‘Red’ (Taylor’s Version), Reviewed By A Guy Who Pretty Much Hasn’t Listened To Music For Fun In His Life

November 14, 202111 minute read

This is not a bit. These are my genuine thoughts on the album, I wouldn’t normally listen but I felt left out on the tweets.

First impressions – This is too long. 30 songs? I have not had 30 quality thoughts in my life, let alone enough to transform into 29 songs plus an additional longer song. 

State of Grace – This was an okay song! I imagine if you gave 1000 pop songs from the past decade to an AI it would generate this one on the 6th attempt, but hey it was nice enough! I might even listen to it at least once more before moving back to my 5 frequented podcasts!

Red – Hmm. If this is the title song then we may be in trouble, like if Shakesphere had named ‘Hamlet’ ‘Polonius’ instead; sure he’s an alright character, but not the main attraction worth coming back for. The lyrics are the thing throwing me off, like the ‘loving him is like X’ pattern takes me way out of the song. I feel like I’m at the pork pie factory watching it get made. For the rest of the song, see my comments for ‘State of Grace’.

Tenacious – I can like songs! That’s better! I may actually listen to this one out of choice, or at least shuffled in my playlist of under 50 songs! However, I feel like I’m reading the penultimate paragraph of a kid’s English essay, the new ideas are wearing thin and I hope you have some new thoughts about this dude between songs 4 and 30.

I Knew You Were Trouble – This one broke into my real world (shopping centers and school trip minibusses) so I had heard it before. That’s pretty much the review, it’s a song I had heard before. I wasn’t familiar enough with the material to pick up on subtle differences, however, Taylor does sound more bored on the ‘trouble trouble trouble’ chorus bits. I did want to apologize to Taylor for keeping her when she is clearly bored, but this whole thing was her idea!

All Too Well – Okay my fears shown in ‘Tenacious’ were confirmed, we’re out of ideas about this dude (I have never experienced Jake’s work either so I couldn’t comment on that side of things). If she was writing the essay in an exam I wouldn’t give her extra paper to finish, she has just swapped the drums for a guitar like a kid suddenly writing in a blue pen. I do enjoy blue pen, but come on now, you should’ve studied harder or made the previous paragraphs more concise!

22 – Skipped it because I have that milestone coming up and I refuse to think about it. Even if the song is happy, the passage of time scares me.

I Almost Do – A bit Tory to be honest. This dude has a chair (presumably comfy) in a house overlooking the city, and he can afford an entire week of partying? Nah his dad’s an investment banker mate, you don’t need an entire album to bring him down,  just a copy of the Panama Papers. I know I should have an emotional investment in these songs, but I can’t stop thinking about house prices. There’s no penthouse room in London affordable to someone with socialist tendencies. 

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – You know those films where the actor meant to be playing a teenage protagonist is about 30 and it’s obvious? This song is that feeling in audio form. I know it’s probably deliberately in that style, but I can’t help thinking about Zac Efron. So not entirely a bad thing. 

It should probably be noted at this point the condition I am writing this in, it’s very late and the rhomboid I injured doing layup is full-on throbbing. Instead of the doctors, I have a massive Aldi popcorn bag and 21 more songs in the album. Fuck me. I’m going to bed and finishing it later. 

Stay Stay Stay – Any intro that reminds me of Kevin Macleod deserves to be skipped, I half expected her to ask me to smash the like button. Made it 2 minutes in and moved on, hope I didn’t miss her doing the Chubby Bunny Challenge!

The Last Time – THAT’S NOT TAYLOR’S VOICE! I got scared, no idea who this dude is, I had about an hour of just Taylor and the new dude spooked me. The song is kind of cute, it might even provoke an emotional response out of me, I could conceivably see myself putting this song on out of choice. She’s got a 2/10 hit ratio on this album at the moment, but that’s fine, not all of them can be bangers!

Holy Ground – We’re back to the English Essay problem, you can’t just turn up the (snare?) and repeat all the following points. I got bored and checked Twitter during it. I saw quite a funny tweet, and by the time I shared it the song had stopped. So there’s that I guess. 

Sad Beautiful Tragic – I am well aware that if I had a normal emotional relationship with music this would be one of the songs that made me sad. I can see all the sad-making components, but it’s just doing nothing for me? There are still 2 minutes of it to go at the time of writing, I might finish off that popcorn… Never mind, it finished before I could reach the bag. Now my back hurts again. I hate everything happening in my proximity at the moment. 

The Lucky One – Why did the first fucking line make me think of pseudonyms, this entire song is going to be about R****** in my head now. I’m sorry Taylor. This is a pleasant enough song, I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it but I rather enjoyed my time while it was on. Less of an earworn, more of an earslug (in a good way), I can tell it’s there and I’m fine with that but it’s not really getting stuck.

Everything Has Changed – It was on for about 30 seconds before I zoned out and replied to a text. It wasn’t a particularly important text in all honesty. My mother asked me about a coffee machine she might get Dad for Christmas. It seemed like a rather good deal, compatible with quite a few different makes of pods, but we’ve had coffee machines before, and they never get used again after a month. Anyway, I zoned back in for the final 30 seconds, and they seemed much like the first 30. 

