I’m well aware that Red is one of the most popular Taylor Swift albums, and admittedly, I didn’t actually develop my love of Taylor until after this album was released, so bear that in mind! Additionally, I know many fans refer to Red as a “break-up” album – I’ve only ever had one relationship that I am thankfully still in, so it’s difficult to relate to the album on that front. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the album and the incredible song writing that comes with it. Undoubtedly, this is another one of Taylor’s best.
Red was Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album and was said to document the “red” emotions that resulted from an unhealthy relationship. The album was a turning point as Taylor began experimenting with a new style of music and collaborating with new producers in order to branch out from her usual style of country-pop. Many praised the album on its song writing, while others (dicks) criticised the genre inconsistency, with many calling it a straightforward pop album as opposed to country-pop.
Information correct at time of writing.
Release Date: 22nd October 2012
Producers: Taylor Swift, Nathan Chapman, Jeff Bhasker, Dann Huff, Jacknife Lee, Max Martin, Shellback, Butch Walker, Dan Wilson
Label: Big Machine Records
Tracks: 16 (standard edition); 22 (deluxe edition)
Awards & Nominations:
55th Grammy Awards – Album of the Year and Best Country Album 2014 (Nominated)
Country Music Association Awards – Album of the Year 2013 (Nominated)
Academy of Country Music Awards – Album of the Year 2013 (Nominated)
American Music Awards – Favourite Country Album 2013 (Won)
Billboard Music Awards – Top Album and Top Country Album 2013 (Won)
Canadian Country Music Association Awards – Top Selling Album 2013 (Won)
Country Music Awards of Australia – Top Selling International Album of the Year 2014 (Won)
My Top Five
- All Too Well
- Holy Ground
- The Last Time
- Come Back… Be Here
Honourable Mentions: Everything Has Changed, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, I Almost Do
All Too Well
All Too Well will always have a special place in my heart, as it’s the song that caused me to fall in love with Taylor as a performer and a songwriter. That sounds ridiculously corny, but it’s true. I was a fan of Taylor’s mainstream stuff at this point – Love Story, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together etc, but nothing more than that. I had, however, recently downloaded the Red album and had been loving the tracks, although I didn’t really pay much attention to the lyrics. Cut to the day after the 2014 Grammy Awards, where I saw a video of Taylor performing All Too Well. That was it. For the first time, I really listened to the lyrics and the story she told, and the way she performed it was just breathtaking. It was from that moment on, I ended up developing a total girl crush on her. The storytelling and emotion she puts across in All Too Well is incredibly vivid and intense, and you just immediately get lost in the lyrics. Aside from the Grammys performance, I’d never seen Taylor sing this live, until last year when I watched the Reputation stadium tour on Netflix, where she performed an acoustic version of the song. I’ve never been through that sort of break up that relates to such a song, but I still cried my eyes out. The sheer fact that even years later, she performed it with such emotion and she acknowledged that she knew how important it was to all of her fans. She explained that she wrote the song as a catharsis to get her through a tough break-up, and she then saw it evolve into an anthem for all of her fans. She told the audience, because of that, it was their song. Honestly I can’t even. Had I been in that stadium I would have needed sedating.
For that reason, All Too Well has to be one of my all time favourite Taylor Swift songs. It’s lyrically beautiful, and it introduced me to Taylor’s songs beyond what was in the charts. What resulted were songs that cheered me up, made me cry, made me feel comforted, and reminded me of some of the best times I’ve had with my friends. It’s ridiculously soppy, but for that, I am grateful that this song is what led me to become a Swiftie.
Holy Ground is one of my favourite driving songs. I love the pace and the intensity of the song, and again, it’s just a wonderful example of how Taylor can tell a story with her lyrics. Allegedly about her relationship with Joe Jonas, it’s not your typical heart-wrenching lyrics she usually puts across with her songs, but it still tells the story of a past relationship and the excitement that came with it. What I love about songs like this is that while it’s clearly about a romantic relationship, you can apply it to other relationships too, such as friendships you had an amazing time with but that person’s no longer in your life. It’s one of those songs you can instantly relate to your own circumstances and put your own interpretation on.
