on 17 December 2012
This is one of the best new albums I've heard in years.
I've always liked the odd song by Taylor Swift. She's an excellent songwriter who really knows how to tell a story and how to portray her emotions to the listener. Her work is strikingly honest, and it is made all the more interesting by her clearly deeply passionate nature.
Despite this, I have in the past only usually listened to two or three songs on her albums as I have found the rest a little bit, shall we say, "Disney Teen."
That is absolutely not the case with this album. It maintains her special, confessional songwriting style, but with a new-found maturity. She experiments, extremely successfully, with a number of new styles, yet the album is strangely even more cohesive for it.
The melodies and hooks are her best ever, and her emotional insight is even more perceptive and eloquently expressed than in the best of her previous works.
Most importantly, nearly every song has that special, indefinable quality that makes a song great - that perfect blend of lyric, melody, and performance that makes the listener soar, for an instant, into another realm.
For me, the stand out tracks are All Too Well, Red and, my favorite, I Almost Do. Stay, Stay, Stay is probably my least favorite at the moment but that may change with repeat listening.
All in all, it is a fabulous and exciting album, and listening to it has rekindled in me an excitement in music that hasn't burned brightly in years.
on 5 November 2012
I've been eagerly anticipating this album ever since Taylor dropped the amazing Speak Now. When talking about this album Taylor described it as a collaborative effort unlike Speak Now which was very internal (she wrote every song alone without co-writers and co-produced every song). She worked with a lot of new people on this album including Max Martin (pops biggest producer who's worked with many huge pop stars such as Britney Spears and Ke$ha), Butch Walker (a rock singer but he's produced for pop artists such as Avril Lavigne (My Happy Ending) and Katy Perry (Thinking Of You)) not to mention collaborating with newcomer Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody. Despite this she wrote 9 songs alone.
Anyway getting back to the point this album see's Taylor experiment with a lot of new sound from the Dubstep influence I Knew You Were Trouble to the U2 inspired State Of Grace. This was a risky move but it paid off. The catchy bubblegum tracks like the hit single We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and 22 are completely irresistible. State Of Grace is an incredible track and a perfect opener. Despite what the lead single may have you believe a lot of these songs are quite slow such as the introspective Treacherous, the incredible All Too Well which produced some of the best lyrics she's ever wrote and several more. There are some more pop songs on the album such as Red and Starlight which are 2 of the albums strongest tracks. Red is a guitar based pop song using colours as a metaphor for emotion and Starlight is an incredible synth based pop songs which is infectious but it still has great lyrics telling of an adventure she had with a boy aged 17. It's like Enchanted funner sister. Both the collaborations are very good. The Last Time featuring Gary Lightbody is a dark song reminiscent of Safe and Sound that is haunting and has some of Taylor's best vocals yet. Everything Has Changed featuring Ed Sheeran is an uptempo number that will have you bopping along. There's still some songs for fans who prefer Taylor's country stuff such as the beautiful ballad Begin Again and the fun up-tempo Stay Stay Stay.
These are my thoughts on each track
State Of Grace-10/10 A great opener inspired by U2. Taylor sings about how love should be over epic guitars
Red-10/10 This is the catchiest song on the album. I like how it compares colours to emotions. It's a great pop-rock song with clever lyrics.
Treacherous-8/10 This is a slower song and is beautiful. You can see how much Taylor has grown as a writer on this album.
I Knew You Were Trouble-10/10 I never thought Taylor could pull off dubstep but this song is amazing. It's catchy, has good lyrics and is just a great bop.
All Too Well-10/10 This is one of my favourite tracks. It's a beautiful song with some of Taylor's best lyrics yet. My favourite part is "Hey you called me up again just to break me like a promise, So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I'm a crumbled up piece of paper lying here, Cause I remember it all all all too well"
22-9/10 This is a really fun song celebrating the complications of being young and confused
I Almost Do-8/10 This is a slower song where Taylor contemplates about a former lover and how she almost goes to contact him but never quite manages.
