Taylor Swift, RED (deluxe version)

So, is Taylor Swift still a country artist? On her new album Red (deluxe version), she eschews most sounds of country music to create an almost pure-pop album. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that...

Red (deluxe version) has Swift singing mostly about her favorite topics: love and boys. She can be quite optimistic about love, whether it's the teen fantasy night of "Starlight," the goofy romance of "Stay Stay Stay" or the hopeful new romance of "Begin Again." Conversely, Swift has plenty to say/sing about her exes, from bashing an ex in the first single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" to old loves in "All Too Well" and "Sad Beautiful Tragic." She veers off romance a few times -- the we're-young-and-partying "22" and thr fame-is-rough "The Lucky One" -- but Red (deluxe version) is all abour romance, whether it's finding it or remembering it.

While Swift sings as well as ever, the writing here suffers from repetition.  Swift has an annoying habit of either "stuttering" part of a word over and over in the chorus, or using the same word several times in a row; this happening so often in "Stay Stay Stay" doesn't help.  As for the music behind the vocals, Red (deluxe version) sounds a bit less distinct from standard top 40 pop on the faster songs.  When Swift slows down for the ballads, she can be genuinely moving.  And the deluxe version of Red, from Target (disclaimer: I work for Target -- but I play for keeps!) has demo and acoustic versions of the first three songs on the album, plus three new songs.

Red (deluxe version) isn't a bad album, but it lacks the memorable sounds and variety of Swift's last album, Speak Now.  This time around Swift feels like she's doing more crowd-pleasing music than challenging or growing.  I hope that Swift tries for more country in her next release.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch


No comments: