Taylor Swift
Red


3.0
good

Review

by doug USER (78 Reviews)
February 12th, 2013 | 102 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Taylor should never, ever, ever co-write, like ever.

I don’t know about you, but I am also feeling 22, and the long road of life ahead seems so damn sweet – and that is exactly what you see as the major goal with Taylor Swifts Red, she is seeking variety to lengthen her already hugely successful career. Red is Swift showing an ambition to seek further success in a substance of pop that she has never shown before. Yet, through the experimentation, Red shows frailties in its diverse attempts to cover all basis that are a plethora of styling’s.

So what the heck draws me to this teeny pop goddess of the modern era? Well at first, Taylor Swift was a write off in my eyes when her self-titled debut and sophomore Fearless came out. Her ‘goody goody’ princess image (eerily similar to the Pure Tour of Entourage fame), with the country twang to her production was just too shiny for me. Then Speak Now happened, and shit, I was completely wonderstruck at the pop brilliance that Swift had written, and that was the sticking point for my enjoyment of Speak Now – it was solely written by Swift herself. Her cohesive song structure and obvious, yet intriguing hooks got you – even the break up lyrics seemed connectable for this 22 year old male. Within this strength of Speak Now’s structure you find one of the major downfalls in Red. The co-writes. In Speak Now Swift had created her most popular and successful album to date, so why not head in the same direction with her 4th LP? Because she needed to expand her stylistic variety and with Red she employed the help of songwriter/producer Max Martin to do so. Martin has written hits for N’SYNC, Brittany, The Backstreet Boys and many others but Swift is not the type of upfront pop that the aforementioned groups were/are, and with Martin’s influence, Red was going to go in any sort of direction. Martin has successfully crafted a pop aspect to Swifts music with already two no. 1 hits in the infectiously catchy “Trouble” and “We Are Never” – Yet, somehow “22” slipped through the cracks. “22” is infectious in the way HIV is. It is lyrically dumb, for example: “It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters / and make fun of our exes / … I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22 / Everything will be alright, if you keep me next to you / You don’t know about me, but I bet you want to / Everything will be alright if we just keep dancing like we are 22” What? Swift’s lyrics here are bland, unfulfilling and childish. At 22, I was definitely not eating “breakfast at midnight., unless I have been out for a couple too many beers than needed.

Now compare “22” to “Back To December” from the album Speak Now.

“So this is me swallowing my pride standing in front of you saying I’m sorry for that night / And I go Back to December all the time / It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing wishing that I realised what I had when you were mine / I go Back to December turn around and make it all right, I go Back to December all the time.” This is the Swift the world fell in love with, being honest and up front with her audience and actually giving some substance with her song writing instead of a nothing but cherry soda pop wank that is “22.” While “22” is just one song off Red that is not 100% Swift, it still feels like we are being short changed from her ability to write great songs such as the tremendous “Begin Again” which makes you feels like Swift has actually put time into her writing instead of re-writing every pop song ever.

There are other glaringly obvious flaws with Red: the ridiculous length of the album and its lacking consistency, the way the songs are placed throughout and the all too familiar break up anthems that Ms Swift sings about so passionately yet are delivered slightly poorer this time round. But ignoring these flaws, Swift grew to her huge success due to her ability to write honest, catchy and personal songs, and within Red, we continue to gain the stories, yet in a different format of musicality – even if some of these songs have 3rd parties influencing the direction they take. Exemplify the catchiness of “Red,” the indie/pop perfection found in, “State of Grace” the gorgeous Speak Now-esque, “Begin Again,” and the movingly beautiful “All Too Well.”

I want to really love Red, I really do, as my enjoyment for Taylor’s product has grown ever since the discovery of Speak Now. Though the way she has conveyed herself within Red has come out as a less mature Taylor Swift, instead of attempting the projection of a more grown up and pop based songstress at the elderly age of 22, she seems more teeny than ever. A change in style did have to be made for the case of longevity in Swift’s career, so Red should be seen as her offering to the straight-up pop world, which could enhance longevity of her livelihood in the music industry, so more dramatic changes of style in the future shouldn’t be as big as a deal as the changes found in Red. Honestly, there is more to like within Red then hate – most songs are extremely catchy, though the lacking consistency strung throughout that is staunchly comforted by the horrendous duets and co-written pieces , yet these flaws don’t make the album bad, they just make it painfully similar to any pop album on the market currently, which is something Swift has never been before.

