Red (Taylor's Version) is so Much Different When You're Older

Op-ed

When Red came out on October 22, 2012, I was almost 10-years old and had never experienced heartbreak, or loss, or confusion. The world was this epitomally beautiful place of opportunity.

So, sure, I could hop around screaming "I Knew You Were Trouble." But I had no idea what half of it really meant.

That moment flashed by so quickly. I was no longer 9 years old, smiling, living a stupidly easy life.

On November 12, 2021, on the verge of turning 19, it is a whole new experience listening to Red (Taylor's Version).

I always grew up a romantic. My favorite author was Jane Austen, my favorite song "Enchanted" by Taylor Swift. I always believed in this fairytale-esque beauty, this love-letter love that existed, somewhere. But, I realized that that was naive. That fairytale love could be for a moment, but not forever and always. Sometimes there was finality; sometimes that love had to break.

This finality is no more evident than on Taylor Swift's Red.

For me, Red seemed to be the most emotionally charged album on Ms. Swift's roster. There was always this distinct heartbreak ring, one that felt so silly in my youth.

Now, you feel that sting. The feeling of someone not loving you back. The image of being left, hung up to dry, by the person you trust the most.

You also understand that there's something so miraculous about those small moments, those schoolgirl crushes. That moment where you feel like you're dancing like Starlight, that place where everything seems to fall into place, even just for a millisecond. That State of Grace when you catch somebody's eye from across the room, through all the bustle— and everything is okay.

Of course, Red has always been available on streaming platforms. I always listened to those songs. My friends and I would chant the lyrics to All Too Well on the freeway, singing our hearts out. But there's something different about the experience of sitting down and listening to an album. Working through each piece until it fits into this puzzle.

When you look at the puzzle, Taylor Swift's Red, (Taylor's Version) or not, is one of the most sonically cohesive albums she's done to date.

It's an ode to fading love.

"All Too Well" 10 Minute Version Does Not Disappoint

The most hotly sought-after secret, the 10 minute version of All Too Well, has finally been unveiled. What results is a lyrically maneuvered masterpiece, drifting in and out of bridges and tempo shifts, to describe how a once all-consuming love slowly dwindled.

The original All To Well settles in this image of recollection. The narrator looks back on something lost, looks back on these moments where it seemed like something so solid and true but it had ended. The 10 minute version leans into this idea of critique. It feels the pain of that relationship, and it feels the pain of having to let it go.

"He's gonna say it's love, you never called it what it was/ Til we were dead and gone and buried."

Taylor sang about someone missing her birthday before in Moment I Knew— this image of her waiting for somebody who never shows returns in the expanded version of All Too Well. "It's supposed to be fun turning 21," she says.

This version digs into how the age differences between her and the men she was with got to her, and it digs into the grit of her pain when she was waiting for somebody who couldn't make it for her.

“Did the twin-flame bruise paint you blue?/ Just between us, did the love affair maim you too?”

The lines finish the 10-minute saga, throwing you into this beaten-down love affair clinging to life. All Too Well in it's original released form was a gut punch for anyone who'd lost a love they thought was forever. All Too Well (10 Minute Version)(Taylor's Version) is a sucker punch to any listener ever.

Why Red (Taylor's Version) Was Such a Big Deal

The stunning 10-minute ballad was the climax of a re-recorded, two-times-as-long, Red album; complete with, as promised, ten new unreleased singles "From the Vault." Red (Taylor's Version) marks the second re-recording of one of Taylor's albums, giving her license over the new, rerecorded albums. This puts all of the creative material back under her jurisdiction.

Fearless (Taylor's Version) was released on April 9.

It also gives people the opportunity to listen to music that didn't necessarily make it onto the record the first time. Songs like "The Very First Night" and "I Bet You Think About Me" feat. Chris Stapleton are brand new, even though they were written in the same era. It gives you the opportunity to listen to more of the songs you love alongside each of the albums they were missing from originally.

It's a throwback too. "Message in a Bottle" is very 2012.

There's also something about hearing these songs with a new, more mature Swift. Listening to "Sad Beautiful Tragic" by the same voice that sings "Champagne Problems" or "Cornelia Street" makes it feel more raw. It also makes songs like "Begin Again" feel more poignant. Here's a 30-something Swift whispering back to a 22-year-old, whispering to me now at 19, that things do begin again sometimes.

There's the magic of a re-recording. Swift matured with me. The way she sang, felt the music, was different than the first time.

The way I felt the music was different too.

Riya Jayanthi
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Riya Jayanthi is a freshman in college from Atlanta, GA who loves acai bowls, the saints, and a good guitar riff.