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together-8/10 This is the ultra poppy ultra fun lead single. While it's not her best song it's still a fun jam and is greater to dance around and be silly too.
Stay Stay Stay-8/10 This is another fun country song telling a story about an ex-boyfriend
The Last Time-9/10 This is a dark track featuring Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. It's like hearing 2 sides of the same story from Taylor and Gary. Taylor's voice is amazing on this as well.
Holy Ground-7/10 This is probably the weakest song on the album but still enjoyable and the drums are great in this song.
Sad Beautiful Tragic-8/10 This is a beautiful ballad reflecting on a relationship and everything that came with it.
The Lucky One-10/10 This is a great song where Taylor talks about the Perils of fame praising an artist (rumored to be Joni Mitchell) for getting out before it became to consuming.
Everything Has Changed-9/10This is a great guitar based track featuring Ed Sheeran. It's a really sweet song and is really catchy.
Starlight-10/10 This is an amazing synth based pop song where Taylor's tells about an adventure she had as a teen. It's one of my favourites on the album and is irresistible.
Begin Again-10/10 This is a perfect end to the album. This is a beautiful very personal country ballad where Taylor says about how she starts to fall in love again after a turbulent relationship.
on 12 November 2015
Having recently discovered Taylor's music with 1989 I decided to investigate her back catalogue. Having heard that she had been a Country and Western singer who had gone mainstream, I wasn't sure I would like her earlier music, but listened to the short extracts and decided to give Red a try - I'm glad I did.
This is not a Country and Western album. There are elements of C&W in some of the songs (e.g. steel guitar) but it is at most crossover. Strangely enough, despite my not being a fan of Country and Western, my list of highlights includes some of the more country songs.
The album starts well with State Of Grace, a rocky song that I consider to be a highlight. This is followed by the title track, another rocky song and another highlight - although I should point out that the backing vocals on Red are the main appeal for this listener. One listen to that song and those backing vocals are stuck in my head!
Things go a little more country after this, but that isn't a bad thing. Stay Stay Stay is one of the most country songs on the album and is another highlight. This is followed by The Last Time. This song starts with a dreamy ethereal feel before becoming rocky. Holy Ground is another C&W influenced song that is, for this listener, a highlight (I'm going to have to stop denying that I like C&W!). Sad Beautiful Tragic is a beautiful soft song and another highlight.
The final highlight is Starlight, another rocky song.
All the other songs count as good with only one minor criticism. At times during The Lucky One I thought that Taylor's voice seemed a little strained.
Seven highlights out of sixteen songs makes for a five-star review and a recommendation.
I was actually blown away by how good this fourth album from Taylor Swift is. I can quite easily listen to it from start to finish without track skipping and that is rather a rare occurrence for me. It fluctuates from toe tapping, head bobbingly catchy to delightfully peaceful and thought provoking to at other times, completely danceable.
Musically, there is a logical growth from `Speak Now'. On that third album Taylor started to play with a more pop influenced sound. `Red' goes in that direction a little bit more without wandering completely away from those country tinged acoustic numbers we like to hear. However, instrumentally I hear a lot more rock and pop influence than previous albums. At times the production rather reminded me of Avril Lavigne back in the days she was churning out acoustic guitar lead pop rock anthems.
Max Martin is involved on a few tracks this time around (perhaps most famously known for being the guy behind a whole host of Britney hits including `Baby One More Time') and he makes a rather great team with Taylor and `Shellback', evident in the already massive single `We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' and the equally as infectious `I Knew You Were Trouble' and '22'. Other than that the majority of the tracks (as previous albums) are credited to Taylor Swift as a singular songwriter.
If catchy is what you like that continues in the ridiculously cute `Stay Stay Stay', one of those songs along the lines of `Mean' you can't help but hum. I'm sure Ed Sheeran will be a talking point of this album and as it goes he is a rather great choice of collaboration. While this track is perhaps not essential to the album, it was co-written together and is the kind of acoustic gem you would expect from two artists leading the singer/songwriter genre. I feel like this track might've lacked depth without Ed Sheeran's harmonies though.
