Album Review: Red (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift
Fantastic, Based on 5 Critics
Under The Radar - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Don't meddle with a masterpiece they say. But what happens when someone peddles your masterpiece? When someone you have zero respect for buys and sells your work and could continue to profit from it for many years to come? This is essentially what happened to Taylor Swift when the masters to her early albums released on Big Machine were sold without her having any say in the matter. Music mogul and former Kanye West manager Scooter Braun had bought Big Machine in 2019 and with it the rights to the master recordings of Taylor Swift's first six studio albums.
Reflecting and re-evaluating: Red is an absolute triumph.
Taylor Swift's ongoing reclamation of her own music is well-documented, but for those who haven't followed the story since it first unfurled in 2019, here's a rough approximation of what happened: record executive Scooter Braun purchased the Big Machine label for three hundred million dollars - a haul which included the rights to the master recordings of Swift's first six albums - after the label previously blocked Taylor from buying them for years. The result has been a domino effect of Taylor's Version re-recordings that allow Swift to own these newer versions of her songs; a movement that has been met with support from fans and fellow musicians alike.
Red was in parts the sound of Swift kicking at the coat-tails of pop respectability, hyper-aware of the space she inhabited as well as the scenes that would (eventually) embrace her. The last substantial work she would undertake with longtime production collaborator Nathan Chapman, it also marked the beginnings of a two-album relationship with Max Martin and Shellback, which would see Swift through her imperial phase. The record's always been a watershed moment in her story - a perfect distillation of Swift's self-aware, lyrically biographical gee-shucks persona set against career-defining songs that ultimately changed the way she'd be perceived.
Just beyond the bounds of normal human awareness lies a realm governed by a benevolent blonde whose songs are sacred texts. In wormholes on Tumblr and TikTok, you'll discover a new language of signs and symbols, and a bounty of messages waiting to be decoded. Nail polish colors hold secret meanings. Halloween costumes are harbingers.
Listening to Taylor Swift's new album 'Red (Taylor's Version)' is, Clash imagines, the same feeling that parents get when reading books they first read as children to their own offspring. Familiar, comforting but at the same time, tinged with a little sadness now that you're grown up and life isn't as simple as it once seemed. Swift wrote in journals accompanying 2019's album 'Lover' that vault song 'Nothing New' (featuring Phoebe Bridgers) encapsulates the feeling of being scared of aging and things changing and losing what you have.