Taylor Swift stuck at a Red light
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Release Date: Oct. 22
Label: Big Machine
By elementary school, it is common for students to be able to connect certain colors with emotions.The color red can symbolize a burning passion – love or an intense hatred.
Taylor Swift needs to go back to school.
The innocent blonde country crooner who captured hearts with 2008’s “Teardrops On My Guitar” and established herself as a must have in any teenage girl’s iPod has changed. Her fourth studio album, Red, is a lackluster attempt at further pushing her genre’s boundary and lacks the emotion of her previous efforts.
The opening track, “State Of Grace,” sounds like it belongs at a sold out rock concert. Swift channels U2 in this track and abandons her country roots. It’s clear she wanted to diversify, but this song was not the right way to start off.
On the title track “Red,” Swift sings relatable lyrics about trying to forget an ex-lover. However, the lyrics do not make up for the electronic stuttering of the word “red” and her signature country style only makes a quick appearance toward the end of the track.
Redthen progresses into “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “22” – two songs that make Swift’s effort comical. The stuttering of words continues, and the chorus contains a dub step beat that completely abandons the country idol Swift once was. It is disappointing to hear “I Knew You Were Trouble” because Swift was able to convey much more emotion in earlier ballads like 2008’s “White Horse.”
Current smash single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” harnesses Swift’s classic love problems amid the generic background clapping and pop hook. The lyrics are still applicable enough to the normal teenager or early 20-something girl to make it an instant radio hit. While it doesn’t encompass Taylor Swift’s typical sound, fans have loved this song since its debut this past summer.
Among the train wreck that is Red, Swift redeems herself with three songs.
“The Last Time,” a duet with Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, finally brings out Swift’s passionate side. The singers’ voices intertwine perfectly and establish a haunting aura of passion and pain.
“All Too Well” showcases Swift’s songwriting ability as she tells a story about going to visit her boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving. The track is consistent with mainstream country songs, and her southern twang reminds the listener of her roots.
The most promising song on Red is “Sad Beautiful Tragic.” The song cascades through the light strums of a banjo with Swift’s pained and airy voice accompanying it. “Sad Beautiful Tragic” is Red’s lifesaver as it reflects back on previous singles such as “Back To December.”
“Long handwritten note/deep in your pocket/Words how little they mean/when they’re a little too late,” Swift sings.
While Red fails to be ingenious, her first week album sales are slated to top Mumford & Sons’ Babel for largest number of units sold in the first week.
Of course, Swift will clean up house at the next music awards show, but hopefully she will return to real country music after failing at genre blending.