Taylor Swift
Red


3.5
great

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (179 Reviews)
October 22nd, 2012 | 221 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fitting progression.

Taylor Swift's work has always seemed to represent the inner timelessness of love most people would be happy to express. A lot of it's in part because how almost every song of hers has managed to truly sound like a page in a personal diary, with powerful narratives of love and heartbreak strewn about in her songwriting. While she started with pop-tinged country music laced with these lyrical themes, it seems to have reciprocated to the pop-esque end of things. Speak Now already hinted at a more streamlined country-pop style, but Red shows this in a more fully realized form.

However, what makes this experience an arguably better one is the pure genuine nature of it, even in the songs where it seems less obvious. Sure, there's the hinted-at dubstep and bubblegum pop experimentation in certain songs, like "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" respectively, but then there are songs like "Sad Beautiful Tragic" and the fantastic "Begin Again" to balance things out. Even then, "I Knew You Were Trouble" ironically happens to be one of the real highlights, replete with soaring vocals from Swift and a rousing chorus that, despite the dubstep sound of it, is extremely memorable and lively.

However, what specifically makes the whole record work? I'd say it's because of how diverse it is and, more importantly, how it isn't disjointed or overbearing with its bevy of influences. We get everything from classic country, folk, aforementioned bubblegum pop, and a few rock elements (although not as much as in previous records). Even at over an hour long, most of the material doesn't feel tacked on or overstuffed. Imagine seeing a great movie; everything feels quicker when the film is really well done, and you don't feel like you're looking at your watch every ten minutes. The same mostly applies here; with enough twists and turns here and there so it doesn't get boring, but more of what the fanbase expects and wants all the same.

Admittedly, most of the lyrics are old hat here, and some people might be disappointed at the fact that Swift still reminisces about her love experiences for the fourth time. However, her vocals are a bit more engaging this time, more varied and a bit more emotive here. Between sweet harmonies, longing croons, and soft intimate near-whispers, Swift seems extremely invested in every minute of her record, even when its faults are clear. The honesty and diversity of her vocal work is key here, and she pulls it off in a fantastic way.

Unfortunately, not everything is all sugar and rainbows. Occasionally, Swift's recent influences can hit a little too close in familiarity; Avril Lavigne especially comes to mind when songs like "I Almost Do" and the aforementioned "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" start playing, with very similar hooks and overall songwriting to the Canadian star (although still marginally better in this case). Plus, there's a problem that's generally common with a lot of pop records; unfortunately, the songs do tend to run together. Mainly in the middle of the album, there's a bit of a dull patch with some filler, songs around this area not particularly bringing anything new to the table musically or lyrically. There's just not a lot of engaging songwriting in some of those tracks; "Holy Ground" and "Stay, Stay, Stay" (despite a peppy beginning motif) specifically come to mind.

Taylor Swift is still growing musically, though, and that is perhaps the most important thing about Red. Swift is now finding what really makes her shine with this album, and I have a strong feeling that her next record will display the sweet results of how far she's progressing. As for this one, it's another great highlight for her discography.



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user ratings (317)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


50455 Comments


Only if there's a stream

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

Sirob
October 21st 2012


2653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

have a pos sir

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


9034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's such fucking bullshit that people post reviews like this right after the album comes out just so they can get all the attention onto their review. The album hasn't even come out yet and you've thrown together a review full of generalizations and adjectives with absolutely no flow or indication of much experience with the album or her previous works just so you can get a bunch of quick views and pos's on a job adequately done. I understand the motive, everyone wants people to appreciate their work, but why even bother if it's not your best material?

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


50455 Comments


Oh it comes out on monday hmm ok

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


9034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, Big Machine wants to boost first week sales numbers so they're releasing it a day earlier than is customary.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


19790 Comments


@Fromdahood, review wasn't even that bad lol you're just mad someone reviewed it before you ;)

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


9034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

But is that really the point of a review? A review to me is a subjective description of the work written with the intent of explaining what does or doesn't work with the album with specific examples that can reinforce your opinion. I don't think this is a bad review, I just think that it was written for the wrong reasons.
@Atari, I'll admit that that's part of the reason I was steamed initially. However, I realized that it wouldn't be productive to write a rant at somebody just because he beat me to the punch so I read the review twice and formed my own opinions based on what I saw.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


50455 Comments


Bro I get fucking pissed when someone undercuts me for first review using time zone bullshit
It's ok to admit it
People really only give a shit for the first review an album gets unless it gets a staff review which either way you're fucked if you aren't first

tommygun
October 21st 2012


24954 Comments


So he calls me up and he's like uuuuh I'm still in love with you and I'm like ugh... This is exhausting! We are never getting back together. Like, ever.

KjSwantko
October 21st 2012


9308 Comments


Can't say I listen to this bitch, but nice review Brendan. Pos

Sirob
October 21st 2012


2653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah honestly I dont think he wrote this just to get his review out before everyone elses so he could get a few pos's

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


19790 Comments


@Trebor, that's not necessarily true. The first coheed review I read was yours and u were like the 5th person to review it

Ending
October 21st 2012


1915 Comments


Being the guy who got railed on for writing a GY!BE review within 24 hours of its release (and a 5 at that) I see nothing wrong with reviews that come out "quickly". A review describes the author's feelings for the album at the time that they're writing their review, so the timeframe really doesn't matter in that case. I think I'm starting to make less and less sense. Sorry, I'm a bit tired.

But anyways, solid review. I wasn't planning on getting this and that decision sticks. I'll probably end up listening to it at some point though, since every song is bound to be on the radio at one point in the next few weeks.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


9034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I mean, it was a goal of mine to get first for Taylor Swift since I got beat when Speak Now came out but that's not the real reason that I'm upset. I just like Taylor Swift so fucking much and to see an apparent noob come in and throw up first review just for attention hurts me a little bit. She deserves more respect than that.

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


9034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

God I sound so immature and gay. I'm not guys, really.

KjSwantko
October 21st 2012


9308 Comments


It's okay Hood, we still like you bro.

Ending
October 21st 2012


1915 Comments


@FromDaHood It's okay, it happens to the best of us.

Sowing is probably going to review this anyways so yeah... there's that.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2012


23845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

album is so fucking good. t-swift, knocking it out of the park.

oh and I can't stop listening to "I Knew You Were Trouble" (the one with the dubstep-y chorus breakdown thing). it's so catchy and not cheesy like i feared it would be.

Sirob
October 21st 2012


2653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If it was a goal of yours to "get first for Taylor Swift" wouldn't that mean you would also be rushing out a review as soon as possible?

also the arguing is only drawing more attention to his review

KjSwantko
October 21st 2012


9308 Comments


You need at least 150 before you're a vet



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