My favourite thing about Taylor Swift is how she takes a simple scenario and turns it into a song that is beautifully peaceful yet tragically sad at the same time. If you loved `Enchanted' or `Last Kiss' from Speak Now there are songs here like `Treacherous', `The Lucky One' and `Begin Again', all capturing that awe inspiring feeling that is hard to put into words.
As Taylor points out herself in the linear notes, this album relates to the poem by Neruda that makes a point that `love is so short, forgetting is so long'. If you relish on moments of `newfound hope, extreme joy, intense passion, wishful thinking and the unthinkable letdown' you will love everything about this album and want to share it with others who think like you.
It's been two years since her last album Speak Now which had a new sound whilst keeping the feeling your listening to the artist you loved since her first release, I was a little worried whether or not she would be able to up her performance in this new album, and I can assure you she has.
This album has an awesome mix of different styled tunes, for example if you listen to 'State of Grace', 'Treacherous', 'I Knew You Were Trouble.', 'All Too Well' & 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together', just to name a few, you will realise that sound completely different. There are quite a lot of bands & artists who have albums which most of the songs sound very similar to others, and Taylor manages to give you a different feel for each song you listen too.
One thing that has pleased me is that a few of my friends had reluctantly admitted to me that have enjoyed one or two of her new songs, not that it bothered me too much of the quite frequent digs I get for appreciating her music(I know they're in denial ;)), however it's a nice change to hear something positive about an artist you enjoy listening too.
Overall, it's a pretty solid album which I would highly recommend to those who are into pop/country type genre, and especially to those Swift fans out there, however I'm sure you already own it if you are. ;)
Those who want to hear some previews before you buy then go to 'Taylor Swift - Red' MP3 download, click on the samples and have a little taster of what the album has to offer.
on 9 January 2016
It seems that heartbreak does good to Taylor Swift. At least to her music. John Mayer as an inspiration for one of best songs on her previous "Speak Now" album (the sprawling and stinging "Dear John") now aside, on her fourth album "Red" she shines brighter than ever. Indeed, lyrically, she's really as 22 (born in December 1989), as she sings on the eponymous song, one of the highlights of the record. Relationships stuff still serves as a prime source of inspiration for this superstar, which, in turn, makes her a next-door-girl and easily identifiable with for many of her peers.
Her style is now far from country alone, indeed, only a fiddle in the closer "Begin Again" may remind you of that. In fact, Swift makes her pop more global and open to new inspirations. The record begins with "State of Grace", a starter similar to U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name" on the classic "The Joshua Tree" LP. And two guest stars from Britain give their best as well - Gary Lightbody sounds real (and maybe better than ever) on "The Last Time", while the Brit Awards sensation Ed Sheeran joins in but stays decently out of the spotlight on the tenderly melodic "Everything Has Changed". The British stamp is unmistakably heard on "All Too Well", while "Starlight" sports Keane-like piano.
Elsewhere, Taylor is as ingenious as ever. "I Knew You Were Trouble", "22" (where her vocals are similar to Alanis Morissette) and the No.1 smash "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" find her at the top of her game and with uncanny synergy with Swedish master pop composer Max Martin (guy behind hits of Backstreet Boys and Kelly Clarkson, among many others). Energetic "Holy Ground" sounds well juxtaposed to ballad "Sad Beautiful Tragic". And almost every song has an added value to it (the sum of the record's parts is higher than at "Fearless" and "Speak Now", which both got a tad samey towards the end), including "Treacherous", co-written by Adele's collaborator Dan Wilson.
Generous at its 16 songs, "Red" should not disappoint Taylor Swift's loyal fans, as it expands the musical horizon gradually, gently - and sublimely. This barrier-breaking album is maybe the next best thing to save the current lame pop music based on short-lived dance tracks. Already one of the highest-grossing artists of our day, Taylor Swift is the one who definitely deserves it, since there is not much pop artists left of her stature now, which - given her still the tender age and the full-blown artistic maturity in one - is all the more impressive.
