Review: “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Taylor Swift’s new album is versatile and relatable to listeners


Kylie Chisamore

When Taylor Swift announced her intention to rerecord “Red” and reassert her ownership over her music, many knew that the rerelease would be one of the biggest releases of the year.

Vanessa Moreno, Staff Writer

On Friday Nov. 12 Taylor Swift released the long-awaited rerecording of her 2012 album “Red.” The new album, entitled “Red (Taylor’s Version),” features 30 songs, nine of which are songs that didn’t make the original album. A ten-minute version of “All Too Well” and an acoustic version of “All Too Well” are also included.

In the fall of 2018 Swift’s 13-year record deal with Big Machine Records expired. She chose to walk away from the label as Scott Borchetta, the owner of BMR, was planning to sell the label, and therefore, her future. Walking away meant that Swift wouldn’t own the masters to any of the songs released under BMR. While she attempted to buy the masters to her music, Big Machine offered her unfavorable terms.

In June 2019, Scooter Braun, a talent manager who has often antagonized Swift, purchased Big Machine Records and by extension, Swift’s music. Braun then sold the masters of Swift’s music to Shamrock Holdings, a private equity firm.  Swift claims that Braun offered her a chance to purchase her masters on the condition that she signed a non-disclosure agreement, but she refused. Further, she declined to become an equity partner with Shamrock Holdings as Braun would continue to financially benefit from her work.

Although Swift did not own the masters to her music, she had publishing rights since she was the main songwriter for every song. Per artist-label agreements, this allows her to rerecord her music after a certain period of time. By rerecording her music, Swift would technically be creating new songs to which she fully owns the masters to. 

In August Swift announced she intended to rerecord all six albums released under Big Machine Records. “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” was the first album to be rerecorded and released on April 9. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” followed on Nov. 12. 

“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is highly versatile in sound and listeners can find at least one song they like. The album features full pop songs like “22” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” These songs are extremely upbeat and the most energetic on the album. More country songs that are reminiscent of Swift’s earlier music are also present. “Sad Beautiful Tragic” and “Stay Stay Stay” are more mellow, acoustic, and slow paced. Lastly, there are also some songs that dip into the rock genre. “Holy Ground”  and “State of Grace” are two songs that are reminiscent of the arena-rock genre, featuring mellow and poetic lyrics while remaining upbeat.