Taylor Swift: Red

8 Jan

taylor swift red

If Red has taught me one thing it is that Taylor Swift is not a musician to dismiss. I previously wrote her off as a squeaky clean ambassador for overly-emotional teenage girls, but while Red taps into that market, it also shows off Swift’s solid musical chops. It is an album of well-structured and incredibly addictive songs and while breakout hit “I Knew You Were Trouble” is undoubtedly the most fun song on the album, there are some other real treasures to be found.

Still, there are some criticisms to be made about Red. Swift has enough material for a strong ten to twelve song album, but Red has been unnecessarily stretched out to twenty-two, favouring quantity over quality. Songs like “All Too Well”, “I Almost Do”, and “Holy Ground” lean on the side of simplistic and boring. On top of that the deluxe tracks are almost all superfluous: three so-so new songs and two pointless demos, though her beautiful, tender acoustic rendition of “State of Grace” more than makes up for the other extraneous material.

My enjoyment of Red might have made it merely a guilty pleasure for me but Taylor Swift has anticipated this kind of reaction. She has a sense of perspective and irony about her own virgin-sweet mainstream appeal, joking about it on several tracks. She is refreshingly unpretentious and while some of her songs have a wounded feel they are never maudlin. And so Red is not a guilty pleasure for me, just a pleasure to listen to.

By Tessa Clews


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