Starlight – Okay I think Taylor has a weird formula for a song, called ‘tell a story in chronological order but randomly speed up the narration’s time scale so it always ties into the chorus’. Like she will be describing a nice enough day in slow detail then suddenly YACHT PRINCESS DANCE STARLIGHT. Sure the chorus is decently upbeat, but now I can see the formula I feel like I’m at the pork pie factory again.

Begin Again – ‘He always said he didn’t get this song’ well that’s just too direct an attack on me, I feel bad now. I did like this one, it was like getting a hug from a good-but-not-close friend, it was comfy and cozy, but I’m not sure it will be a regular thing.

The Moment I Knew – I spent the last 3 minutes wondering what a ‘baby I’m right here smile’ would look like. I can’t imagine there are teeth involved, is it one of those smaller ones? Then how do you differentiate that one from all the other reasons to smile a bit? Is it applicable to actual babies?  I would listen to the rest of the song but it feels very specific like I am overhearing a conversation I shouldn’t be and now I feel rude. I am trying to enjoy the music, but confusion and second-hand social embarrassment are all I’m getting from it.

Breakfast break now. I am well aware this is 1200 words now, but you’ve all spent the last week celebrating a 10 minute version of a song as a masterpiece (and believe me I will be the judge of that) so you can endure this form of self-indulgence for a bit longer. 

Come Back… Be Here – Nevermind, I was meant to have breakfast but I just kind of sat watching Youtube clips until I got bored enough to come back to the album. This one feels like my earlier ‘AI of 1000 songs’ but some weird glitch means the previous songs from the album are used in the AI. Feel like if I added any three songs from the last 18 I could swap them in and out and not notice. Apart from the Snow Patrol guy one. Maybe I should just listen to Snow Patrol instead.

Girl At Home – Yes! This one sounds different! Yes! I legitimately love the music part of this, the lyrics of ‘a girl calling out a guy for having another girl at home’ are hard for me to relate to, but if there was like a Swedish version of the lyrics that I could pretend meant anything I would have this on repeat today! 

State of Grace (Acoustic Version) – Demolish that goodwill I just gave you why don’t you, this is a repeat! Admittedly it is a better version and if I heard this in isolation I would enjoy it a lot more, but you know what they say about grandmothers and bikes.

Ronan – After writing my initial paragraph I Googled the meaning behind this song and, well, moving on. 

Better Man – Need a second opinion, do other people think the album gets better as it goes on, or have I just been broken in by 22 Swift songs in a row? I actually found this mildly touching for a bit, it could’ve ended after 3 minutes easily but those were 180 seconds of heaviness. Huh. I hope this is actually to do with the song and not just some form of audio gaslighting, because I’m going to relisten to a few of these out of my own free will. 

Nothing New – I actually came back to my room excited to hear more of this album. I suppose this song wasn’t meant for me, I do understand it (have you seen the tweets I liked? I’m so bloody in touch with that feminine side of myself mate!), but I just wanted to listen to Phoebe’s cover of That Funny Feeling for the 98th time. Then argue in the comments about why the original version is actually the best thing Bo has done for the 97th time.

Babe – AI generating song machine goes brrrrr ect. 

Message in a Bottle – I bopped to it. Rather a sad sight really, just a dude bopping in his room, but I bopped nonetheless. What a nice little song! Not sure why this one stood out, it might just be the swift-induced brainrot, I’m going to have some beans on toast and finish this thing. 

I Bet You Think About Me – Beans eaten. Coffee got. I’m ready to have my final dose of emotions. Those emotions are currently ‘fury at whoever decided to bring a HARMONICA to this gig’. Admittedly the only country song I’ve ever heard was Bo Burnham’s Country song, and as an introduction to the genre, I’m not a fan. I want to Dunkirk the lyrics out of this song and put them in a better place, away from harmonicas. Can we do a swap with the Girl at Home lyrics? Girl at the Barn?

Forever Winter – See my comments for Come Back / Babe. It’s slightly better than those, so that’s nice.

Run – Exactly the same reaction as Sad Beautiful Tragic. Maybe the beans absorbed my sentimentality. 

The Very First Night – She’s back baby! Touching and boppable, why couldn’t it be 30 songs of this kind of thing? Or just like 5 songs I approve of. I might just loop this song because I know the one that’s next and I fear what will happen to my mentions if I don’t like it.

All Too Well (10 Minute Version) – I am trusting you people, the phone is going away, I am going to give this thing a chance, yeah? Okay 3,2,1…

Right I didn’t mean to start a second paragraph here, I thought it would be an anticlimactic summary, I was ready to describe it as an edging orgy. And I stand by what I said for the shorter version in that it’s all been said in the album before. But, on its own, that was beautiful. Beautiful. It was art and it was fucking beautiful. Jesus Christ. I don’t know why this was the one that got me. The narrative formula I noticed in ‘Starlight’ can breathe here and just tell a story. Can somebody send me songs like this that exist? I’ve actually put it on twice in a row, not even as a bit. I thought it would be 10 minutes of Jake-bashing, but it was more like looking at a snowglobe. A perfect bit of emotion captured. I don’t even know what I’m writing now. I need to go for a walk. 

Final Verdict – I am going to listen to at least 5 of these again, which is a good score! Genuinely! Please send me more album recommendations, this was rather fun!


Written by Dan

Editor of The Lemon Press, Hero to The Masses, Legend of The Streets