the sunday review: "red" by Taylor Swift

…what? What is this ”Sunday review” you speak of? Well, it´s something I´ve been planning to do for years, but am only getting around to doing; yes, you guessed it, I´m posting reviews on Sundays. And now you may think that I already do post reviews; yes, I post book reviews, or at least I pretend to do so while never talking about it in more dept than...I lack a suficient metaphor. Anyway, I´m doing more in-dept music reviews. And requests are very welcome! Especially if you request shit I actually like, and therefore own. Cause I don´t do spotify or grooveshark or any other cool thingy. Oh, and yes. I will review English albums in English and Swedish albums in Swedish. Just simpler that way in every aspect. Now let´s get going, folcs!(and a heads up: this is very long.)


So “red” is Taylor swift´s fourth full lenght studio album (and by full lenght I mean ridiculously long in this case). Taylor was about 21-22 when she wrote it, if that gives you any help in understanding why she does things or whatever. I will do this track-by-track, and there are 16 of them, so this is gonna be long and take a hellish amount of time (since I will listen to the album while writing). Alright, here goes:


01-state of grace

Everyone, and by that I mean everyone, compares this to u2. I don´t know shit about u2, but I see where they´re coming from. It is a great opening track, however, with some interesting lines (“we fall in love till it hurts or bleeds or fades in time”) and simple, yet captivating drums backing Taylor´s arena-rock style vocals. The song is, of course, about love; but in an optimistic way that Swift songs often lack, therefore making it a great opening track. As it progresses, the vocal layers thicken and that´s something I enjoy in all of Taylor´s work.  Personally I enjoy it, but I do not love it and have never sung it (that´s a pretty good way of telling how much I like a song).



This cannot be said about the title track; for this I have sung many a time. I genuinely love it. One reviewer described it as “banjos and vocoders making out like third cousins”, and that is very true. This song blends Swift´s original country with a desidedly pop chorus. Lyrically speaking, she uses very effective tools here, the most prominent of these being pronouns. Instead of the bland “losing you was blue like I never knew” she sings “losing him was blue like I never knew”. This makes the song so much more ineresting. It also contains an endless string of metaphors, which nearly always work out brilliantly. The exceptions are when she compares things to what they are, for instance “regretting him was like wishing you never found out that love could be that strong”. It´s not like it, but that is exactly what it was. Still, I absolutely love the song, and the mix of styles is very telling about this whole album. It may be my favorite, actually. And...colors is always fun, of course. I´s colors. It´s cool!;)



Is Taylor Swift trying to be sexy? It surely appears that way. She stays in a relatively low register, with a pretty bland acoustic guitar-based instrumentation (is not a word?) backing her. The story is one of forbidden love, and the temptation of it. Now, I realise I was lying before; it does have an electric part, with a shitload of backing ocal and other swift-y things going on all over the place. But it still comes off as uninteresting, bland, and most of all; unsexy. In terms of singing, which seems to have become my grading system, I do harmonice with Taylor on this one sometimes but I don´t ever sing the melody. Alas, it´s just not that good.


04-I knew you were trouble

Oh boy, where do I even begin with this one? It´s like a mini-album was crammed into this song alone, seriously. It starts up with catchy teen pop, and you thing you know what´s coming. Then comes a gorgeous, piano-driven chorus with Taylor showcasing a lot of great singing. Then...we go dubstep. And the whole world went “what?” in unison. Seriously, she was a country artist. Then we´re back to the teen pop, with some interesting harmonies (I have never notised before, but Taylor has a shitload of backing vocals in everyting!). Then it´s all-on dubstep again, and you begin to get used to it. Then comes a bridge, with just a piano and some of my favorite lyrics ever (check it out, I am not quoting it). Back to dubstep. So...what do I think? First I was just shocked, but now I love it. It´s always interesting, never gets boring (despite the frequent use of the word “trouble” and the verces really being all about repeating stuff) and it shows that Taylor had a lot of fun writing this piece. This is Swift officially, after all this time, going “screw you, genres! I don´t need you, for I am Taylor fucking Swift and I do what I damn well please!” (it would be so much fun to hear Taylor say that...)


05-all too well

Let´s switch from musical to lyrical mode, for this is clearly all about the lyrics. She reflects on a relasionship, working her way through very private memories with the use of even more glorious metaphors. I read that this song was originally ten minutes long, which makes this the “best of”. It shows. I remember listening to this song for the first time, and wondering if the lyrics were ever gonna end. They were not. Also Taylor really belts it out in the bridge-type-thing, which I adore, and the lyrical high points are so many it´s ridiculous. The only thing that buggs me is this: she sings “and I can picture it after all these days”. This makes it sound like it hasn´t been too long since she broke up with this guy, and it sort of takes away intensity.


