We are all too unwell...
This past weekend (November 12th), Taylor Swift released the highly anticipated version of her 2012 album “Red”. “Red” served as a turning point in Swift’s career, marking her transition into pop, and transcending beyond her signature country style. With the use of vivid imagery and deep-cut lyrics, the album tells a tale of profound heartbreak - the kind that renders you forever changed.
We hope that you have had time to process and recover from the emotional rollercoaster that this album is; because, wow, Taylor did not hold back and gifted us with A LOT of old-new content that has sent the internet into a frenzy. There is so much to unpack, so grab your scarf, red lipstick, and Kleenex, as we go through the 13 things we loved and hated about Red (Taylor’s version).
1. Love: Taylor now owns “Red”
For those wondering why Swift is re-recording old albums, we got you. Long story short, (see what I did there, Swifties?) Taylor lost ownership of her master recordings to the first six albums after Scooter Braun acquired her former record label, Big Machine Records.
Essentially, that means that Braun has the right to make decisions pertaining to Swift's old music and profits from her work. To learn more about this in depth, click here.
In order to regain control of her catalogue, she is re-recording her first six albums, which she hopes will devalue her old music, owned by Braun. “Red (Taylor's Version)" is the second album she has re-recorded following “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)", which was released in April.
On the day of the album’s release, Swift addressed her fans on Instagram and wrote “Red is about to be mine again, but it has always been ours. Tonight we begin again. Red (my version) is out now”.
We love this for her.
2. Love: The Ten Minute Version of "All Too Well"
If you are a Swiftie, you are well aware of the significance of “All Too Well”, which is often regarded as her best written song.
It was never released as a single and never had an accompanying music video. However, it quickly became a fan favorite and has earned cult-like status amongst the Taylor Swift fandom. Honestly, it’s not hard to understand why.
The song details the course of a relationship - from its magical beginning until its bitter end - which leaves Swift devastated and heartbroken. The beautifully written and emotionally evocative song is widely believed to be about Jake Gyllenhaal, who Swift dated for three months during 2010. The original version of the song was ten minutes long, but Swift paired it down to five and a half minutes. We never got to hear the original version, until now.
And let us just say, after hearing the ten minute version, we are severely unwell. If you thought the five minute version was heartbreaking, wait till you hear the ten minute version. Proceed with caution.
3. Love: All Too Well: The Short Film
As if the ten minute version wasn’t enough, Swift also wrote and directed (is there nothing this woman can’t do?!) a short film to the song’s premise.
She cast Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) and Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf) as two star-crossed lovers. It was beautifully shot and incredibly moving, and of course, features one very famous scarf.
In a nutshell, this movie is brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, never been done before.
4. Hate: All the Jake Gyllenhaal Hate
It’s no secret that Jake Gyllenhaal was the inspiration for “All Too Well” and several other songs on “Red”, with many lyrics seemingly corroborating the gossip (“You said if we had been closer in age, maybe it would've been fine”, from “All Too Well” (Taylor’s Version), addresses the age gap between the two).
However, with the release of “Red (Taylor’s Version)", the internet has made Gyllenhaal public enemy number one. While some memes and tweets are entertaining and genuinely funny, we must remember that he is a real person and not just an imaginary figure in a song. We kindly remind everyone to think before typing on the internet. Jake Gyllenhaal has feelings too, and all this unwarranted drama swirling around the internet is ruining the vibe.
Let’s just go back to stanning Swift, shall we?
5. Love: the Nostalgia it Evokes
The original album came out nearly a decade ago (!) and for many millennials, such as myself, many of these songs transport us back to our college days and bring back memories of our late teens/early adulthood. I mean, I still remember the very moment when an 18 year old me heard “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” for the first time. And what about “22”, which manages to perfectly encapsulate the feeling of being “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time” during your early 20’s.
6. Hate: How Sad It Makes Us Feel
Ok, there are a few bops on “Red (Taylor’s Version)", but in general this is a heartbreak album (If you want “feel-good”, we suggest you listen to Swift’s “Lover” which is all about the joyous experience of being in love).
Perhaps Swift’s most iconic lyrics are from “All too Well”, when she bellows the anguish filled words “And you call me up again just to break me like a promise/so casually cruel in the name of being honest”.
How does one top such devastating lyrics? But Swift manages to outdo herself and emotionally destroy us in the process with lines like “you kept me like a secret but I kept like an oath” and “I was thinking on the drive down, any time now, he’s gonna say it’s love, you never called it what it was”.
