Last Friday, the 12th of November, the re-recorded version of Red by Taylor Swift was released. She now owns her music and that’s the reason she recorded the songs again – with better vocals, extra songs, and improved music and instrumentals.
The world’s only been waiting five months for it.
I was utterly destroyed by some of the songs, the short film, and the incredibly beautiful lyrics that she included in the new All Too Well. I’ve not actually reviewed an album before, so when Red was released, it was the perfect opportunity!
Today’s post is a review and a discussion of all the songs on the album. It might as well be the longest post I’ve ever written and it would mean the world if you’d stick around till the end. I’ve included some of my tweets from the thread I made when I was listening to the album for the first time containing my unfiltered thoughts so don’t wonder. And before we start, if you haven’t listened to the album already – it’s a literal masterpiece, so do immediately!
part i: an upstate escape
State of Grace
“We learn to live with the pain, mosaic broken hearts.”
Those drums, in the beginning, are the trademark of State of Grace and the whole album and it just made me so happy listening to them again 😭 Hearing them again, but louder, clearer was just amazing. I prefer the acoustic version to this version, nevertheless – it brings about the emotions much better. This is amongst my favourites – on my first listen, and on my last.
“Losing him was blue like I’d never known; missing him was dark grey all alone.”
This was one of the songs we got a snippet of before the album was released and you could see how much better this version would be from that little preview. The back vocals that sing ‘re-e-d’ throughout are so much more pronounced, and I love this version so much more.
“This hope is treacherous, this daydream is dangerous.”
The melody of this song is so pretty and on the first listen, it wasn’t one of my favourites, but the tune and the lyrics grew on me as I listened to it again, and again, and again.
I Knew You Were Trouble
“And the saddest fear comes creepin’ in, that you never loved me. Or her, or anyone, or anything.”
Her vocals are so mature here and I’m loving the emotion in the ‘trouble, trouble, trouble.’ This bridge is one of my favourites on Red and it’s so beautiful 💖! This was one of the singles on the earlier version, I remember it being my favourite when I first listened to Red.
All Too Well
“You call me up again just to break me like a promise – so casually cruel in the name of being honest.”
All Too Well is easily my favourite song off of Red for so many reasons. Whether it was the fact that I could physically feel the pain the first time I ever listened to it or the fact that every single one of the words in the song belongs there, I love it so much. I’m not talking about this in detail because of the ten-minute version she released so I’ll be reviewing this in the end.
part ii: the first crack in the glass 🍷
“We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time // It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah.”
Of course, no one can not like this song. It’s the perfect bop to make you love Taylor Swift and I love that it was a single off of the original Red. It just screams happiness and joy. This also hints at All Too Well’s ten-minute version, where she says ‘it’s supposed to be fun turning 21.’ Since her 21st birthday was ruined, she made a song about how incredible it was turning 22 and I love that little easter egg.
I Almost Do
“I wish I could run to you // And I hope you know that every time I don’t // I almost do.”
This one isn’t among my favourites either – I’m not very drawn to the sad little bops (this, Sad, Beautiful, Tragic & The Lucky One) but I loved the lyrics to this song.
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
“I used to think that we were forever ever, ever // And I used to say, “never say never”
This was the original lead single and this is easily the most well-known song off of Red after All Too Well, of course. I loved the mature “ooh” in the chorus and the “We!” in the background sounds so cool. Just waiting for someone to make a meme out of that. This song speaks for itself, of course, and I loved it so much!
Stay, Stay, Stay
“But you… stayed.”
I won’t lie, this is is the ME! or the Bad Blood of Red. It’s not her best work, but it’s really fun to listen to (as she claims in the end, haha.) It opens with this nursery-rhyme tune and I was really taken aback when I first listened to it, but it’s grown on me. The lyrics are really cute, too 🥺
The Last Time
“And right before your eyes, I’m breaking”
Some of Taylor’s collabs (like exile) are absolutely phenomenal, and this is one of those. I love how both of their voices sort of blend together in the chorus, and it might not be her best collab (that honour goes to Nothing New) it was one of the best 💕
part iii: the breaking point
“And right there, where we stood, was holy ground”
This one’s very upbeat unlike a few of its successors and there’s a long story behind the origin of the song which you can research on the fandom website. I liked this song but didn’t love it as much as I loved a few other songs. The bridge is definitely my favourite part – ‘I don’t want to dance if I’m not dancing with you.’
Sad Beautiful Tragic
“What a sad, beautiful tragic love affair”
Once again, this is a sad little ballad that tells the story of heartbreak. It’s not my favourite but I don’t hate it either. It’s got this nice lilting melody to it, and it’s, well, it’s just there – not something that stands out very much.
The Lucky One
“Let me tell you now – you’re the lucky one”
This one was about a star who has everything. But suddenly, her secrets were revealed all over the world, and she was just done. She left the world of stardom because everyone told her she was lucky, but she didn’t feel lucky herself. It’s a lovely story, and I really enjoyed this song when I looked carefully into the meaning.
Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran)
“All I know is you held the door // You’ll be mine and I’ll be yours“
I loved this collaboration the first time I heard it, and I love the updated version so much. The video is beautiful and the whole friendship between Ed and Taylor is lovely. It is definitely a must-listen if you’re starting the album afresh.
“And we were dancing like we’re made of starlight”
I really liked this song the first time I heard it and it’s about a younger relationship – sort of like Fifteen off of Fearless, but a different, happier vibe. This is one of those danceable songs (think 22) and I love the idea of the song, too.
part iv: the reeling
“But on a Wednesday, in a cafe, I watched it begin again”
This one’s about a second chance, hence the title. I loved the intro where she talks about what happened before and how this new experience is everything she ever wanted. “And for the first time, the past is past,” this line also shows that moving on takes time and that time finally arrived.