(I´ll try to shorten this shit down from now on. It´s too damn long, I know.)



Once again, Taylor goes “screw country!”. This is a party song, a pop song, about being 22 and being “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time”. She pokes fun at all the “cool kids” by making them, with her own voice, say “who´s taylor swift anyway? Ew!”. This song, to me, shows you that Taylor (with the help of max martin and other awesome Swedish people) can do dance music, but still keep the lyrics at a surprisingly high level. And I just gotta love the “you look like bad news, I gotta have you!” line.


07-I almost do

This is, at least in my head, the sister song to “all too well”. It has some country elements in it, and is once again Taylor singing to and about a lost lover. She wants to talk to him, but cannot. Needless to say, cause yall know me, I relate like crazy to this track. And it is very sweet. It may be boring to some extent, but do give it a second listen. It´s worth it.


08-we are never ever getting back together

You have heard this song, so I won´t talk about in great detail; except for one thing. This is not a hate song. How I know that? She does not ever insult the guy. The relasionship, but not him. She used to be a real bitch, but this is just an anthem of freedom. And for me it is the anthem. I really like the spoken part, that she pokes fun at the indie crowd yet again, and that she places the first single as track # 8. that´s rare.


09-stay stay stay

This bounsy track, very reminicent of 2010s “ours”, is all about wanting to hang out with someone for your whole life. She talks about the “self-indulgent takers” she used to date, but other than that it´s just a fun track about...well, staying. Shocker. I adore the cute, but at times, raw vocals, but it´s not a standout track by any means. Oh, and another thing. “I´ve been loving you for quite some time.” Yet again, Taylor makes it sound like it´s been very short. But she laughs in the end of the song, so that´s forgivable.;)


10-the last time

Taylor does a duet with Garry Lightbody of snow patrol, and it is breathtaking. Their voices mix perfectly, and it gives the album a lot more dept than it previously had. I also love how they take turns singing the melody. Darkly romantic, sort of haunting, and  yet very, very Taylor. One of the standout tracks on the album.


11-holy ground

This is something taylor should do more often; it is a song about a breakup (no really?), but a happy one. An up-tempo song about everything that was good. I seriously wanna dance when I hear this song, and...this is me. Oh, and we haven´t mentions my singing the songs in a while. I rewrite this song, which means I highly relate to the feeling of this. We also haven´t mentioned the backing vocals in ages, but in this song they play a vital role and I love them. Seriously, how many taylors are there if you combine all the backing vocals in all the songs? Would be cool to know.


12-sad beautiful tragic

So far, I have liked, if not loved, all of the songs. This is my exception. I can´t stand this song. Why? Because it´s boring. Taylor stays in the same register, a little too low, and literally nothing happens. I guess I´m not a fan of taylor in ¾ time (2010s “last kiss” being one of my few complaints about speak now). So: it´s sad, it´s tragic, and sometimes it´s lyrically genius (I just notices while actually having to listen to it), but it isn´t beautiful enough. Although “you have your demons, and darling they all look like me” is fabulous.


13-the lucky one

Omg it´s not about love! It is instead about fame, and (I believe) Joni Mitchel (shut up I never said I could spell). It has it´s moment, but is very much the same musically and sometimes it feels pretty damn done before it starts. Did that even make sense? This is really long by this point...


14-everything has changed

This song starts with a voice that sounds oddly like my father, but turns out to be Ed Sheeran. Fortunately, this Sheeran guy can sing better than my father. ;) this is a charmig little duet with lines like “your eyes looked like coming home” and nice harmonies. You can hear that these two are really close friends, or friends at least. The subdued choirs in the last chorus are a nice effect, too.



This is just pure happiness. About dreaming impossible things, and achieving them. A highlight for sure, and it should be a single (if it isn´t already). And yes, I do love singing it. Of course I do.


16-begin again

Taylor ends this rather sad album on a happy, hopeful note with an acoustic song describing a first date after a rough breakup. It makes you believe in life, and love, and is a brilliant way to end things. The title is very funny in this aspect, as well.


If I could change one thing, it would be: delete track # 12. that´s all.

My absolute favorite: the title track, I think.

The biggest strenght: the lyrics. God, so many gorgeous lines.

The biggest flaw: that taylor likes to write all her shit in the same key. That´s at least how it feels. That annoyes me.


If anyone read all this you´re batshit crazy. But yeah, this is my first review and omg yay it´s finished!


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