Swift Stuns Fans With New “Red (Taylor’s Version)”


Image/ NME

Katie Gillis , Editor-in-Chief

Just when fans believe Taylor Swift has peaked, she continues to raise the bar, and she has done it once again with her latest, “Red (Taylor’s Version).” When Swift announced she would be re-recording her 2012 hit “Red” next, fans were thrilled; many consider “Red” to be her best work. It is safe to say that they were not disappointed.

At an extensive 30 tracks, the new “Red (Taylor’s Version)” nearly doubles the length of the initial album. While the 20 tracks from the original deluxe album remained primarily unchanged, it is evident how much Swift has developed vocally throughout these past nine years since the initial release of “Red.” Swift’s ability to capture the innocence of her 22-year-old self with new, mature vocals almost serves as a tribute to how much she has grown as an artist over these nine years.  

Additionally, Swift brought in nine new “From the Vault” tracks. These songs may be new to fans, but Swift has had them under lock and key since before the initial release of “Red;” these particular songs did not make the cut for the original album. 

Fans finally got to hear proper recordings from Swift of “Better Man” and “Babe,” which had been written by Swift herself, but performed by Little Big Town and Sugarland, respectively. “Message In A Bottle” and “The Very First Night” recall the radio-pop sound of 2012. The acoustic ballad “Run (feat. Ed Sheeran)” reminds listeners of Sheeran’s other feature on the album, “Everything Has Changed.”

“I Bet You Think About Me,” featuring Chris Stapleton, provides fans with a Nashville twang reminiscent of her older country albums. Swift also dropped a music video for this song, directed by Blake Lively.

On the other hand, “Nothing New,” featuring Phoebe Bridgers, gives a much more delicate folky sound, foreshadowing her more recent projects “folklore” and “evermore.” Swift has collaborated with many artists throughout her career, from Colbie Caillat to Future to the Dixie Chicks; however, Phoebe Bridgers’ feature on “Nothing New” marks the first time that another female artist has had their own verse in a Taylor Swift song rather than just background vocals. 

Perhaps the pinnacle of the album was the long-awaited 10-minute version of a “Red” original, “All Too Well.” Swift let it slip in an interview that the five-minute track had been cut down from a 10-minute demo, and now, nine years later, she has finally delivered. Swift uses its new verses to give listeners a deeper look into her relationship, and fans were pleasantly surprised at how the new lyrics were just as strong as the originals. 

Additionally, Swift dropped a short film, which was essentially just a very long music video, for the song. Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink starred, playing Swift and her ex-lover, long-rumored to be Jake Gyllenhaal. Including these popular actors helped to widen the scope of the audience and bring in more streams for the already-popular album.  

Within the first 24 hours of its release, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” received 90.8 million streams on Spotify, breaking the record for most streams on release-day by a female artist, previously held by Swift’s own “folklore.” Not only are the fans obsessed, but critics are raving. Reviews from big name music critics, such as Pitchfork, Slate and Variety call “Red Taylor’s Version” Swift’s best work to date. Rolling Stone even gave the album a perfect, five-star rating. 

The release of “Red (Taylor’s Version) leaves four albums remaining to re-record. Taylor Swift, known for her strategic placement of Easter eggs and hints, undoubtedly has some tricks up sleeves as she nears the halfway point of her “Taylor’s Version” saga. However, one thing is clear to fans: “Red (Taylor’s Version)” has set the bar high.