Taylor Swift performs at the Red Tour in March 2013
Jana Beamer/Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons

Taylor Swift Makes 'Red (Taylor's Version)' Even Better

Nearly 10 years after its initial release as Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album, Red (Taylor’s Version) manages to be even better than the original. Running just over two hours long, her album features the re-recordings of the original 21 songs from the album and its subsequent era, plus nine new songs. Being the second album she has re-recorded in the long process to regain ownership of her masters, it has a lot going for it.

Nominated for album of the year at the 2013 Grammys, Red was one of her most successful albums to date. The album marked her transition to mainstream pop, as her songs strayed away from her typical country sound. With songs featuring heartbreak, Swift described the album as a “fractured mosaic of feelings” as she entered her early 20s.

The album featured major hits like “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” but also iconic breakup song and fan-favourite “All Too Well.” With its fair share of hits, it seemed the new re-recordings were going to garner a wide audience of fans old and new, creating lots of anticipation for its release. The album lives up to that anticipation, expanding even further in its maturity and sound than we could have expected.

Being an album almost 10 years old, it is incredible to hear the voice of a more mature Swift reflect on the feelings of the past in the re-recorded Red (Taylor’s Version). Her maturity is clear across the album in her voice and in the production of the songs, making her music even better — a common theme across her re-recordings.

During the process of re-recording her songs, Swift is liberated to do as she pleases with her songs. An almost feminist perspective, the re-recordings allow her to produce the songs the way she wanted them to original sound and not the way some recording label executives wanted. Even on “Girl at Home,” which is considered one of the weaker songs on the album, she adds a more poppy and upbeat sound that gets rid of its original country sound. The re-recordings allow her fans, both new and old, to appreciate one of the songs widely considered one of her worst. By tweaking her original songs, she contributes to an improvement of her own album.

“All Too Well” is a perfect example of this, as the highly anticipated 10-minute version charted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the longest song ever to hit that position. The longer version, which includes verses and lyrics not included in the original, gives it way more elegance and meaning. It contains some of her most touching lyrics to date as she sings, “They say all's well that ends well, but I'm in a new hell / Every time you double-cross my mind.” Without a doubt, the 10 minute and 13-second song ties the entire album together and makes it even better than it already was.

Overall, Red (Taylor’s Version) celebrates her growth, both in her personal and professional life, as she perpetually improves her craft. Being able to make an iconic pop album even better shows her talent is unmatched.