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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Criticism: Red (Taylor’s Version) hits All Too Well

Photo by Creative Commons

Following the re-release of Taylor Swift’s “Red,” opinion writer Abbie Beckley comments on both the accusations and the accomplishments surrounding the album. 

Just between us, did “Red (Taylor’s Version)” maim you, too?
In an effort to reclaim her work after long battles over the rights to her music, Taylor Swift made the decision to re-record her old work. Not only would Swift own the rights to her own music, but now she would profit off streams as well. On Nov. 12, Swift re-released her fourth studio album, “Red,” featuring a 10-minute version of the song “All Too Well.” Not only did her re-release of the album spark controversy surrounding the supposed subject, but proved once and for all that Taylor Swift is one of the greatest artists of our generation.

“Red (Taylor’s Version)” was a massive hit, breaking Spotify’s most streamed album by a female artist in a day during its debut.
Not only is breaking this record a great accomplishment by Swift, but it really speaks to the pure artistry found in this album. While the original release of “Red” was all about heartbreak, starting to realize that love isn’t easy and how people will break your heart, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” gives a beautiful retrospective of what it is like to grow up.

The audience can hear the change in “All Too Well (10-Minute Version).” The lyrics start by reminiscing about a lost lover, “I walked through the door with you, the air was cold,” along with the physical representation of this innocence left behind, “I left my scarf there at your sister’s house.” 

As the song progresses, Swift moves away from reminiscing on the relationship and focuses more on the good that happened in this midst of this disaster “‘cause in this city’s barren cold, I still remember the first fall of snow and how it glistened as it fell, I remember it all too well.” The audience sees Swift beginning to wonder if she was the only one who was hurt in this relationship, begging for an answer with the lyrics, “just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?” She moves from inside of herself, thinking of the hurt he caused, to wondering if he feels the same way about missing her. This theme is later reinforced through the song “I Bet You Think About Me,” where Swift addresses all the traces of herself she left with the person with whom she had the affair. 

Let’s make one thing clear: Taylor Swift is not bringing back old drama by re-releasing the album. She’s re-releasing the album — her music, the songs that she wrote — her own way. Swift made it abundantly clear she’s not hung up on her ex after accusations arose following the release of her album, of her short film “All Too Well” — featuring the new 10-minute version of the song — being about an old flame and supposed subject of the entire album, Jake Gyllenhaal. Separating what the album once meant and what it began to mean to her audience shows the true depths of Swift’s abilities as a songwriter and how she was able to transform an album once about heartbreak into something much more.

We see the dichotomy between a naive child, who thinks they know the world, and an adult who finally understands the impossibility to truly know everything in “Nothing New (ft. Phoebe Bridgers).” Not only does this song explore the multitudes we hold in ourselves as human beings, but it also gives voice to the insecurities that Swift and many other young people, women in particular, face. “What will become of me when I’ve lost my noveltyI know someday I’m gonna meet her, it’s a fever dream, the kind of radiance you only have at 17, she’ll know the way and then she’ll say she got the map from me, I’ll say I’m happy for her then I’ll cry myself to sleep.” In voicing her fear of being replaced and overlooked, we can see the universal terror of becoming obsolete and that this fear extends even beyond little lonely college students, all the way to the mind of one of the most acclaimed artists of our generation

What a triumph it is for Swift to have captured the hearts of fans worldwide for over 15 years. Here is an artist who changes and grows constantly, who made successful jumps from country to pop to alternative and back to country/pop again for re-recordings. Even when her music is re-released, it’s changed fundamentally, despite the words remaining the same. Swift’s music evolved and grew with her and her audience of loyal fans, and this is why she’s such a wonderful artist — she’s aware of herself, her fans and their shared fears, insecurities and experiences. 

All this being said, if you haven’t taken the time to give it a listen, stream “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on your preferred platform and tell me, just between us, did “Red (Taylor’s Version)” maim you, too?

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