By Danit Forman
On November 12, 2021, after a much anticipated wait, Taylor Swift dropped her re-recorded album: Red (Taylor’s Version). This album is the second release of her planned re-recordings, after Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was dropped on April 9, 2021.
Since Swift first announced in 2019 that she would be re-recording all of her old music, many have characterized the power move as changing the standards of the music industry. The re-recordings are a direct result of Swift’s music being sold to Scooter Braun, a popular music executive, without Swift’s consent or ability to regain possession of her master tracks. Now Swift is re-releasing her previous albums in order to gain ownership of the entirety of her music, allowing Taylor’s fans, or “Swifties,” to continue to enjoy her music without the guilt of supporting Braun or the injustice that Swift experienced.
While the album includes classic hits from the original Red album such as “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “22”, Swift added several new songs that have the same feel and sound as the original songs with some added modern elements. This blend gives the listener a sense of nostalgia combined with the excitement of a new album. The songs demonstrate Swift’s matured vocals and talent for lyric writing. Swift also brings a more modern experience to her listeners by featuring popular artists on some of the new tracks, including Phoebe Bridgers in “Nothing New” and Chris Stapleton in “I Bet You Think About Me.” In addition to the previously unreleased songs, Swift also added her songs “Better Man” and “Babe,” which were sold to other bands back in 2012. Now with her own vocals, Swift gives the listeners a whole new experience with these familiar songs.
The highlight of the album is Swift’s extended, 10-minute version of the fan favorite song “All Too Well.” Swift has been teasing “All Too Well (10 min version)(Taylor’s Version)(From the Vault)” for a long time, with cryptic posts and a teaser trailer for a short film that accompanies the song. The release was well worth the wait. The track includes all the verses and bridge that fans have come to know and love, with the addition of new lyrics that bring a whole new dimension to the song.
In one of these new verses, Swift paints a scene of her waiting for her lover (allegedly Jake Gyllenhaal, according to fan speculation) on her 21st birthday, staring at the door, willing him to walk through. When fans heard this new verse for the first time, they immediately connected it to one of Swift’s original Red songs: “The Moment I Knew.” On this track, Swift writes about her waiting for her lover to walk through the door at her birthday party. Although Swift doesn’t specify that it is meant to be her 21st birthday, it is assumed that she is referring to the same moment that she writes about in “All Too Well.” Prior to the new additions to “All Too Well,” the song was completely separate from “The Moment I Knew,” but now with the new lyrics it’s clear that Swift intended these two songs to be related to each other. This is only one example of how Swift has revamped her album after almost ten years have passed since its original release date.
Overall, the album is a perfect mix of Swift’s country roots and the pop music that she does so well. It satisfies the listener’s need for childhood reminiscence while bringing more crowd-pleasing hits to the music industry and leaves “Swifties” ready for her next re-recorded album to drop.