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
Gyllenhaal got it rough when “Red” (2012) released, being the focus of tracks like “All Too Well,” “The Moment I Knew” and “The Last Time (Feat. Gary Lightbody).” But Gyllenhaal is in for a tougher ride this time around, as he has “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” added to the repertoire of songs about him.
The relationship between 20-year-old Swift and 29-year-old Gyllenhaal brought about Swift’s most devastating and magnificent songwriting about love, trust and loyalty that is not reciprocated: “You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath.”
Inspiring a 10-minute song with almost 7 million streams on Spotify within its initial release, the last track of the album is definitely worth a listen as she reflects on a relationship with an unfair power dynamic and a drastic age gap: “And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes / I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age.”
“The Moment I Knew (Taylor’s Version)”
The 17th track ties into “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” as she tells the story of how she realized that he wasn’t the one. She tells the story of her 21st birthday party where Gyllenhaal didn’t show up: “And they're all standing around me, singing / "Happy birthday to you" / But there was one thing missing / And that was the moment I knew.” Swift comes full circle with this track as she divulges the importance of being 22 as her 21st birthday was spent waiting for him to show up.
“I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”
A personal favorite, Swift returns to her country roots with this track. She calls out Gyllenhaalfor his mistreatment and calls back to past songs as she references his indie music obsession: “I bet you think about me when you're out / At your cool indie music concerts every week.”
Added to his running list of songs, Swift released two other vault songs regarding their relationship: “Better Man (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault),” and “Babe (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault).” However, they are not new releases as they were songs that she wrote and sold to music groups Big Little Town and Sugarland, respectively.
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version)”
Despite being a pop anthem of 2012, the rerecording just sounds awkward. When Swift sings “we” in the chorus, it sounds like she recorded it for Kidz Bop — high-pitched and weird.
“Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)”
Falling in love after a devastating breakup is difficult, and Swift perfectly notes the differences between the two relationships. Rumored to be about her summer fling with Connor Kennedy, the song shines light on the difficulty of getting used to someone new and forming a new relationship despite insecurities from a past one: “I think it's strange that you think I'm funny 'cause he never did.”
Other tracks that are rumored to be inspired by Kennedy are “Stay Stay Stay (Taylor’s Version),” “Treacherous (Taylors Version)” and “Everything Has Changed (Feat. Ed Sheran) (Taylor’s Version).” The family history of the Kennedys inspired “Starlight (Taylor’s Version)” as Swift left a hidden message in the 2012 lyric booklet that says “For Ethel,” Connor Kennedy’s grandmother.
“Girl At Home (Taylor’s Version)”
On the 2012 “Red” album, “Girl At Home” is an easily skippable track. With the updates that Swift gave the song, it has become a notable track that listeners can sing along to.
Rather than its country vibe in 2012, Swift brings “Girl At Home (Taylor’s Version)” to an 80s pop anthem — similar to her “1989” album. She cuts back on the acoustic aspects of the original and adds a whimsical and dreamy tone to it.
“Nothing New (Feat. Phoebe Bridgers) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)”
Similar to “Never Grow Up” on her 2010 album “Speak Now,” Swift and Bridgers sing about how growing up can be scary: “Lord, what will become of me / Once I've lost my novelty?” The singers’ voices combine for a delicate and beautiful track — one that will definitely bring the audience to tears.
“Run (Feat. Ed Sheeran) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)”
Straying from the rock and pop vibes from the album, Swift and Sheeran shift into an acoustic folk song. Swift connects the songs “Begin Again (Taylor’s Version),” “So you laugh like a child / And I'll sing like no one cares,” and uses this love song to depict getting swept away by someone.
Swift’s “From The Vault” tracks exceed expectations and listeners have clearly shown their excitement as Swift occupies more than half of Spotify’s “Top 50 USA” playlist and outshines her previous set record of most streamed album in a day by a female on Spotify, which is currently at 90.8 streams.
If you’re not convinced to transition to “Red (Taylor’s Version),” listen to the album one time through. Pay close attention to the stories she’s telling and you’ll be sold. Swift phenomenally connects all of the tracks and shows her own vulnerability and growth.