Album: Red (Taylor’s Version)
. . .
After the stadium rock anthem of “State of Grace (Taylor’s Version)“,” the opening of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” offers a bit of a misdirect, as it opens with Taylor singing the opening verse over a kickdrum and bouzouki (and maybe a banjo or at least a ganjo, though they’re not listed in the credits.)
Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street
Faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly
Loving him is like trying to change your mind
Once you’re already flying through the free fall
Like the colors in autumn, so bright, just before they lose it all
But it’s just a feint, because once again here comes the big guitars and the synths and the rock drum beats, all of which get subsumed by the glorious, gorgeous chorus, Taylor a bit submerged despite the fact that there are multiple Taylors singing along.
Losing him was blue, like I’d never known
Missing him was dark gray, all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know
Somebody you never met
But loving him was red
Loving him was red
There also a fantastic hook after the chorus that’s almost like they ran the bouzouki through a talkbox, Peter Frampton style. But that can’t be right. That said, as “Red (Taylor’s Version)” goes on, it just gets bigger and bigger, especially on the bridge, where the guitars are stabbing chords against a double-time drum part and Taylor is still failing to get out of her own head.
Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes
Tell myself it’s time now gotta let go
But moving on from him is impossible
When I still see it all in my head
In burning red
Burning, it was red
That’s followed by a slide guitar solo that Taylor matches the notes to with her vocal, and one last stop time chorus that feels like it could fall apart at any time. I mean, it’s a Taylor Swift song, so there really isn’t any danger of it falling apart at any time, but for a split second, it feels like it might.
In its original incarnation, “Red” was a massive single on both the Hot 100, where it topped out at #6 and on the country charts, where it made #2. And while “Red (Taylor’s Version)” didn’t quite co that well, it still made #25, despite not being released as a single again.
“Red (Taylor’s Version)”
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