Re-recorded ‘Red’ brings Taylor Swift fans strong emotions

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 at 12:07 PM
Re-recorded ‘Red’ brings Taylor Swift fans strong emotions  by Emma McNeeley
Swift at the live premiere for All Too Well Short Film in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss from Getty Images.

In order to regain ownership over the songs she wrote, Taylor Swift has been re-recording her first six albums. On Nov. 12 she released “Red (Taylor’s Version),” the second album of her discography to be re-recorded following suit after “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” which was released in April 2021. 

Even before the re-recordings, “Red” was always one of Swift’s more emotional albums. Compared to the three that came prior, it contained the most heartbreak-related songs. It covered a timeline of Swift’s life, full of emotion and change that came from failed relationships and hurt. With the re-recording, those same emotions were present with the all too familiar songs fans remembered. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” contains 30 tracks with familiar favorites and bonus songs from the vault. 

From “State of Grace (Taylor’s Version)” to “Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)” there is a sense of familiarity in the lyrics, but the album had a new sense of maturity as Swift’s vocals have changed since the initial release in 2012. Even though I’ve known these songs since I was 10, it still felt like I was hearing them for the first time with the change in her vocals and subtle differences in the instrumentals. 

The original track list featured the fan-favorite heartbreak anthem “All Too Well.” In the vault tracks, much of the fan’s excitement surrounded the ten-minute version of “All Too Well” which also came with a short film featuring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, directed by Swift.  

The song follows a relationship with a beautiful start that quickly falls apart and leaves a heartbreaking impact. “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) [From the Vault]” featured four never before heard verses that explore heartbreak through the lyrics “And there we are again when nobody had to know / You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath.” And later on with “They say all’s well that ends well but I’m in a new hell / Every time you double-cross my mind.” 

Many fans took to social media, especially TikTok, in reaction to the album and the short film. Many said it reminded them of previous relationships and heartbreaks that were awful. One comment left under the music video on YouTube said, “Broke up recently and this song comes out and perfectly describes what I’m going through.”  

Looking back on the other bonus vault songs, we received Swift’s renditions of “Better Man (Taylor’s Version)” a Little Big Town song and “Babe (Taylor’s Version)” sung by Sugarland featuring Swift. Both songs had been written by her originally and passed along, but fans got a sense of how the songs sounded in Swift’s mind when writing them. 

Another highlight on this album includes guest star Phoebe Bridgers on “Nothing New (Taylor’s Version) [From the Vault],” a beautiful coming of age song where the vocalists work well together. Swift and Bridgers bring out the pain behind the lyrics that dive into how women are viewed as young adults.  

This is heard in the opening verse as Swift sings, “They tell you while your young / ‘Girls go out and have your fun’ / Then they hunt and slay the ones who actually do it.” And later on in the song with Bridgers verse, “How can a person know everything at eighteen but nothing at twenty-two?” 

Swift’s vault tracks contained multiple guests, including country artist Chris Stapleton on “I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s version) [From the Vault]” which tells the story of regretting a breakup and thinking about that former partner. She also brings back Ed Sheeran for “Run (Taylor’s Version)” that she previously collaborated with one another “Red” original, “Everything Has Changed.” 

What stood out on the album was that it showed Swift would enter a pop era with the next album. This was expected when we heard “I Knew You Were Trouble,” in 2012. But with the added songs on this album such as “Girl at Home (Taylor’s Version)” and “Message in a Bottle (Taylor’s Version),” fans are shown a re-discovered pop sound from Swift. Fans online have been surprised to hear the songs, wondering what caused them to not make the final cut back in 2012.  

Swift has always conveyed relatable emotions, and this album has had one of the most personal reactions yet from fans online. I definitely have been able to connect and feel as though she has turned unpleasant experiences and sad memories into art that others can feel seen by. With lyrics from the past about heartbreak, and a grown-up Swift reflecting on them, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is one for both new fans and old to connect with. 

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