“Red (Taylor’s Version)”: Bop or Flop?


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Nov. 12, 12 a.m. marked an exciting moment for fans of popular singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. After nearly five long months of waiting, fans were treated to the much-awaited album “Red (Taylor’s Version).” 

This is the second of six albums that Swift is planning to re-release: the first one, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, was released in April of this year. The motive behind all these re-recordings? To finally gain ownership of her earlier music. 

While the reason behind why she felt the need to do this is somewhat confusing, here it is in simple terms: in 2006, at just fifteen years old, Swift signed a record deal with Big Machine Label Group, essentially signing away the rights to her first six albums in return for a cash advance. In 2019, Big Machine was purchased by record executive Scooter Braun and his company Ithica Holdings LLC, the former of whom Swift claimed had bullied her in the past. This was the start of a multi-year public feud that had previously been kept private. In the end, Swift decided that instead of trying to regain ownership of her first six albums, she would re-record them under a private firm called Shamrock Holdings. The only caveat is that any streams of her original music put money straight into the hands of Scooter Braun. 

Naturally, her fanbase’s response to the re-release was overwhelmingly positive – so much so, in fact, that Spotify crashed right when the album dropped. The result of this was listeners switching over to platforms such as iTunes (where Swift’s song “Red (Taylor’s Version)” jumped to the top of the US iTunes album chart) and YouTube (where her new ten-minute version of  “All Too Well” quickly gathered hundreds upon thousands of views). 

Taylor Swift supporters at Pioneer expressed similar feelings to the general fanbase about the album drop. “I really like it and I think that some of the vocals are even more interesting than the original,” said junior Maya Mustata. 

Junior Yasmine Chugh agreed. “Listening to “Red (Taylor’s Version)” for the first time was an incredible experience. It was emotional to listen to some of my favorite songs from 2021 me’s perspective and in 2021 Taylor’s voice.” 

One aspect of the album that was especially popular among listeners were the vault tracks, which are “songs that were originally meant to be in the album but did not get in,” explained Chugh. “[That is] probably my favorite aspect of her re-recordings… They fit seamlessly into the vibe and feel of the album. My favorite vault track would be the ten minute version of ‘All Too Well.’”

Mustata agreed with this sentiment. “I love the ten-minute “All Too Well.” I think the lyrics are great.”

The excitement didn’t end after the initial music drop. That same day, Starbucks released its grande caramel nonfat latte under the name “The Taylor Latte”. Additionally, Swift released “All Too Well: The Short Film”, which features Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien and is one of the many celebrity collabs associated with this album. On Nov. 13, Swift went on Saturday Night Live, and on the following day, she announced the surprise release of the “I Bet You Think About Me” music video directed by Blake Lively. Lastly, she came out with new merch, including keychains, jewelry, and a “Red (Taylor’s Version)” twist on her iconic cardigan. At this point, who knows what other surprises might be in the making? 

The album wasn’t without criticism, though. 

“I hate ‘Everything has Changed,” said junior Maddie Baybeck. “She changed it in the worst way. I’m speechless. She messed it up.” 

While Baybeck did enjoy most of the album, she had one other criticism: “The part where it goes ‘good to go’ at the start (of “Good to Go”) is my favorite part (of the original song). Why’d they take it out?”

Now Taylor Swift fans are back to searching for Easter eggs to try and figure out which album will be the next re-record, and the excitement will start building again – if it ever even stopped, that is.