Swift leaves nothing unsaid in ‘Red’

Country popstar Taylor Swift released her fourth studio album on Monday, selling more than 250,000 copies. || Photo courtesy of taylorswift.com

It seems like the young country/pop singer Taylor Swift puts out a new album every two years, at least that’s the pattern she’s formed. After taking a brief break out of the spotlight last year, Swift is back again with her fourth studio album, “Red.”

Swift wrote in the prologue of the CD’s insert that the album reflects moments of newfound hope, extreme joy, intense passion, wishful thinking and in some cases, the unthinkable letdown. She said these kinds of moments burn bright red in her mind – consequently inspiring the album’s title.

“This album is about the other kinds of love that I’ve recently fallen in and out of, love that was treacherous, sad, beautiful and tragic,” Swift wrote.

I think Swift achieves that goal. She makes this album about her previous relationships that made her feel a variety of intense emotions. As an artist who is known to be a storyteller in her lyrics, you can hear her agony, passion and hope throughout this album. That is what Swift’s fans love about her and I never understood until listening to the­ songs on “Red.”

The opening song is called “State of Grace” and is probably my favorite track on the entire album. Written by Swift, the catchy chorus and lyrics, “I never saw you coming,” brings positive energy to listeners. It’s a great way to start an album.

The next song is the album’s namesake, “Red.” This song sums up what Swift talks about in her prologue I mentioned earlier, except this song is about one specific past relationship that was full of strong emotions. She compares that relationship to various things and colors including blue, dark gray and, of course, red.

When you listen to “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” the subtleness in Swift’s voice really provokes the agony that she’s singing about. Any artist who can portray emotions well in their music like Swift does is in the right industry.

“I Knew You Were Trouble” is a fun little song that speaks about falling for the bad guy and includes some neat electronic additions, which is something new for Swift.

Swift collaborated with other familiar artists on two songs on the album. She teams up with Gary Lightbody from the band Snow Patrol in “The Last Time.” The duo sings with an orchestra, and the song has a nice build to it – Snow Patrol style.

In “Everything Has Changed,” Swift collaborates with Ed Sheeran. Sheeran complements her voice as they harmonize through the chorus.

There are two songs on this album that seem a little immature for the 22-year-old to me. One is the radio-hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The other is “22.”

These two songs don’t match the tone of the rest of the album. They sound like songs that belong to any of her previous albums.

By purchasing the deluxe edition, fans recieve six extra songs including alternative versions of “State of Grace,” “Red” and “Treacherous.”

I would definitely argue that Swift’s style and voice is anything but solid country. She definitely has a pop influence in her sound, especially with her studio add-ons heard in this album. But, the artist continues to sell millions of albums – this particular one sold 262,000 copies on the first day of its release, and has won countless awards and honors. She must be doing something right.

3/5 stars

Review by Anna Taylor, Features Editor.