Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Album Review: Red by Taylor Swift

It's no secret I can't stand Taylor Swift's music. I know I just committed musical heresy to girls everywhere, but I think her former albums sound trite and are like musical cotton candy. Way, way, waaaaay too sweet and lacking sustaining substance. I'll also gladly admit that I think she's an incredibly talented songwriter in many ways. She's quite talented and wildly successful. I think she's sold a bajillion records at this point or something, which is impressive to even the least inspired like me. She also taps into her own thoughts and feelings in a way that (might be TMI???) that is extremely open and honest. Perhaps it's the over saturation of fairy-tale loving, wide eyed innocence, or country twang, but I've never been able to get into her songs. Still, I believe in giving every musician a fair try (excluding Justin Bieber whom I loathe and despise for his girly eyebrows and perfect application of lipstick/lipgloss), so I listened to Swift's latest album Red.

Um, wait, what? This is Taylor Swift??? Ok, first things first: wasn't she a country music singer? I'm so confused. Second: I liked it (I was shocked) Third: is she going through identity crisis, because I felt like the genres were all over the map. ALL OVER IT. But successfully so, and in a manner worth listening to. It turns out I like a brokenhearted Taylor Swift much better than a "Romeo + Juliet" Swift. I hope she has tons more breakups with bad boys. It's so much better for her music.

Probably due to my astonishment that I am able to like a Taylor Swift song and that the album isn't a saccharine sweet tribute to love, I've decided to do a review of some individual tracks:

1. State of Grace: ok, I did not see this coming. Apparently, I'm not the only one side-swiped, because Swift sings that "I never saw you coming..." and works it into a song that sound nothing like country and everything like a catchy, trendy Indie tune. Don't know what the heck is going on here, but I like it. The song leads with driving drums and a bit of hipster vibe. I like the clever lyrics.

2. Red: Sounding more like Swift's past songs, which as basically pop tunes with a little banjo action to call it country, but again, I think this will be radio hit. It's pretty formulaic, but it's a formula that works. I didn't get into it, but it wasn't painful to listen to.

3. Treacherous: Oh, squeaky clean image, good girl Swift, we all have a run in with a bad boy at some point. You just make songs about it. In a tune that's filled with strumming guitars and pages of her diary, Swift creates a song that builds and builds to a powerful finale.

4. I Knew You Were Trouble: I hate it when singers all jump on the same idea and overkill it. Dubstep is dubstep, stop messing with it! Yes, Swift/Bieber/Rihanna, I'm talking to you. I'm sorry, she can't pull it off. I love dubstep, and it belongs many places but on a Taylor Swift album isn't one of them. Again, isn't she a country singer? Ok, whatever. I feel like this album is screaming, "I'm being experimental and I haven't even graduated from college so I have no clue who I am!!!!" OMG, get a grip. Here's the song:

5. All Too Well: After a little bit of musical schizophrenia  Swift returns to her roots. Which means I do not not not like this song. I'm sure girls everywhere will have this track on repeat. It's so precious, aww. Classic Swift: guitars, finding love lyrics, sorta-country, whatever. I don't care for it, but you jump right on board if you'd like.

6. 22: oh to be young again! 22 is an ode to being in your early 20's. This song sounds so annoying to me, but I applaud the tribute to being young. It pretty accurately summarizes what it's like to be 22 in an over the top pop kind of way. Again, does Swift HAVE a style any more???

7. I Almost Do: in a EP style of simple guitar and drums, Swift struggles with post breakup regret as she fights not calling her ex. It's entirely real, entirely girl, and somehow truly sad. Swift captures what it's like to be hurt by someone but still want them back, despite who they are and what they've done. The inner emo kid in me likes sad tunes oh so much.

8. Never Getting Back Together: I begrudgingly like this song. It's so catchy, and every girl in the entire world can relate to the exhausting catch and release---and catch and release again---dating game. Allegedly (according to everyone in the world including Swift) it refers to her relationship with the oh so hottie McHotterson Jake Gyllenhael. I'm a fan of the song until the break in the music when she has a mini conversation using "like" about a hundred times in two seconds. Also, the radio is quickly over playing it. Thank you Spotify and Pandora for saving me. Side note: what is up were her PJ's and super over the top glasses?

9. Stay Stay Stay:  one of the more cutesy, immature tracks on an otherwise well developing album. She disses past ex's and collapses into a fit of giggles at the end ("It's so fun!" she exclaims to the horror of my nerves)

10. Begin Again: ending the album on a more peaceful, forgiving note, Swift finds a bit of hope after all the heart break. Despite all the heart goes through, it can begin again. 

1 comment:

  1. What's interesting about this record is the obvious help she was given arrangement wise. With influences from dubstep to other audio deviations for Swift, it's really clear she has a huge and very talented team helping her remain relevant and successful.

    I'll admit, I've found myself singing along to a number of tracks from this album too. Especially when my young kids ask daddy to turn it up in the car and we all start singing at the top of our lungs.

    Dig the review. Thanks.