Breaking Down Red (Taylor's Version) With Entirely Too Much Detail

HAPPY RED DAY EVERYONE! It's here. Red (Taylor's Version) with songs (From The Vault) AND All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) has finally arrived. Before I get into breaking things down, I need to give a true compliment to Our Lord And Savior Taylor Swift. She went on back to back Late Night shows (Fallon + Seth Meyers) as Red (Taylor's Version) went live for us all last night. Taking over the world. The best part? On Seth Meyers, she had this to say:

HAHAHAHAHH! SHE DOESN'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK JAKE GYLLENHAAL!!! What makes it even better is that Seth Meyers is 100% friends with Jake. Pretty sure they all run in the same crew as John Mulaney. I guarantee we won't hear SHIT from JG about the new 10 minute All Too Well, but Seth bringing up the fact "they" would "probably rather hear anything else in the world" all but confirms that Jake is at home right now with his 25 year old girlfriend, pressed as fuck. As he should be. (For those who are clueless, more about Jake/Taylor as we go along.) 

The Original Red Songs - 10/10

It's hard to wrap your head around the fact that someone on this earth exists who has the ability to re-record a 10 year old album with just as much emotion, strength and voice control as the first time. Arguably, the songs sound even better now. This makes sense of course, because Taylor is a much more seasoned singer, but something we Swifties always worry about is whether or not the songs are going to "sound the same." We have studied her work for over a decade. We mark every word, every breath she takes, every spontaneous giggle. Maybe that sounds crazy? Real ones know that's how we work. Her word is gospel, and we've been memorizing this scripture for YEARS. In listening through, I'm ready to declare Red a 10/10 experience all over again. Even "22," which was going to be my ultimate test of "Can Taylor Make It Sound The Same," somehow sounds...EVEN BETTER? I'm feeling 22 as FUCK today. It might even have a little extra kickass to it? Red, State of Grace (and State of Grace acoustic) are my favorites probably, with OG All Too Well sounding just as perfect as it did the first time we heard it. Even the speaking intro of "We Are Never Getting Back Together" is on point. Bravo, Queen, you have passed our tests with flying colors. Red is an album that EVERYONE loves, most people marking it as their #1 by miles. Truthfully, Red was not my favorite when it came out (1989 is more my vibe) but in later years, I've grown to love it so much more. I think I needed a little more life experience, to go through a few more breakups and really get my shit rocked to appreciate how great it really is. I'll be wearing red lipstick tonight as a sign of respect. 

New Songs - Ranked 

8. Run (ft Ed Sheeran)

We love a collab with Ed. This song is good! It's catchy and cute! That's really all I have to say about it. I'm happy we have it, it's not changing my life. A few lyrics:

And my so-called friends, they don't know
I'd drive away before I let you go
So give me a reason and don't say no, no
There's a chain 'round your throat, piece of paper where I wrote
"I'll wait for you"
There's a key on the chain, there's a picture in a frame
Take it with you

I know that Taylor and Ed have always been besties and are in serious relationships with other people, but I feel like they've at least made out at some point, right? They sing the most romantic stuff together sometimes. And it's always about like, "forbidden love" or "lets get the hell out of here together" vibes. Makes you think!

7. The Very First Night

Love it. This one sounds very "Red" to me -a lot of ~*~*young wild and free*~*~ vibes. A great bop for the car. Taylor is so good at writing songs that on the surface sound upbeat, but when you take a deep dive, you find the sadness:

'Cause they don't know about the night in the hotel
They weren't riding in the car when we both fell
Didn't read the note on the Polaroid picture
They don't know how much I miss you


Back then we didn't know
We were built to fall apart
We broke the status quo
Then we broke each other's hearts

More sobs. I would like a sad, stripped down acoustic version of this song to cry my eyes out properly, Taylor, can you work on that?

6. Forever Winter

I have a feeling I'm going to end up really loving this one. Another "Red" sounding song, upbeat music with sad as fuck lyrics:

I pull at every thread trying to solve the puzzles in his head
Live my life scared to death he'll decide to leave instead
I call, just checking up on him
He's up, 5 AM, wasted
Long gone, not even listening
My voice comes out screaming

Taylor continues to surprise us all with how perfectly she puts into words the kind of intense emotions we are capable of feeling for other people. It's like she has been chosen as the one "human being" on this earth with the ability to speak on behalf of those who are too overwhelmed with feeling to describe what it actually is, that we feel. 

5. Message In A Bottle

More upbeat fun shit!!!! BIG TIME fall vibes with this one. It also reminds me of an Ed Sheeran song, like, if Taylor originally wrote this song for Ed I wouldn't be surprised. To top it off, the Queen of Bridges gives us another great one:

How is it in London?
Where were you while I'm wondering
If I'll ever see you again?
You could be the one that I love, mmm
And now I'm standin' here, hopin' it gets to you

4. I Bet You Think About Me (ft Chris Stapleton)

I really love this one. We get Country Twang Taylor, pretending like she's ever been white trash in her life. Dixie Chicks vibes, EXCELLENT lyrics:

Well, I tried to fit in with your upper-crust circles
Yeah, they let me sit in back when we were in love
Oh, they sit around talkin' about the meaning of life
And the book that just saved 'em that I hadn't heard of

Is it just me, or does Country Taylor feel like an entirely different person now? I love this song, but I don't think it reflects her life AT ALL really anymore. I think the only reason I like this is because it reminds us more of a spillover track from Speak Now, instead of the Pop album of Red. This style feels so far in the past that this track makes me the most nostalgic. 

