Red review by Taylor Swift

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  • Released: Oct 26, 2012
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.1 (123 votes)
Taylor Swift: Red

Sound — 8
As Taylor Swift releases more and more albums, she drifts away from the country-tinged sound of her first album, and into a more pop-oriented direction. This actually works very well on this album. While some songs such as "Stay Stay Stay" keep the vibe she had earlier, some songs caught me by surprise. The bass drop in "I Knew You Were Trouble" and the very poppy chorus of "22" is quite different to what she has done in the past. I think it was done quite well, and I enjoyed these songs, but people who prefer her earlier work might not like these songs.

Apart from the obvious pop influence on some songs, much of the album is standard Taylor Swift. The guitar playing is simple, and in a lot of cases, not very original, probably a turn-off for many people on this site, but that isn't the focus of the album. Some songs do get a little boring with the simple chord strumming formula that Taylor Swift often follows, but in others, she manages to create a lot of atmosphere. The acoustic version of "State Of Grace" (from the deluxe version) is probably the best example of this. Overall, the songwriting is better than previous albums. It's a bit catchier, better sounding, and definitely improving.

Lyrics — 8
Taylor Swifts lyric writing ability has really improved. This album still features far less very cheesy and immature lyrics that sometimes marred her previous albums. There are far less "Love Storye"-sque songs, and in it's place, a lot more sincerity and maturity. There were still a few cringe-worthy moments (Most of "22"), but overall this album featured better lyrics than her previous albums. As usual, almost all the songs on the album revolve around love and relationships.

Some of my favourite lyrics on this album are from the song "The Last Time" (featuring Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, who gives a great vocal performance on this song):

"This is the last time I'm asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list,
This is the last time I'm asking you why,
You break my heart in the blink of an eye, eye, eye...

If you liked the lyrics on her previous albums but thought they were a tiny bit too cheesy, you will most likely love the lyrics on this album. If you absolutely hated her lyrics from previous albums, still give this a try and see if it changes your mind. She isn't a master lyricist, and parts of the album aren't very memorable, but it's more than made up for by some excellent lyrics at other parts.

The singing on this album is basically the same as all her previous work. If you didn't like her vocals before plain, this record certainly won't change your mind. If you're not a fan, her voice is a bit plain, but she does give a very even performance, and I really like the sound of her voice.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I was quite pleased with this album. It does begin to drag a little bit at the end, but at 65 minutes long, I don't blame her. There were enough highlights and quite impressive moments to keep me interested. "State Of Grace" and "The Last Time" are definitely my two favourites from the album. I enjoyed the more pop influences, the atmosphere she managed to create at times, and quite touching lyrics. The downside of the album is definitely the lack of any really interesting guitar playing. It's all quite adequate, but nothing amazing. If this bothers you a lot, you should probably avoid this album, but otherwise, I'd definitely give this an album a chance. If it was lost or stolen, I'd get it again in a heartbeat.