We're not crying, you're crying. Other songs that deserve honorable mentions in the category of Hurting Our Feelings are “Sad Beautiful Tragic” and “The Last Time” ft. Gary Lightbody. We don’t know about you, but these tracks have turned us into a crumpled up piece of paper lying here.
7. Love: The Improved Vocals and Production
“Red” was already an amazing album, but “Red (Taylor’s Version)" is even better - a new and improved version if you will (eat your heart out, Scooter).
Swift’s voice has matured over the years and it’s evident in her amazing vocal delivery. Also, she legit sang the ten minute version of “All too Well” live on SNL with no breaks, talk about stamina! Let’s also talk about the production for a minute, shall we? The tracks sound identical to the old versions but some sound sharper, cleaner, stronger (“Red” and “Treacherous”, I’m looking at you). In a surprising move, “Girl at Home” got a complete makeover and went from an acoustic ballad to a total club banger. This rendition slaps! We see the song in a whole new light now.
8. Love: The Vault Tracks
“From the vault tracks” are songs that Swift wrote for the original album but were ultimately left on the cutting room floor. The re-recordings are used as an opportunity to release these never heard before tracks. Highlights include a collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, in “Nothing New”, where they sing about Swift’s fear of being forgotten in favor of “newer, shinier” artists (A notion she also expresses in the “Lucky One” and later on in Folklore's “Mirrorball”). “Run” is a top tier Ed Sheeran-Swift Collab, with lyrics describing Swift's desire to “run away” with her lover. In addition to never before heard tracks, Swift also added her versions of “Better Man” and “Babe”, which were songs she wrote but were recorded by “Little Big Town” and “Sugarland”, respectively.
9. Love: I Bet You Think About Me
Speaking of vault tracks, “I Bet You Think About Me” ft. Chris Stapleton, received its own music video, written by Swift and Blake Lively and directed by the latter. It’s a country ballad song, reminiscent of Swift's earlier sound prominent in the beginning of her career. The track showcases Swift’s sharp songwriting with tongue-in-cheek lyrics towards an ex who looked down on her, containing jabs towards his lifestyle (“I bet you think about me when you say "Oh my God, she's insane, she wrote a song about me”, is a true lyrical gem).
It’s like “Mr. Perfectly fine” but instead of having a bitter tone, it's humorous and triumphant. This is the level of petty I aspire to be. Also, can we talk about Swift’s acting in the music video? Give her all the awards. A true comedian, ladies and gentleman.
10. Hate: The Easter Eggs Have Us Confused About the Next Album to be Re-Recorded
Swift is notorious for leaving hints and clues, known as “Easter eggs” in her music videos, social media posts and lyrics, which allude to future projects/past work. For example, in the “I Bet You Think About Me” music video, the red scarf from the “All Too Well'' short film makes an appearance. During this old-new era she has been dropping Easter eggs that make a compelling argument that both “Speak Now” AND “1989” could be the next album she re-records. We swear, she just likes to drive us crazy and leave us all in suspense.
11. Love: Her Fashion
Swift made a few late night show and red carpet appearances to promote the album and her fashion choices were *chef’s kiss*. In an appearance on The Late Show with Seth Meyer, she wore a black mini dress, with many fans pointing out that it bears resemblance to Princess Diana's famous “revenge” dress. She also wore an exquisite purple velvet suit for the premiere of the “All Too Well: The Short Film”. Honestly, she could wear a burlap sack and pull it off.
12. Love: The Fans’ Reaction
It’s safe to say that social media is saturated with posts about “Red (Taylor's Version)", but some fans took to YouTube and posted their reactions to the album, specifically to the ten minute version of “All Too Well”. Some reactions are truly heartwarming and wholesome and remind us that some of us literally grew up listening to Swift.
13. Love: Swift’s Glow- Up
During an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers'', Swift expressed the anxiety and sadness she felt during the release of “Red” in 2012. Anxious about the reaction to her new musical direction and sad because she was still grappling with the heartache that inspired the album. About the experience of re-releasing the album almost a decade later, she said “this time, I have sunglasses on and a mojito. It’s chill this time,. It's really nice to be able to put this album out and not be sad… it’s much better this way”.
We see you, Queen!
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IMAGE SOURCE: Instagram @taylorswift