Today: Jul 14, 2024

Music Review: Taylor Swift, Red

Taylor Swift

Red

 America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift has just released her fourth album “Red” and needless to say, with a few exceptions, it is typical Taylor Swift. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right?

The 22-year-old sticks to the same formula that has turned her into a megastar with an album that despite some slight flaws is as cohesive as it is entertaining.

Swift’s songwriting is impeccable as she decided to work with new producers such as Max Martin and Shellback, who are responsible for the chart topping single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

The album’s standout track is easily “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Ironically, Martin and Shellback are also behind the boards on this one. It’s a different sound for Swift, as her voice is distorted on segments in the chorus and features very catchy and melodic verses that are bound to find its way to listeners’ heads and not find a way out.

Swift slows down the tempo in “All Too Well” where she reminisces about a past relationship. Doesn’t sound familiar at all. Swift’s faithful fans will thoroughly enjoy the song, though.

But then songs like “22” come along. Needless to say, it’s forgettable. What exactly does “dance like we’re 22” mean? Is Swift endorsing bumping and grinding in the middle of the club? The song feels like a forced mixture of “Fifteen” and “You Belong With Me” and therefore lacks any of that Swift magic we’ve gotten used to from the past.

Somewhere in between all the songs that carry the traditional Swift sound, tracks like “The Last Time” are found in which covers new territory for her and consists of Swift vocally taking the back seat to Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. Jackknife Lee beautifully produces the song as a vulnerable sounding Swift finds comfort in letting Lightbody carry the load. It’s sonically the strongest cut in “Red.”

“Holy Ground” continues to prove that Swift’s album is solid but there has yet to be a track that will prove to be as powerful and impactful to pop culture as her previous singles on past records have been.

Swift set an extremely high bar with her last album “Speak Now” and while she comes up short of achieving the same with “Red,” she isn’t far off.

Lyrically, Swift is on-point for the majority of the album. The album also has songs that will be loved by many. However, the biggest setback is Swift herself. The industry knows what she is capable of and all of her past singles packed a big punch that, in exception for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” this record simply doesn’t have.

With all that said, “Red” has gone to sell over a million copies in its first week of release and will continue to do big numbers because of her core fan base. She is relatable, attractive and therefore marketable. Swift is a juggernaut in the music business.

And with all the success, awards and shows bound to come Swift’s way with this record, it is evident this album will do just fine.

She’s only 22 with already four albums to show for it. I’m curious to see Swift’s next move. “Red” displayed what Swift does best with her infiltration of pop and country music but will she take a further step away from her roots or continue to make the music she excels at making?

3.5 out of 5 owls

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