68 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The only thing I really recall from the album is Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr. posting a song on his facebook and saying "I like this and if you think it is a stain in my integrity, you can eat a dogshit sandwich". I'll just give it a listen, from what I know of her music I think it's decent.
    Hey now, don't forget Sebadoh. Swift's one of the current wave of radio darlings I don't mind. Her music may fall into the "nice" trap but she's not annoying (Bieber, Minaj) or trying too hard (Cyrus, Minaj).
    UG: Where 'against the norm' outcasts stroke their egos by complaining about mainstream music and how 'factory produced' it is.
    Like I Is
    I don't think anybody that frequents this website actually listens to Taylor Swift, but she occupies a very important role in the music industry. I'd rather young girls listen to her music rather than the standard "f*** bitches, get money" rap songs that are totally ubiquitous at this point. And at least she has some musical chops, unlike that factory-produced Bieber.
    Wait, no.. she's a prime money maker, there's nothing niche about that. All her songs are set to formula, to sell her product. Every song is about the same imaginary ex boyfriend. Now I'm not defending Bieber's existence here, but Taylor swift is just as if not more 'factory produced'. May not seem obvious but her albums are most probably written for her, her songs are 50 tracks of hooks and layers, the song writing itself is designed to be easy (key word is designed), hundreds of paid professionals would have had input into writing and production. There's no point defending her, she's as much as a shill as any pop star.
    "her albums are most probably written for her" "hundreds of paid professionals would have had input into writing and production" Based on what? Because she's popular? Baseless assumptions.
    No, based on asking producers and writers about work experience in a phone interview. Also, talking with my lecturers at college who've delt with the same thing.
    Yes, because she is the only artists who uses paid professionals for input when it comes to writing....
    Alex's Disciple
    She has writing credits for every single song she has released, and 80% of her songs she has the only writing credit. Does she make money? Yes. I don't understand how that makes her bad, unless you are basing it on some slave-oriented morality wherein the rich are bad purely because they are rich.
    Beyonce has writing credits on all of her songs too. It's a lucrative way to do well in the music business. Write the Middle 8, or even just the lyrics, and your name gets added to the list. I'll stick to female artists like Sara Bareilles who have soul writing credit on virtually every song they've ever made and are not part of a long list of "contributors".
    Have you heard I Almost Do? Probably not. Have you heard Begin Again? Probably not either. She actually put the demo recording of I Almost Do on this album, so what are you saying '50 tracks and hooks and layers'? Did you even try to listen to her albums? Plus, that when she was 13-16, she wasn't famous and she wrote songs - that in my opinion - are album worthy, maybe even award worthy, but they never got on an album because she wasn't famous yet and she didn't have money to get songs 'designed' for her. She wrote them herself, and if you listen closely to her unreleased songs, you can definitely hear similarities to songs on her albums, which is proof she wrote them herself. On her selftitled album she wrote all of the songs herself, with a little help from Liz Rose, but none more. Her album Speak Now was completely written by herself. No co-writers, not even to help the song fit in a normal duration (like Liz Rose helped her to shorten All Too Well, because as the way Taylor wrote it, it would be 10 minutes long, and you can't put that on a pop-country album.) So basically you're not only very wrong, but also just very very wrong. I know more about her than you (obviously) and my opinions aren't narrow-minded like yours. Goodbye.
    Like I Is
    I never said she was niche. She's a part of the pop music machine, obviously. All I'm saying is that she appears to be the lesser of the evils and she plays the "role model" part very well. Anyway, I'd rather pull my fingernails out than have an online argument about her. I just wanted to clarify my statements.
    In no way am I saying that Bieber is some musical prodigy, but he still manages to have a LOT more talent than Swift has. I know for sure he can at least sing and play guitar better than her, as well as being able to play the drums at a mediocre level.
    That's why he doesn't sing live?
    Justin Bieber does sing live. He just uses a backing track for the backing vocals etc. like every other electronic pop singer does. He may not be good, but all Taylor Swift contributes to music is 4 chords and songs moaning about her exes. I don't see how she is deemed OK by UG users but Justin Bieber is the bane of all music. Is it possibly due to the fact she's a cute girl? That can't be true, cos Justin Bieber is also a cute girl.
    Considering this site is primarily used by metal lovers, I don't find this strange at all. Apparently we have a lot of leftist metal heads on here though. Didn't realize the UG community was so progressive as to rate Taylor Swift a 4.6
    UG. Your source for the best Taylor Swift album reviews..... apparently
    A UG review about an album written by a girl that plays guitar... I don't understand your confusion. Oh wait, I do: the review isn't of teh metalz.
    shitty album but I actually like Taylor Swift. I really wish she'd go back to her pseudo country stuff though, it was listenable and cool if you're the mood for it
    the chalky one
    She needs to pick a genre and stick with it.
    I don't see anything wrong with experimenting with different genres. Must be exciting for a musician to try new things.
    I really agree. I actually enjoyed her last couple albums but this new one isn't clicking with me.
    she's a musician, and sometimes musicians just like to experiment with other genres. i see it as if she's created a whole new genre, she's made it her own, and that's what i respect her so much for.
    One of my top albums of 2012. Don't like that? Fight me.
    Yes, someone that agrees with me! It was one of my favourites of the year, along with Rush - Clockwork Angels, Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind and Slash - Apocalyptic Love. Great year for music.
    TBH I am all about the metal/metalcore n all that jazz but I am also a avid fan of t-swift. This album was more POP than anything but overall it was good album but nothing great compared to her other songs she has. overall good not much to complain some songs are weird but grown on you. but for the people that don't even know or listen to her and are commenting. kinda confused why you even clicked this.
    There are seven different bass players on a 16 track pop album. If that's not over produced I don't know what is.
    this bitch stole one my flatmates bracelets, ridiculous as that may sound...
    Haters gonna hate, but this album is better than the last Maiden and Metallica albums, just to give an example. There's life outside of metal and freshness is always welcome.
    she's had so many ex's. right? .... so has my ***** ex-girlfriend, so what does that mean? (not a fan by any means btw, she's annoying and so is the music)
    UG publishes a Taylor Swift review on the front page but not the Tame Impala review I did? I call bullsheet. I like to think the UG audience would like to hear more about rock n roll than country pop. Blah .
    Do Re Mi
    "She wrote nine of the album's sixteen songs alone; the remaining seven were co-written with Max Martin, Liz Rose, Dan Wilson, Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody. Nathan Chapman served as the album's lead producer but Jeff Bhasker, Butch Walker, Jacknife Lee, Dann Huff and Shellback also produced individual tracks." If there wasn't some big entourage of music-business personnel helping her write her songs, mass-marketing her on talk shows, and using her name to endorse such products as electronics and greeting cards, maybe her music could be validated more. But as it stands, she's more product than musician. Also, here's a funny clip from The Soup...
    Formulaic, derivative music. Like it or not, this should objectively not get more than 5/10
    Carl Hungus
    Kind of hard to swallow the fact that Taylor Swift is the number one selling artist in the world right now.
    It was a decent album, nowhere near an 8 imo though. Tbh I was more impressed by some of her earlier work.