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Released: Oct 22, 2012
Genre: Country, Pop, Pop Rock
Label: Big Machine
Number Of Tracks: 16
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.
GoldfishMoon, on december 12, 2012 2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 8
Lyrics: 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. // 8
Overall Impression: 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. // 8
Country Bass, on august 26, 2013 1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: "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. // 9
Lyrics: 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. // 9
Overall Impression: "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. // 10