Music Review: Taylor Swift’s “RED”

It’s already been a couple of weeks since Taylor Swift’s latest album, RED, was released to the general public but the catchy tunes and memorable lyrics have not receded from our soothed minds. This addition to her already outstanding career marks her fourth album released to date, and, in the mind of this die-hard Swiftie, her best. It seems that the perpetual fear and tumultuous emotional rollercoaster that is inherently linked with dating a member of the Kennedy Clan has transformed Swift from a simple country girl into a weathered veteran of the War on Love.

RED shows a growing maturity in Swift’s lyrics and musical style. In the album’s lead single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Swift’s lyrics hold the emotional contradiction and fiery anger that one would find in a 70 year-old Irish schizophrenic, and another track, “22” demonstrates that Swift is no longer the sweet, innocent, needy schoolgirl that we have grown to love (or to treat like a doormat at the VMAs), but now has the passion and sass of a recently-divorced, inner city hairdresser.

The album cover for RED.

But on a majority of the tracks, Taylor Swift sticks to her roots, and one will find a number of those catchy teenage loves songs that propelled this young star into the spotlight. This effort was probably done to stop her younger fans from straying away to the new and up-and-coming stars such as One Direction or that otter that looks like Tracy Jordan. Strong, heartbreaking ballads such as “Begin Again” or “All Too Well” show that Taylor has still held on to a little of that hopeless romantic quality that made us love her in the first place. But just when you begin to think that Taylor is a one trick pony, she hits us with a upbeat pop song in the eponymous track, “Red.”

Swift has finally realized that the much sought after tween demographic can only be appealed to through catchy beats and bass lines instead of deep, meaningful lyrics. Although this concession is tragic in a sense, Taylor does not fully cross the “Minaj Line” and manages to emulate some of the qualities of the folk and blue-eyed soul artists that she cites as her inspirations.

If I were drugged, tied up, and forced into the back of a Panera BreadTM to be part of a focus group for the album, and was asked by the nice cashier turned kidnapper (whom I am beginning to develop Stockholm Syndrome for) what my all-around favorite track of RED is, I would have to go with “Holy Ground”. But don’t just listen to me, listen to the album yourself and pick your own favorite. You don’t have to be a Swiftie to enjoy it- you just have to have a soul.

— Ian Corbet, Arts Editor

Posted by on November 15, 2012. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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