Wednesday, December 7, 2022

In The Name of Being Honest: A Review on Red (Taylor’s Version)

by Zarelle Glen Dorothy A.Villanzana | November 17, 2021

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 5/5

As scarves are drawn out from drawers and leaves fall down like pieces into place, 2012 has come back alive with nostalgia kicking in as Taylor Swift releases her version of the Red album with re-recorded popular hits like “22,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and the title track, “Red,” alongside nine additional songs.

For starters, Taylor had been under Big Machine Records since 2005 until her departure to Republic Records in 2018. Despite this, the former record label still had the rights to the original recordings of Taylor’s six albums, which means that revenues streaming from these contents don’t go straight to Taylor. Hence, the journey of reclaiming ownership for her other six albums ensued. After successfully releasing Fearless (Taylor’s Version) last April, the singer has continuously shown determination to claim her life’s work with the recent launch of Red (Taylor’s Version), which features songs from the original Red album we know and love — along with nine tracks which are “From The Vault”,  songs that hadn’t been originally released. 

Not to be mistaken, the album is more than heartaches and miseries. It is Taylor’s proof of craftsmanship. Starting with a loud hammering beat of drums, “State of Grace” is still one of my forever favorite openings as it shows the gentle blossoming of a new relationship, which is the idea of the entire album: how love is a ruthless game unless you play it good and right. It is an act of bravery — by taking the courage to allow oneself to love once more with full awareness of the uncertainties a relationship holds. While the next few tracks depict the ugly realities of an affair, “Stay Stay Stay” chooses to disregard every last bit of it as it focuses on the genuine moments shared between two lovers; the repetition of words signifying the pure intention of wishing the other would forever stay, despite their unending bickers. “The Last Time” then perfectly depicts that of the complex, contradictory situation the two parties are in, proving just how much of a sad, beautiful, and tragic love affair they had.

Bringing us back to her country roots, “I Bet You Think About Me” is another one of my new favorites. With the catchy track full of wit and fueled with shade, what’s not to love? It could also be the long-lost sister of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” since they share the same whimsical tone.

Elements of electropop were also cleverly incorporated into some tracks, like the re-recorded version of “Girl At Home” and  “Message In A Bottle”, giving the album more variety. Included, too, are the tribute songs “Ronan” and “Forever Winter,” which touch on more sensitive matters, tugging on heartstrings and letting us remember to make the most of the time with the people we love. 

Jumping now to the much-anticipated record which fans have duly prepared their heartstrings for, the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” has indeed left the majority to puffy eyes and stuffy noses, having listeners wishing they could also dance “around the kitchen in the refrigerator light”. To add, the film took it to the next level of pain. What had originally been a devastating track, has been turned into a much hauntingly wounding masterpiece as the length had been efficiently maximized with a full storyline. Compared to how the track was initially, it now seems more like the reflections of a distant past that Taylor has long moved on from. 

Overall, the original album had never lacked its brilliance. Only now, the additional tracks and the artist’s genius made the album better than ever. A refined storyline, Taylor’s mature voice,  and an able production have truly given justice to every songs’ emotions which were previously suppressed by her old label. The album has not only been a success, but it also allowed Taylor to gain more supporters or “Swifties” as we endearingly call ourselves. Amidst the fluctuating emotions, the 10-minute track was the perfect conclusion to the entire rollercoaster ride.

In the name of being honest, I have nothing cruel to say about this album (except perhaps that I would have loved for a longer version of “Stay Stay Stay”).

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