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“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is the mature reiteration of all the heartbreak we grew up living through, both in real life and vicariously, through the experiences of Ms. Swift. She used her lyrical storytelling powers, along with her older and wiser vocals, to take us all through falling in love with someone who tears you apart in the end. 

Swift released her second re-recorded album on Nov. 12, the first being “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” earlier this year. Like many fans, I stayed up until 2 a.m. listening to “Red (Taylor’s Version).” The 30-track album popped off on the charts, breaking records on Spotify the first day of its release. Along with the songs from the original album, there are nine songs deemed “From The Vault” that didn’t make it on the album when it first released in 2012.

Leading the U.S. Spotify Top 50 is “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).” If not for a sound person who recorded the original and raw version, we wouldn’t have had the ten minute version, or maybe any version at all. The beauty of all Swift songs, and especially this one, is that you can take a line of lyrics and analyze it in so many different ways. “And you were tossing me the car keys, f*** the patriarchy / Key chain on the ground, we were always skipping town,” could mean that the key chain actually said “f*** the patriarchy,” or it could mean that the person throwing her the keys was a performative activist who “cared” about women, except through the rest of the song you see that person was the opposite. 

Hearing the full version of this song added a lot of perspective to the story that was told in the first “All Too Well,” taking listeners on the full journey of this relationship Swift wrote about. From the opening line, you can hear how much more grown-up Swift is. Every time you think the song can’t get more intense, it does, with the instruments slowly swelling and becoming stronger. Then, when the tension finally breaks and the song slows down, it’s a release into such raw heartache. “Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it,” hurts even more than when the song was released in 2012. While the ten minute version may seem excessive to some, it is truly a gift for the heartbroken.

If you are one of Swift’s original country fans, “I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” brings out that familiar twang. Since this song has more of a country feel to it with the harmonica, I could see why it wasn’t included on the album when it first released nine years ago. Swift paints this picture of her reminiscing on a love that chose to leave her while she recognizes her self-worth. The majority of this song is at a medium to faster tempo that supports Swift telling this past love what he is missing out on, but when it slows and the instruments quiet down at the bridge, you can feel the seriousness behind and you can feel the self-love Swift has in the vocals and lyrics. However, it makes for a fun song to spin to and pull out your country shoes. Plus, you can tell it’s another heartbreak song about a certain someone that “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” is about.

“Message In A Bottle (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” is a song you immediately get up and dance to, but I wish Swift had gone more into the message in a bottle story in her lyrics. The first time I heard it, I felt like “A message in a bottle is all I can do / Standin’ here, hopin’ it gets to you,” didn’t flow with the previous lyrics. Regardless, this song is the perfect song to jump around in your room and use your hairbrush as a microphone. The presence of the bass keeps the song upbeat, and when it leaves, you can sense the beat drop coming that gets you moving. In the second verse, more beats come in to bring the tempo up and keep your feet moving as you run across your room and jump on your bed. The song continues to build throughout, keeping listeners entranced in Swift’s words.

Personally, “Stay Stay Stay (Taylor’s Version)” was the most relatable song for me. I almost went through a breakup the night after the album was released, but instead we talked it out, and you can bet we played this song right after. Other non-breakup and heart-murdering songs include “Starlight (Taylor’s Version),” “Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)” and “22 (Taylor’s Version).”

You could also argue “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is a song more focused on falling in love, but with lyrics like “Losing him was blue like I’d never known,” I’d say it depends on the person. For me, it falls in a nostalgic category because of the buoyant instrumentals and how I consistently sway to it with a smile on my face. Another nostalgic song is “Holy Ground (Taylor’s Version)” because I can’t help but dance “Like you were in this room.”

Thanks to this album, I will be wasting my gas, driving around purely to scream, sing and cry to all the heart wrenching songs, with a few happy interludes for breathing breaks. My heart goes out to all the couples in healthy relationships confused about why their partner is crying to this album; get your partner a glass of wine, set them up in the bathroom and just let them cry. Trust me, they will love you more for it after they relive the heartbreak Swift delivers in “Red (Taylor’s Version).” 

culture@dailynebraskan.com