A Review of Red (Taylor’s Version)

While the music industry is booming with new and original sounds, Taylor Swift fans couldn’t help but obsess over the rerelease of her 2012 album, Red. As a fan myself, this album took over the charts and my own playlists, and once again, it established Swift as the successful and unmatched pop artist that she is.


Alexandra Zwiebel

After many times listening to Red (Taylor’s Version), it is safe to say that every song is amazing, but ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)’ is what truly ties the album together and solidifies Swift as an incredible pop artist and creative influence.

Taylor Swift’s latest release, Red (Taylor’s Version), is taking the world by storm, with her old lyrics and matured vocals transfixing new and old fans alike. Not only does the old-new album include incredible lyricism, but it is also accompanied by a true passion behind the lyrics and a familiar feeling of nostalgia and warmth that has excited listeners.

Swift’s decision to re-record and release this album was reasoned by her loss of control of her original recordings in 2018. From 2005 to 2018, she recorded and released her music under Big Machine Records, a record label company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Just as with many musicians under contracts with record companies, Big Machine owned and profited off of Taylor’s masters (the original recordings of her music), according to The Scotsman. Once her contract with Big Machine ended in 2018, she left behind her masters and signed on with her current label, Republic Records.

Leaving masters to the record company is standard protocol in the music industry, but Swift’s masters were sold after her contract was up to Ithaca Holdings, a private equity group, in 2019. The owner of Ithaca Holdings is Scooter Braun, and he is currently profiting off of Swift’s first six albums. Swift, who had faced several instances of public humiliation at the hands of Braun, was completely outraged by this. Cosmopolitan notes that in response to his purchase of her masters, Swift posted on Tumblr in 2019 that she “learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.” 

All of this is to say that Swift found it necessary to re-record her first six albums, own her own masters of the new-old albums, and encourage others to do the same. Swift began this process in April of 2021, when she released Fearless (Taylor’s Version), the rerecording of her album that includes hits such as ‘Love Story’ and ‘You Belong With Me.’ 

I am a big fan of all of Swift’s music, but Red was the album that initially began my love for Swift’s work back in 2012, and like many others, I was ecstatic to hear Taylor’s Version when it was released on Friday, November 12th, 2021. Some of the more familiar songs that were topping the charts in 2012 were making their way back into my regular shuffle of songs; one of her most popular from the album is the song ‘I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor’s Version),’ a pop-y, fresh sound that truly outdoes her original version. Hearing Taylor Swift’s now-31 year old voice singing the songs from her 22 year old self is extremely unique. Red (Taylor’s Version) was able to take the beloved pop songs of my childhood and add in an older, wiser Taylor, whose voice evokes another level of nostalgia and depth to the song.

In addition, Taylor’s Version takes songs like ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ from a sort of ranty-homage towards a bad ex-boyfriend, to a refined and engaging sound that allows listeners to associate her craft with something more than a sad, teen singer. What Red did in 2012, and what it is doing once again nine years later, is establishing Swift as a talented pop artist, as this was truly the pop album that put her on the map. To compose Red (Taylor’s Version) in its full current form, Swift revives the era of music that she attempted to capture in the album in 2012, adds in some more advanced production, and releases nine new songs from the vault. Each song title from Red (TV) is followed by “(Taylor’s Version)” to indicate that the song was created on her terms, with her own unique sound, and of course her masters.

The term “From the Vault” that follows the last few songs on Red (TV) lets listeners know that they did not make the original cut for the album. These songs have been revamped and newly produced for the re-recording, and garnered excitement as soon as Swift announced the track list for the album. They feature artists like Ed Sheeran, Phoebe Bridgers, and Chris Stapleton, who all added wonderfully to the tracks.. The most anticipated vault track was ‘Nothing New’ featuring Phoebe Bridgers, a young artist quickly gaining traction through her own EPs (extended plays) and songs.

Bridgers and Swift work amazingly well together, blending the youthful naivety of Bridgers’ voice and the maturity in Swifts to orchestrate a perfectly fitting song for Red (TV). Another highly applauded vault track was ‘I Bet You Think About Me,’ featuring Chris Stapleton. This song sounds like a throwback to Swift’s country music with a pop “fix,” drawing in listeners with her youthful tune but adult voice. It diverges from the original musical aesthetic of Red (TV), but Stapleton’s vocals and the accompanying music video to the song create a much more holistic connection of the song to the motif of the rest of the album.

The real showstopper of the album, however, was ‘All Too Well (Taylor’s Version).’ Not only has this song been deemed one of Swift’s most compelling and lyrically magnificent songs since its original release in 2012, but Taylor’s Version adds a level of sophistication and reflection to the song. What really left fans awestruck was the 10 minute version of the song, ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),’ that was released among the vault tracks.

Many are familiar with the real-life history of ‘All Too Well:’ it is a song reflecting upon Swift’s quick romance with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. The song communicates true heartbreak, disappointment, sadness, and hopelessness all compiled into one complex and poetic ballad, and a 10 minute one at that. What truly blew fans away was ‘All Too Well: The Short Film’ starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. The 15 minute video is beautifully filmed, using angles, color scheme, and dialogue to truly bring Swift’s melodies to life. 

Swift’s fan base has already begun theorizing about her upcoming recordings. Many fans have taken to Tik Tok and Twitter to predict any new material, analyzing her cryptic quotes as evidence. Immediately after the album release, Swift had a plethora of strategically planned talk shows aired, where she appeared as a guest and dished about the album. Nothing has been confirmed, but some are convinced that Swift has been intentionally dropping hints to her upcoming work during some of her guest appearances, such as during her interview on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, according to Pitchfork News. She also appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live, all within a couple days of Red (Taylor’s Version) being released.

While we cannot say what really goes on in the mind of Taylor Swift, one thing we can know for sure is that we should be expecting many more Taylor’s Versions in the near future that are of the same caliber and brilliance as Red (Taylor’s Version).

To listen to Red (Taylor’s Version) on Spotify (subscription required), click HERE.

Red (Taylor’s Version) was able to take the beloved pop songs of my childhood and add in an older, wiser Taylor, whose voice evokes another level of nostalgia and depth to the song.