The Album of Autumn: “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

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The cover of Red (Taylor’s Version)

Kirstin Lovely, Assistant Station Manager

Photo description: Fan rendition of “Red (Taylor’s Version” color palette (from @shesafairy on Tumblr).

Swifties have long associated “Red” with the fall season, between the iconic reference to Taylor’s long-lost scarf, imagery of “autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place,” and the Red-era fashion of Ms. Swift during the release of the album. The re-recording is certainly no exception to this, as the musical mastermind devised a plan to release Red (Taylor’s Version) on November 12th, accompanied with fan merchandise that included scarves, sweaters, and –of course– lots of other items in Swift’s “Red” color scheme.

To me, a lifelong Swiftie, this album means so much to me — especially now that the rights to ownership have been fully restored to Taylor after Scooter Braun circumvented her and bought her master’s before she had the opportunity to do so. This album is riddled with symbolism surrounding themes of young love, maturing sooner than you ought to, suffering terrible heartbreak, sadness and grieving, struggling to find your voice, and reminiscing on bittersweet memories. 

From The Vault

I want to take a moment to geek out about the nine (9!!!) tracks added to the 2021 re-recording of “Red”, which absolutely blew me out of the water upon my first listen of “Red (Taylor’s Version)”: Better Man, Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers), Babe, Message In A Bottle, I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton), Forever Winter, Run (feat. Ed Sheeran), The Very First Night, and All Too Well (10 Minute Version). 

Fun fact: originally, Better Man and Babe were singles produced in conjunction/under other artists’ names and never made their way over to Taylor’s own discography, since she co-wrote them for other artists and was merely featured on the original recordings. Even more fun fact: the 10 minute version of All Too Well was something that Swift had mentioned previously in an interview, and fans have obsessed over this secret, unreleased version for literally a decade until Swift finally brought it to our ears this past November. Alongside the 10 minute version of the track, Swift also produced a short film featuring Sadie Sink (as Young Taylor) and Dylan O’Brien (as Jake Gyllenhaal) to recreate the full story of what happened between Taylor and her older lover, since she finally had full creative control and freedom over the Red album. Naturally, the internet exploded with a huge outlash calling out Jake Gyllenhaal for his actions and supporting Swift’s reclamation of her past and ability to finally tell her full side of the story.

 

Key Differences in Taylor’s Version

After almost a month of listening to “Red (Taylor’s Version)” I have concluded that it is an absolute banger (no one is surprised by this, though). I actually love the differences in pacing, intonation, and in general the power which she puts behind her lyrics. Some of the key differences in tracks that I have noticed are in We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together –which just feels like spiteful and kick-ass, and instead more accepting and celebratory than the original– and Girl At Home –which transformed into a pop, top 40 vibe rather than the original acoustic sound. Additionally, I have found that 22 (Taylor’s Version) finally makes sense on this album, thanks to the context for how much Swift’s 21st birthday was filled with tears and fake smiles due to absence of her lover at her party (Jake, you should’ve been there…), but “22” reclaims that energy and shows her growth and empowerment since the breakup.

 

Here’s the Entire Track List (my favorites have asterisks next to them, so go give them a listen!):

  • State of Grace (Taylor’s Version)
  • Red (Taylor’s Version)
  • Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)
  • I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor’s Version)*
  • All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)
  • 22 (Taylor’s Version)
  • I Almost Do (Taylor’s Version)
  • We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version)*
  • Stay Stay Stay (Taylor’s Version)
  • The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody) (Taylor’s Version)
  • Holy Ground (Taylor’s Version)
  • Sad Beautiful Tragic (Taylor’s Version)
  • The Lucky One (Taylor’s Version)
  • Everything Has Changed (Taylor’s Version)
  • Starlight (Taylor’s Version)
  • Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)
  • The Moment I Knew (Taylor’s Version)
  • Come Back…Be Here (Taylor’s Version)
  • Girl At Home (Taylor’s Version)
  • State of Grace (Acoustic Version) (Taylor’s Version)
  • Ronan (Taylor’s Version)
  • Better Man (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
  • Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)*
  • Babe (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
  • Message In A Bottle (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)*
  • I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
  • Forever Winter (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
  • Run (feat. Ed Sheeran) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
  • The Very First Night (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)*
  • All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)*

 

If you’ve made it this far, I just want to say thanks for reading and as always… Go Beavs!