Sound — 9
"Red" has a large variety in sounds on the record and a large variety in instruments used in the recording of the album. There are songs like "Everything Has Changed" that use brushes on the drum track along with an acoustic guitar and conga accompaniment, whereas other songs on the album such as "I Knew You Were Trouble" that use instruments from a far more pop view rather than the country feels of "All Too Well" and "Begin Again." It is a big move from her 2011 album "Speak Now" and has very few country songs when compared to all of her previous albums; "Speak Now" (2011), "Fearless" (2008) and "Taylor Swift" (2006). There are songs like "Red" that show the style of song captured in many of her songs on previous albums such as "Story of Us" (2011, "Speak Now") and "Eyes Open" (2011, "Hunger Games Soundtrack"). The album has a very unique sound if you are looking at it as a country album but I believe most people will agree that "Red" is a pop album with more pop songs than country songs on the record.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on "Red" touch into the lyric work of all of Taylor's previous albums with a few new ideas. There are songs like "We Are Never Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble" that continue on ideas Taylor has used with the break up as the main topic of the song. Although these two songs approach it in different ways; "We Are Never Getting Back Together" faces the break up and just something to be ignored makes the song a happy, feel-good tune whereas "I Knew You Were Trouble" tackles ideas used in other Taylor Swift songs like "White Horse" where Taylor feels that she should've known better than to have dated this certain man in the song. "I Knew You Were Trouble" takes this to an extreme, the music video starts and ends with a long talking segment by Taylor basically saying that her, as the character in the song, feels worthless and blames herself for not knowing better. Like always the lyric work is of very high quality, for the most songs, out of the entire album the only track that doesn't quite fit, in terms of great lyrics, is "We Are Never Getting Back Together." The song sound very badly put together, giving the image to any songwriters that it is easy to make bad lyrics sell. Besides the slight disappointment in that one track the album has a great overall sound. The album is filled with stories of love, either love lost or feeling the love Taylor's music is all about love and it shows it very well on the record. As in all Taylor Swift albums Taylor's vocal work is outstanding, she never sings a bad note on stage and in the studio she gets the absolute best quality vocals and she works them with the music perfectly. Her songs with Gary Lightbody and Ed Sheeran are also very good vocally. Gary Lightbody has a very iconic soft vocal for a guy and he shows it off with style in "The Last Time" and as shown in Taylor's newest single "Everything Has Changed" her singing works very well with the vocals of Ed Sheeran who I am sure will be looking forward to trying to record more songs with Taylor in the future.
Overall Impression — 10
"Red" doesn't give the usual impression Taylor Swift albums give, rather than the soft ballads and feel good hits that push country music out into the mainstream Taylor has became more of a pop artist with this new album. Tracks such as "22" and "I Knew You Were in Trouble" and the viral hit "We are never ever getting back together." These songs show more pop influences in the songs and give the album an overall impression of a country artist turning pop. Although this isn't a bad thing, "Red" is still a very enjoyable album to listen to with songs such as the title track "Red" showing Taylor's classic country style and songs like "All Too Well" going back to the feeling the "Back to December" had from her previous album "Speak Now." Like all Taylor Swift albums, there's a stand out ballad and that song would have to be "I Almost Do" the slow quiet sound along with the feeling of the song draws you into the song and makes you pay attention to the lyrics. Although there are these slower sadder songs there are lost of happy songs that are very easy to sing along to, songs such as "Say Stay Stay" and "22" are the kind of happy song that automatically gets people singing and smiling. Taylor also does a bit of calibrating on this album which isn't that often for Taylor with "Safe & Sound" featuring The Civil Wars being one of her only duets, although with this new album she has some incredible vocal work from Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody on the track "The Last Time" and recent star Ed Sheeran playing and singing on the newest single "Everything Has Changed." Both of these songs have a similar feel, they are both duets and are both capturing the story of a couple with obvious feelings for each other. "The Last Time" being the story who are leaving each other, even though they obviously don't want to, yet feel they have to, and "Everything Has Changed" being a love song between a boy and a girl who have recently met each other and have very strong feelings for each other. "Red" is the start of a new direction for Taylor and has taken her more in the direction of pop music rather then of her country origin. It isn't as good an album as "Fearless" although it is comparable to her debut album. Even so it is hard to compare this album to any of her others due to the large difference in genres and the variation in styles used throughout the record.