A lot going on at the moment: Taylor Swift re-enters Red era


Amber Roldan

After five long months of teasing fans with strategic easter eggs, Taylor Swift dropped her highly-anticipated re-recorded album: “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on Friday, November 12. The 30 track album exemplified Swift’s talent and exhibited her matured voice as she sang songs originally released in 2012. Alongside of the album itself, Swift released a short film in addition to a music video.

Amber Roldan, Editor in Chief

November 12 marked a historical day for Taylor Swift fans around the world. The 31-year-old, 11 time Grammy winner re-released her timeless heartbreak album, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on Friday. 

The music industry can quickly become a dangerous place for young artists. Within the realm of the music industry, it remains rare for musicians to own the rights to their own music. Despite pouring over a decade of hard work and determination into her craft, Swift did not own the rights to any of her music released before 2019. This infuriated the talented feminist and she decided to re-record her first five albums to regain ownership of her beloved discography. Swift embarked on this journey with the re-release of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” in April.

On June 18, Swift announced that “Red (Taylor’s Version)” would become her second re-released album. This presented fans with a highly anticipated five-month wait to prepare for the complexities encompassed in Swift’s fourth studio album. 

Originally released on October 22, 2012, “Red” boasted 20 songs and featured artists Ed Shearon and Gary Lightbody. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” surpassed the original’s length, debuting with 30 tracks. Swift included nine songs “from the vault” that she intended to include on the original album but after further consideration did not include. Swift wrote all nine vault tracks in her early 20s and released the nine never heard before songs nearly a decade later in her early 30s. Swift collaborated with musicians Chris Stapelton, Phoebe Bridgers and Ed Sheeran to bring her vault songs to the public eye after nine long years.

Throughout the album, Swift dwells on the heart-wrenching realities that follow a breakup and numerous songs reveal painful details about Swift’s 2011 breakup with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Most notably, the song “All Too Well” encapsulates the weight of the tangible and intangible memories left behind following the breakup. Despite the tragic undertone of the ballad, the 2012 song became a fan favorite and one of Swift’s most iconic songs. 

Much to the delight of fans and the horror of Gyllenhaal, Swift released a 10-minute explicit version of the beloved ballad on “Red (Taylor’s Version)”. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon Thursday night, Swift revealed that “All Too Well” originally lasted 10 minutes. However, the artist cut down the song to what she deemed an appropriate length for her 4th studio album. Re-releasing “Red” allowed Swift to include both versions of it. 

“I woke up ridiculously early Friday morning and went out to my car so I wouldn’t wake up my children and I blasted as much of the album as possibly I could before I had to get ready. I started with the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” and it was like a religious experience,” magnet AP Lang teacher Lindsey Theaker said.

Via social media on November 5, Swift announced that she wrote and directed a short film to complement the release of All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version). This announcement thrilled Swifties as they began to dissect the trailer for easter eggs and speculate what the short film would portray. Starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, the short film dropped at 7 pm on Friday, November 12. The 14-minute and 56-second long video shows the evolving romance and quick downfall of love between the characters played by Sink and O’Brien. 

Embracing the somewhat traditional release of her latest album after putting out three albums amid a pandemic, Swift treasured the opportunity to interact with fans as she appeared on The Jimmy Fallon Show, The Late Night Show With Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live. In addition to her three late-night show appearances, Swift hosted an exclusive premiere for her All Too Well short film on Friday at the AMC Lincoln Square 13 theater in New York.

“Watching the ten-minute version of ‘All Too Well’ being performed by Taylor live was such an ethereal experience. I was lucky enough to be the twelfth in the standby line, so I was able to justify sleeping in front of Rockefeller knowing I’d definitely get to watch the show. The various standby protocols took about 18 hours combined, but it was all made worth it when I got to be less than 30 feet away from Taylor Swift and experience her new release live,” NC alum and NYU freshman Abbey Corley said.

When releasing a new album most artists simply focus on dropping the album itself. Swift strays from the status quo and exceeds expectations. To fully allow her fans to relish in the era and aesthetic created in “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, Swift partnered with Starbucks. The beloved coffee chain decided to offer Swift’s go-to drink to foster enthusiasm surrounding the loyal customer’s newest album. Participating locations allow swifties to celebrate “Red (Taylor’s Version)” by ordering a Grande Caramel Nonfat Latte (Taylor’s Version). 

“Taylor Swift, as we know, is a genius. Partnering with Starbucks gave fans a sort of inclusive experience while concerts and traditional experiences aren’t available. While artists have partnered with fast-food restaurants before, Starbucks’ signature red holiday cups made the company the perfect compliment to the re-released red album,” NC alum Lainey Devlin said.

On Sunday morning just when fans thought they had a second to catch their breath, Swift announced that her “I Bet You Think About Me” music video directed by Blake Lively would drop at 10 am Monday morning. The “from the vault” song featured a duet with Chris Stapelton and the video portrayed the song’s ongoing theme as Swift wreaked havoc as a waitress at one of her exes’ weddings.

 Raking in 90.8 million streams on Spotify the day of its release, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” broke the record for the most-streamed female album in one day. Swift broke the record previously set by her eighth studio album, “Folklore”. Swift’s high number of streams allowed her to simultaneously break the record for the most-streamed female artist in a day on Spotify. Thanks to her record-breaking streams and with the help of mother nature, Swift truly painted the town red this weekend as colorful “autumn leaves fall like pieces into place” around NC’s campus and surrounding cities. 

“I listened to Red (Taylor’s Version) all weekend long and I am currently in the process of turning my two-year-old daughter into a Swiftie,” Theaker said.