Welcome To Taylor Swift’s Revolutionary ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’


Taylor Swift

Since a dispute with her record company, pop star Taylor Swift has been re-releasing and re-recording all of her albums to return them to her ownership. Nov. 12, Swift released her re-recording of hit album “Red,” which instantly topped charts.

Aila MonLouis and Katya Roudakov

Ever since Taylor Swift’s re-release of her album Fearless, which came out as number one on both Apple Music’s Top Albums and the Billboard 200 along with many other accomplishments, fans have obsessed over the idea of her next re-release. On November 12, Red (Taylor’s Version) dropped, and it certainly did not disappoint. With a two hour and ten minute run time, it gives fans plenty to dissect, and it left listeners even more excited for the next reissue. 

Katya Roudakov: Taylor Swift dropped her second re-release Red (Taylor’s Version) and I’ve been listening to it on repeat ever since. When she dropped Fearless (Taylor’s Version), it shocked fans, but Red took things to another level.

It definitely exceeded my high expectations to begin with. I loved the re-recordings of the original songs, but the vault tracks were extra special. “Nothing New,” “I Bet You Think About Me,” and “Run” were all collaborations, and “Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)” was Swift’s first female collaboration. It was surprising for me to learn that she would be working with Bridgers, since the vault tracks were supposedly written for the original album (2012, in Red’s case), but Bridgers didn’t release her first songs until 2015.

AM: Bridgers being her first female collaboration, her most popular song being “Motion Sickness” [which blew up on TikTok], I was surprised. I never really listened to Bridgers but this collaboration worked well for both of them and was very enjoyable.  

KR:  I agree. “Nothing New” is already a fan favorite, despite not having any major promotion before its release. It reminds me of “All Too Well” (the original version) in that way. Neither one was released as a single or had a music video, but fans instantly recognized and favored them. It’s a testament to the dedication of her fans and the quality of her songwriting.

AM: With the favoring of the original version of “All Too Well,” Taylor’s Version remains a fan favorite as well as my own, but specifically her 10-minute version. Compared to “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version),” the distinct experience the lyrics of the 10-minute version share allows for listeners to feel a greater connection to Swift and her love life. That sense of connection has been present throughout Swift’s career but the depth the extended version goes into amplifies that tie.

KR: The lyrics not only connect listeners to Swift but also are relatable enough to speak to their own relationship experiences. That’s one of my favorite things about her music: it can be interpreted in many different ways. Even though the lyrics are often specific, they convey emotions that everyone has felt. The same is true for the “All Too Well” short film, released on the same day as the album. Starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink, it depicts the relationship described in the song and takes viewers through the entire course of a breakup. Though not many people have experienced “dancing ‘round the kitchen in the refrigerator light,” the film makes it feel familiar and personal.

AM: The way Taylor Swift’s genius-like storytelling can be seen in everything she does; the 21st birthday scene where Sadie Sink sat amongst her friends waiting for Dylan O’Brien to show up to the celebration was so depressing to watch. Just having to imagine what it would be like to wait on someone during a time that was supposed to be fun because she was turning 21 is heartbreaking but, the idea also leads to another song in Red, “22,” where her 22nd birthday was enjoyable compared to her 21st.

KR: With the idea of celebration, the music video for I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version), directed by Blake Lively, included a scene of a cake where Swift drew an A in a red velvet wedding cake before eating it with her hands. This scene reminded me of the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, in which a woman has to wear a red “A” as a form of public humiliation for the rest of her life. Swift has referenced The Scarlet Letter before, particularly in her song, Love Story, where she says “You were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter.” This possible reference, along with the fact that cake is often associated with having a good time, made me think that the music video might have been a celebration of her re-releases. There is also much to be said about the symbolism of the music video as a whole, with it taking place at a wedding, Swift crashing the wedding and eating the cake with her hands, and the deeper connection with The Scarlet Letter, but I won’t go into that. However, prominent in the video were references to her other albums, yet to be re-released.

AM: I am hoping for her version of 1989 to be next. This album had such a great impact on the pop music industry as a whole with hits like “Shake It Off,” “Bad Blood,” and of course, “Blank Space.” What I’m especially hoping for is another music video for “Blank Space.” I don’t think the original video could be topped but it would be exciting to see a recreated version of it. I think as the original did, it would break the internet. With Blake Lively directing the “I Bet You Think About Me” music video, I feel she could create a stunning take on “Blank Space.”

KR: There does seem to be a consensus that either 1989 or Speak Now will be her next re-releases, and I’d be ecstatic to hear either of them. Also to be re-released are her debut album, Taylor Swift, and Reputation, both of which are sure to impress. Although the general point of the re-recordings is for them to sound identical to the originals, there were a few surprises on Red (Taylor’s Version). Most notably, the song Girl At Home underwent a complete production change, switching from an acoustic-guitar country song to a bouncy pop song that honestly sounds like it belongs on 1989. To know that Swift is open to genre changes is exciting since it unlocks a world of possibility with future re-recordings. Many fans speculate that Back To December, off of Speak Now, might undergo a similar genre change, but we’ll have to wait and see.