Happy, Free, Confused, and Listening to “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Krystal Orehek, Editor

In 2014 Taylor Swift released her fourth studio album, “Red”, featuring the famous tracks “I Knew You Were Trouble”, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, “22”, and, of course, “Red.” While she found plenty of success with the album, anyone who knows anything about pop culture knows about the Scooter Braun situation.

Red (Taylor’s version) new album cover. (Beth Garrabrant)

In 2018 Taylor Swift left the recording label Big Machine Records; however, the rights to her entire musical catalog were left behind in the hands of the label’s new owner, Scooter Braun. Swift expressed abhorrence for her inability to own her music, claiming she was never given the chance to purchase it back. “For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead, I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in.” In response, the former owner Scott Borchetta wrote: “Taylor had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career. She chose to leave.”

After the brawl, Taylor announced on Good Morning America she would be re-recording and re-releasing all of her albums that are still owned by Big Machine. “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” was released on April 9th, 2021, and features all the re-recorded tracks as well as 7 unreleased tracks “from the vault.” After seeing her A-list pop hit “Wildest Dreams” going viral on TikTok the star released Taylor’s version of the song, perhaps foreshadowing a re-release of the album “1989” in the future. But, before getting ahead of ourselves, Taylor released “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on November 12th along with a short film and music video.

Rina Yang

The nearly 15-minute long short film was based on Swifties’ most beloved song from the album- “All Too Well.” The famous Dylan O’Brian and Sadie Sink were leading in the film based around a love that’s spark has faded out, directed by Taylor herself. Swift also released a music video for the vault track “I Bet You Think of Me” ft. Chris Stapleton. Miles Teller starred in the video alongside Taylor while they pretended to be a pair of exes, with Miles wishing he never left his fictional relationship with Taylor. Another famous name, Blake Lively, appeared in the end credits of the video as a director and writer, not to much surprise as she is part of Taylor’s celebrity posse.

The album itself is mostly comprised of the same tracks seen on the original version of “Red”, but some come with new sounds and a modern twist such as “Girl At Home.” She also released 10 songs from the vault, with new features from Phoebe Bridgers, Ed Sheeren, and Chris Stapleton. The song most loved by fans has been “All Too Well (10-minute version)”, surpassing 37 million streams since release. You can compare this to the second most-streamed song on the album “Red”, which has 19 million fewer streams, at 18 million. On release day Taylor wrote a meaningful Instagram post saying, “Just a friendly reminder that I would never have thought it was possible to go back and remake my previous work, uncovering lost art and forgotten gems along the way, if you hadn’t emboldened me. Red is about to be mine again, but it has always been ours. Tonight we begin again.”

Wrapping up her second re-recorded release, Taylor still has 4 full-length studio albums to anticipate in the future. And it’s safe to say, Swifties will be waiting.