Feedback: Taylor Swift's love life: round 4
Jackson Farley on Taylor Swift's Red
"Love is a ruthless game unless you play it good and right."
So says Taylor Swift in "State of Grace," one of the tracks off her new album, Red.
When it comes to Taylor Swift, some would argue that she doesn't know how to play that game good or right, considering the bundle of break-up songs she has in her arsenal. And Swift's fourth studio album, Red, does reflect some more of those messy relationships Swift suffered through over the past few years. But Red has a different feel than past albums. On her new album, Swift seems to have a more mature and healthy reaction to those rough spots in her love life. Is she growing up? Maybe so.
Out of the 16 songs on Red, 15 of them happen to be about relationships. Surprise surprise! However, for those out there who doubt Taylor, hold on. Give her a chance here.
Red is, surprisingly, a fairly diverse album. The album has some incredibly catchy pop songs, some raw and emotionally stimulating ballads and then some other songs you just might not expect from Swift.
"State of Grace" starts the album off with a little bit of a rock feel, which is an interesting change for Swift, the girl who used to be considered "country" (which may have been a mistake in genre classification, to be honest). "Red," the album's title track, shares a lot of the backstory of Swift's inspiration in writing the album. Entertainment Weekly reported that in a web chat with her friends, Swift explained her motives for Red: "All the different emotions that are written about on this album are all pretty much about the kind of tumultuous, crazy, insane, intense, semi-toxic relationships that I’ve experienced in the last two years," she says. "All those emotions — spanning from intense love, intense frustration, jealousy, confusion, all of that — in my mind, all those emotions are red. You know, there’s nothing in between. There’s nothing beige about any of those feelings."
…And we see all those emotions. "I Knew You Were Trouble," as the name suggests, is about one of those "crap-I'm-so-stupid-I-realized-you-were-an-awful-person-but-gave-it-a-shot-anyway-and-now-my-life-is-a-trainwreck" songs. "22," on the other hand, is a super upbeat anthem with a "hi-you're-cute-and-you-make-me-happy-so-let's-dance" attitude.
And what's a T-Swift album without a few tear-jerkers? "I Almost Do," "Treacherous" and "Holy Ground" all have that reflective, melancholy feel that make you wanna go wallow in your sadness and hug a pillow. A really big pillow.
Red also features two guest vocalists: Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol on "The Last Time" and Ed Sheeran on "Everything Has Changed." Both guys complement Swift's voice beautifully and create some pretty kickin' duets, the latter being one of the best tracks on the entire album.
The album comes to a close with "Begin Again," a song that truly shows the difference that Red has in comparison to previous albums. "Begin Again" is a gem in every way. It shows Swift's hesitation to open up to love again after being let down so many times in the past, and then shows the beauty of beginning to let love in again. It's this song that shows the change in attitude Swift possesses: "I’ve been spending the last eight months thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end/ Then on a Wednesday in a cafe I watched it begin again."
Taylor has done it again. Red is an album almost everyone can relate to in one way or another, and compared to her older albums, Swift's new release seems more mature, more graceful and all in all, an album that can be played on repeat for days. While it may be true that Swift is "never ever ever getting back together" with her past flings, it won't come as any surprise when a new guy comes in, leaves and gets another platinum-winning song written about him. But as long as Taylor Swift keeps writing songs about all of her old boyfriends, I'll totally endorse her boy-crazy lifestyle. Keep it up, girl.