The Moment I Knew
“You said you’d be here”
This one alludes to a certain line in the ten-minute version of All Too Well where her partner missed her 21st birthday party. She was told he’d be there, but he did;t show up – supposedly one of the worst experiences in her life. I love how that vault track drops so many little easter eggs alluding to all of the songs here. I loved the whole idea of this song, but the melody wasn’t all that great.
Come Back… Be Here & Girl At Home
“I can’t help but wish you took me with you”
Both of these were exclusive tracks off the original album and the latter is rumoured to be about Zac Efron (from High School Musical – remember?) They’re both quite fun to listen to, but don’t hold as much meaning as I would have liked.
“I remember you, bare-feet, down the hallway”
The ‘I love you to the moon and back’ seems like an understatement now with seven from folklore announcing ‘I love you to the moon and Saturn.’ This was a charity single released separately and I’m glad it appeared on Red because it does feel like it belongs on here. It’s a song about a four-year-old boy who died due to cancer and she’s credited his mother for writing it with her.
part v: the remembering
(vault tracks & my favourite part)
“You would’ve been the one // If you were a better man“
I love this vault track so much! In fact, most of the time listening to the vault tracks, I just wondered why they weren’t on the original album. This one was my favourite after All Too Well and Message In A Bottle… until I listened to the Phoebe Bridgers collab. The chorus to this song is really catchy and I love the message 💔
Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
“Then they hunt and slay the ones
Who actually do it
Criticize the way you fly
When you’re soarin’ through the sky“
This is definitely in my top 5 from the whole album. It was so amazing – I love Phoebe Bridgers (Funeral is one of my favourite songs) and I thought she’d just be there for backing vocals, but no. She got her own verse and even the bridge. It was mindblowing – I had it on repeat for nearly half an hour. I loved this collab so very much and it’s definitely one of the best vault songs – in fact, all of them are incredible?!
“What about your promises, promises?”
This was so much better than the Sugarland version (I don’t know if it’s Taylor’s pronunciation or the ‘what about your promises’ part, but it was.) This was originally sung a couple years ago by Sugarland, and this one has Taylor singing it alone. It’s really catchy and I loved it.
Message in a Bottle
“A message in a bottle is all I can do // Standing here, hoping it gets to you”
This has to be my favourite vault track – if I had to pick one other than All Too Well. It totally belongs to 1989, but even then, it was so fun listening to this track. It has an upbeat chorus and brilliant lyrics – maybe she’s preparing us for 1989 (Taylor’s Version?) If you’re looking for something to listen to and don’t have time to listen to the full album – start with this one! 💗
I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton)
“And I bet you think about me”
This is a fun little bop that reminds me of 1989 and I totally freaked when Taylor announced the music video earlier this week. She’s wearing that dress in the promotional video and it’s going to be so exciting!
“I’ll be summer sun for you forever // Forever winter if you go”
There’s always this one song on every album that displays Taylor’s lyrical genius and this is that song. I love the whole idea of winter and summer (also might be an allude to ME! – living in winter, I am your summer) honestly, her mind is incredible ❄️
Run (feat. Ed Sheeran)
“Darling, let’s run”
I prefer Everything Has Changed to this one because it’s rather slow. It does give a good opportunity to The Very First Night which sounds brilliant after this. All in all, it’s good, but not one of my favourites.
The Very First Night
“I drive down different roads, but they all lead back to you”
This was so amazing, another song that gave me 1989 vibes. It’s such a bop and sounds even better right after Run (feat. Ed Sheeran) because that one was kind of soft compared to this. It’s a perfect ending track – just before the ten-minute version of what I think is the most beautiful song Taylor’s ever written.
All Too Well (10 Minute Version)
“Just between us, did the love affair maim you all too well?”
“You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath”
“An ever-lovely, never-needing jewel whose shine reflects on you”
Because I couldn’t just pick one. I am so ready to accept this as the original All Too Well – I’ve easily listened to this ten times since its release (two days ago.) What I love most about this is that the whole thing fits together like a story and as you listen to it, you realise that there’s no way she made the whole thing up. Also the patriarchy keychain. We need merch. It’s honestly impossible for me to describe just how much I loved this song – it didn’t even feel like ten minutes. All Too Well: The Short Film was on a whole other level and the actors did an incredible job 🍂
That’s a wrap! All in all, the album was incredible; it did have a few weak spots, but the rest of the album was amazing. I’d give it 22 stars if I could, but I can’t, so here are five stars for Red (Taylor’s Version.) My favourite songs were All Too Well, Message in a Bottle and Nothing New – these are going to change, but right now, I love them.
The chapter titles were inspired by the chapters on the short film and for extra credit, all the pictures you see are from the lyric videos. If you’d like to see my unfiltered thoughts as I was playing the album for the very first time, here’s the thread on Twitter.
Here’s the whole playlist on YouTube if you’re interested in streaming it there, or here on Spotify.
And as an afternote, two more albums were released that Friday, both of which you should stream if you’re looking for other artists: This Is What It Feels Like by Gracie Abrams and Between Us from Little Mix. Both of those albums were amazing and off the top of my mind – Wings by Little Mix and The Bottom by Gracie Abrams are some of the best.
Have you listened to Red (Taylor’s Version?) What were your favourite songs/lyrics off the album? Or perhaps you prefer another of her albums to this one? Tell me in the comments! Until then xx
🧣the scarf needs a mention, so here.