I have loved Taylor Swift since before she became popular. One of my favorite memories happened one night at a country bar called the Ranch, with my friends and every gurl in the bar was singing Our Song. It was simple and upbeat, but pretty powerful; I would describe her new album as no less. In her journal on her website, taylorswift.com, Taylor writes about her new album and why she titled it Red: “Because of the tumultuous, crazy adventures in love and loss that it chronicles.” She goes on to say that in her mind, “when you experience love that’s fast paced and out of control and mixes infatuation, jealousy, frustration, miscommunication, and all of those lovely emotions . . . [i]n retrospect, it all looks red.”
To me, each of her songs is a different shade of red; a unique emotion or experience in the process of love from State of Grace to Girl at Home. In truth, I went to iTunes intending to buy certain songs, not the whole album – but every song I played a sample from was so good I had to buy them all. However, I think the price was well worth it, and I foresee many of her new songs placing highly on the Top 40 charts. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but I think I would have to go with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. It’s just too strong and bubbly not to love, and I can bet every gurl wanted to say this to a boyfriend at some time in her life.
We Are Never Getting Back Together appears to be the cheeky, still very young side of Taylor Swift. But it seems to me since her last album, experiences in love have made Taylor grow up. Take the heartbreaking Last Time, featuring Gary Lightbody. Taylor and Gary sing, “[T]his 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.” This is the more painful and raw side of love. Perhaps, Taylor and whoever she is singing about are breaking up or struggling through a rough patch and trying to stay together. Nonetheless, this man is clearly very meaningful to her and not in the ‘high school’ kind of way; he is not just another Picture to Burn, such as boys in her past.
Some of the other different shades of red – unique emotions and experiences – I love on this album are the title track, Red, and the song, Treacherous. Red speaks to Taylor’s own description of the album: “Fast paced” and “crazy adventures” in the course of a relationship and all the colors – not just red. Taylor sings that “loving him was red…awesome, bright, and burning red.” Treacherous speaks to me about the danger – the ‘slippery slope’ of falling in love – and becoming more and more attracted to a man; it can be a really easy and enticing place to go sometimes.
One of the most powerful things about Taylor Swift’s songs is that we as young women can relate to them in unison, just as all those gurls in the bar sang Our Song years ago. As women, we are bound by similar experiences and feelings that Taylor Swift highly invokes in us. I give Taylor Swift’s new album, Red, 5/5 stars, and highly recommend you purchase it to experience it for yourself.
Preview the songs on Red at itunes here.