Taylor Swift’s 22 is one of my favourite songs to listen to when I’m with my friends. Shake It Off is mine and Lillie’s song, and 22 is another song that reminds me of all of the good times I’ve had with her and with the rest of my friends over the years. It’s the perfect party song, and it genuinely makes me think that 22 is a bloody good age to be. Think about it, you’re out of uni, you’re still trying to find out what the hell you’re doing with your life, and most of your friends are home from uni too, so you can go out and get absolutely shit faced on numerous occasions. You are literally “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.” It’s so relatable. Even now, it’s one of the first songs I listen to as I get ready for a night out.
The Last Time
A collaboration with Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, The Last Time is an intense power ballad that tells the story of a crumbling relationship and the repetitive cycle of heartbreak that comes with it. Again, I feel like I can’t necessarily relate on an emotional level where I’ve only ever had one relationship that I’m currently still in (not boasting, just stating facts), but more than anything I appreciate the emotion that comes across in the song and the intensity that comes with it. Following the release of Folklore, you can immediately draw parallels between the two songs and the desperation between the two personas in the song. It’s just amazing work all round.
Come Back…Be Here
One of the songs that featured on the deluxe edition of Taylor Swift’s Red, Come Back…Be Here is a gem I discovered a month or so after I discovered the album. Many would relate the song to the pain of long distance relationships, but for me, it reminds me of those early days of being with Liam. There was absolutely no long distance involved, but when you’re a pathetic 17 year old who’s never ever had a boyfriend because you look like you’ve been scraped off the bottom of someone’s shoe, you feel that sort of longing and desperation the second your boyfriend leaves your house even though he lives less than a 10 minute drive away. Yes, yes, let’s all laugh at how pathetic I was. I mean, at the ripe old age of 28, I look a teeny bit less like something scraped off the bottom of one’s shoe, and he’s my husband now so I sort of win.
Should I set up a Go Fund Me for my therapy? Let me know in the comments!
I feel Everything Has Changed should get the first honourable mention – it came out in the charts around 2013-ish, and 2013 was the year I finished university. Timing wise, it was in the charts around the time that I said goodbye to my two uni friends, A and B. If you’ve followed my blog from the start, you’ll know that I struggled with uni from the very beginning, and it wasn’t until my second year at least that I made friends. Second and third year were probably my most sociable years at uni, and when it got to May 2013, we met up in our local Spoons for what was going to be our farewell dinner. We tried our best to keep the emotion to a minimum, but what I will always remember is this song playing in the background. It will always have that memory attached, which is why it’s a song that means a lot to me. I also feel like We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together should get an honourable mention purely because of what a banger it is. I don’t necessarily have a personal attachment to it, but if it comes on in a nightclub or at any point during a girls’ night with my friends, you can bet your sweet bippy I will sing that shit at the top of my lungs. Finally, I also feel that I Almost Do needs a shout out. Again, it’s one of those songs that you can put your own spin on. While it’s clearly a relationship based song, you can relate it to friendships that have ended earlier than what you’d want them to, and the feelings that come with it all. She’s a song-writing genius.
There’s no denying that Red by Taylor Swift is a work of art. While I wouldn’t say that it’s my personal favourite out of her albums, I can see why it is for so many fans and I 100% appreciate that. It’s packed with some of her most incredible lyrics and some of her most popular songs, and it also features the song that led me to become a full-on Swiftie. For that, it will certainly be one of my all time favourite albums.
What are your thoughts on Red? Let me know your favourite tracks in the comments!
Catch Up with the Rest of My Tay-Tay Top Five Series
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) – 2021
Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (2020)
Speak Now (2010)
Taylor Swift (2006)