Maybe I should try breakfast at midnight? #yolo



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user ratings (314)
Chart.
2.7
average
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Douglas
February 12th 2013


9118 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

adios amigos

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

one too many "ever"s in the summary

Was this Review Well Written? Yes | No


teach me how to dougie

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

foxblood
February 12th 2013


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

idk a cherry soda pop wank sounds pretty awesome
and 22 isn't awesome

tommygun
February 12th 2013


24989 Comments


22 is so bad you guys

the bit where she's like

YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME BUT I BET YOU WANT TO

is the worst

foxblood
February 12th 2013


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

even still, don't think this is deserving of a 2.7 average

tommygun
February 12th 2013


24989 Comments


good review doug apart from some proofreading/coding stuff

pos

rec by reviewer section is m/

morrissey
Moderator
February 12th 2013


1688 Comments


This is a pretty good review, but I'm struggling to properly digest your thesis. You say her main goal on this album is to embrace musical and thematic diversity while simultaneously acknowledging her youth. But in the review you complain that she has set aside the emotional honesty of past songs like "Back to December" in favour of the inanity of "22." Can't she have both, and doesn't the presence of, say, "Sad, Beautiful, Tragic" off-set "22" and fulfill the goal of thematic diversity?

I'd also argue that the lyrics of "22" don't indicate a childness or stunted development. Sure, she sings about wanting to eat breakfast at midnight, which you are so over, but while you were earning your Bachelors she was fronting a multi-million dollar business empire. I think Taylor Swift can check most of the boxes for mid-twenties maturity.

I just don't think it's inconsistent or a devolution to follow up songs like "Back to December" or "Last Kiss" with "22," especially when you consider that "All Too Well" and "Begin Again" exist on the same album. I guess my point is, the transition adulthood is simultaneously weighty and frivolous, tragic and exultant, mature and naive, perceptive and myopic. A dumb song with dumb lyrics is as much a part of her narrative and emotional development as any.

tommygun
February 12th 2013


24989 Comments


yeah idk fox I just found the whole thing way too long like there's some tasty jams and then too much mediocre stuff

a bit of quality control/filtering wouldn't have gone astray

FiveLeavesLeft
February 12th 2013


9847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Album got so old so quickly for me

morrissey
Moderator
February 12th 2013


1688 Comments


I don't even think "22" is a good song, and it was better when it was called "Raise Your Glass," apologies if that's an old barb, I'm new here.

I just love reviews that are essays and actually try to make a point and follow through on it, but either you got lost or I did.

I should also say, while I'm being critical, your opening paragraph needs a serious rewrite:

and embellish her musicality to a variety of differing pop styles in the quest of more commercial success (if possible) and to show her artistic ambivalence is not a weak point at all.


Really try to simplify the statement to its barest bones and then see if you can't reword it more eloquently. I get the first half of that statement, though it's clumsily worded, but then you lose me completely.

Douglas
February 12th 2013


9118 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Thanks so much for the critique Morrisey, I wrote this is in my planning time at work today. Clearly got lost. I'll get to the fix
ups - sort off trying to leave the site but got sidetrack with my view of this album.

I will divulge your points and add into the rewrite where appropriate.

fromtheinside
February 12th 2013


18717 Comments


doug i haven't seen you in years holy shit

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

morrissey just made two monster posts on your review you lucky sonufa you

Ponton
Emeritus
February 12th 2013


5804 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

morrissey dropping in for crit, thats quite the honor

Ponton
Emeritus
February 12th 2013


5804 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

also, bump if you would bone m/

Douglas
February 12th 2013


9118 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I feel special and sad coz I have fulfilled my destiny at Sputnik

Bumped ponton

Tyrael
February 12th 2013


20904 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ye bump

Storm In A Teacup
February 12th 2013


13161 Comments


humpty bump

My favorite color is red and I'm Aries so I really want to 5/5 this.

We shall see...

Cygnatti
February 12th 2013


21353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Do it storm

Also good review doug

toxin.
February 12th 2013


12628 Comments


small grammatical errors abound
but you're cool and this is a good review so POS



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