This rewarding "Red" should definitely get the green. Like... ever.
on 10 November 2012
This album is just brilliant. If you were not a fan of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", don't let it put you off this album. There is something for everyone on here. You can in no way base this album off one song. There are only a couple of "pop" songs on here, if that matters to you. Half of the album is slow, "country" and beautiful, really pushing your emotions. Also, in my opinion, "Red" sports some of Taylor Swift best lyrics to date.
My favourite songs are ones that have beautiful lyrics. So, this is why these are some of my favourites.:
State of Grace
All Too Well
BUT I do like them all. My least favourites are probably "I Knew Yo Were Trouble" and "The Last Time", but, I don't completely hate them.
This album is spectacular and in the future will be one of the great masterpieces of 2012. Clever lyrics, good melody's, something for everyone.
State of Grace:
"Love is a ruthless game, unless you play it good and right"
"We learn to live with the pain, Mosaic Broken Hearts"
All Too Well:
"You call me up again just to break me like a promise, so casually cruel in the name of being honest"
"And all we are is skin and bone, trained to get along"
There are also many more incredible lyrics on this album and I'd also like to note that she writes or at least co-writes every song. I was most blown away with the fact the she wrote the whole of "State of Grace" by her self, which in my opinion is one of the absolute best songs she has ever sung. Five Stars.
on 18 November 2012
Actually i pre-ordered the Red cd from the United States Amazon, and after listening to a couple of songs that were pre-released, like "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" i was a bit disappointed (yes, i know it is a hit). Not because i don't like pop, on the contrary- i grew up in the 80's. It is just because there are better pop songs by, let's say, Kelly Clarkson. Then i noticed that the deluxe version was released and listened to a sample online. I really liked some songs on the second cd (they represent Taylor much better than the ones in the first cd), so i bought it as well even before the first cd arrived. I didn't regret it at all. The second disk is great. Especially "Come Back... Be Here", which is now a favorite of mine. You can really feel Dan Wilson's touch in it, and obviously cooperating with him was an excellent choice. So i have to recall my statement that Taylor should have written everything by herself. Working with other people actually had a great result, in some cases.
Overall. Great album, well worth the money!
If you liked "Speak Now" and, especially, "Fearless"; definitely go for the Deluxe Edition.
P.S. About performance: Taylor is perfect, as always!!!
on 11 November 2012
As always, with Taylor Swift every feeling is heightened and every emotion is electrified.
For me, the title track, Red, effortlessly captures every fine detail surrounding the riot of retrospect. Taylor states, "I called it RED because of the tumultuous, crazy adventures in love and loss that it chronicles". This could not be more clearly conveyed in the lyrics.
'I Knew You Were Trouble' has a somewhat dubstep edge, taking Taylor far from her comfort of country/pop, defining her artistic abilities. Her collaborations with Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody (from Snow Patrol) develop her maturity as a song writer. Nevertheless, my personal favourite track on the album; 'All Too Well' encompasses traditional Taylor Swift at her finest. In fact, this self-penned track contains my favourite lyric on the album, '..break me like a promise' alongside the scene of 'dancing round the kitchen in the refrigerator light', pretty much highlighting the entire theme of the album.
It really isn't a surprise that Red sold 1.2 million albums in the first week of its release.
on 15 February 2013
Whilst being a 53 year old Englishman means that I am way outside the main demographic I find that her albums cheer me up and I think that there is real excellence here.
Perversely, my favourite track is the acoustic version of State of Grace, track 6 on the Bonus Album.
I am a Snow Patrol fan but I feel that the Gary Lightbody song is the worst song on the album, and he sounds uncomfortable with Ms Swift's underlay style (how the words fit to music), not his fault really, it shouldn't have been released.
To be critical I feel that there is not enough real variety on the main album: was tempted by thoughts of 'here we go again' and 'who cares'. Also, if she continues her move away from Country and acoustic I think it will be a shame, higher sales I suppose but ultimately at the risk of being forgettable and irrelevant.
Recording quality and engineering seem excellent.
I found the booklet very difficult to read: the photos are very nice but I would have preferred a larger font, capital letters and conventional formatting.