I bet you think about me when you're out
At your cool indie music concerts every week
I bet you think about me in your house
With your organic shoes and your million-dollar couch
I bet you think about me when you say
"Oh my god, she's insane, she wrote a song about me"
I bet you think about me

(I swear to god I get horny when Taylor calls herself insane)

3/2. Better Man/Babe

We already know these songs, Taylor wrote them and they became Sugarland/Little Big Town hits - good songs, but these groups are extra country and knowing all this time that they could've just been Taylor songs? We've always wanted these versions. I like Babe more than Better Man, people will be mad about that, but I have a hard time separating these two from Sugarland/Little Big Town just yet. Soon I will forget all about them and Taylor is all I will know, but for now, I will respectfully put them at the top of this list and continue to condition myself to love them like the originals they are. 

1. Nothing New (ft Phoebe Bridgers)

Gasping. I'm gasping for air. Taylor is a HUGE fan of Phoebe, which means that all of the Swifties love her too. I like her a lot personally, I don't know a ton of her songs off the top of my head, but she's a GREAT #SadGirl. I just haven't been #Sad enough in a while to really appreciate her. But now? With this song? Holy shit. 

They tell you while you're young
"Girls, go out and have your fun"
Then they hunt and slay the ones who actually do it

Immediately addressing the BLARING SEXISM ISSUES in this world??? UGH

I've had too much to drink tonight
And I know it's sad but this is what I think about
And I wake up in the middle of the night
It's like I can feel time moving
How can a person know everything at eighteen
But nothing at twenty-two?
And will you still want me when I'm nothing new?

CARDIAC ARREST!!!! I NEED A DEFIBRILLATOR!!! Now, Taylor told us this song is very much about "women in the music industry" and that feeling of when you get that first pop in your career, but then all of the attention evens out again and you've become "nothing new" anymore. I think we can all relate to feeling like "nothing new" without having to be award winning artists, and especially for those of us who deathly afraid of aging (me), we're shedding a substantial amount of tears to this one.

And, finally. Not ranked, as it is in a category of its own:

All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

*lights cigarette* Yea, this one fucking hits. 

A little background for the newbs - All Too Well was originally recorded and released on Red, a 5+ minute song. We all know that it was about her whirlwind relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, who was 9/10 years older than Taylor at their time of dating (She was 20/21). Based on the lyrics, she fell for him HARD. It doesn't surprise me, he always has seemed like someone you could fall head over heels in love with. If I know my girl Taylor, I know she (and so many of us) are victims of the "Nice Fuckboy;" the man who extends himself to you emotionally in such an intense way, it really makes you feel like you're the only woman in the world that he shares his life/most intimate secrets with. He's a man who likes to play into making meaning out of small things (wearing her scarf in public, dancing in front of an open refrigerator late at night.) He's someone who integrates you into his life almost TOO quickly (Taylor was out with Maggie/Jake in like, five minutes) with his love language being an almost smothering, overwhelming kind of "love." And then, it gets turned off and you're left wondering, what the fuck just happened? Did I dream it? Did I imagine those feelings? Taylor's lines of "I remember it All Too Well" speak to me in a way that says, "I'm not crazy, this all happened, and I fucking remember it." Girls who have been in situations like this LOVE this song for being able to give them the validation they've never gotten from the Nice Fuckboys who have left them in the dust. Count me among them! 

When Taylor wrote All Too Well, she was upset, and just started writing. It ended up being a full 10 minute song. As 10 minutes is too long for a record, she cut it down to 5ish, and put the rest of it on the back burner. For years we have heard rumors about this 10 minute version, wondering if we'd ever be able to hear the lines throw on the cutting room floor. AND TODAY, WE CAN.

And you were tossing me the car keys, "fuck the patriarchy"
Key chain on the ground, we were always skipping town
And I was thinking on the drive down, any time now
He's gonna say it's love, you never called it what it was
'Til we were dead and gone and buried
Check the pulse and come back swearing it's the same
After three months in the grave
And then you wondered where it went to as I reached for you
But all I felt was shame and you held my lifeless frame

UGHHHHHHH. Driving along waiting for this man to FINALLY admit that what was happening, IS LOVE! But he never does. Because it isn't "love" to him, this is just how he operates. UGHHHHH I HATE YOU JAKE (BUT ALSO I WOULD TOTALLY BE IN LOVE WITH YOU TOO BECAUSE YOU ARE MY EXACT TYPE OF ASSHOLE) 

And there we are again when nobody had to know
You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath
Sacred prayer and we'd swear
To remember it all too well, yeah

Kept me like a secret, and I kept you like an oath. Another example of exactly how high that pedestal was for Jake.

They say all's well that ends well, but I'm in a new Hell
Every time you double-cross my mind
You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine
And that made me want to die
The idea you had of me, who was she?
A never-needy, ever-lovely jewel whose shine reflects on you
Not weeping in a party bathroom
Some actress asking me what happened, you
That's what happened, you
You who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes
Sipping coffee like you're on a late-night show
But then he watched me watch the front door all night, willing you to come
And he said, "It's supposed to be fun turning twenty-one"


And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes
I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age
From when your Brooklyn broke my skin and bones
I'm a soldier who's returning half her weight
And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue?
Just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?

'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

JUST BETWEEN US DID THE LOVE AFFAIR MAIM YOU TOOOOOOO!?!?!?!?!? Fuck. There's also a totally different style to most of these new verses, this last one is by far my favorite. Accompanied by the huge outro, clocking in the final time on this song 10 minutes and 13 seconds. Iconic. 

I love Taylor Swift so much. Just an unbelievable amount. I am thankful for her every day, and I can't wait for the rest of the re-releases to come out. Let's end as always with her best performance of all time: