THE NEW/OLD AUTUMN HEARTBREAK ALBUM OF THE DECADE!
RED (TAYLOR’S VERSION)
12th November 2021, Red (Taylor’s Version) broke the Spotify record for the most-streamed album by a female artist (Taylor Swift Breaks Two Spotify Records in One Day With Release of ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ and the most streamed female artist in a single day. Just another typical Tuesday for Miss Swift.
Typical for her, maddening for us Swifties (Taylor Swift’s fans)! Swifties and non-swifties across the world lost their cool the minute Blondie dropped All Too Well (The 10 Minute Version), the most anticipated of all the songs on the album. Because let’s admit it, could there BE any better breakup song?! Red is the most autumn-esque album on the internet and fall started the day Miss Americana released the re-recorded version of the decade-old album.
For all the non-swifties living under a rock, Taylor is re-recording her first six studio albums as a stand against the unfair treatment and manipulation of artists by record labels, talent managers and oftentimes, by fellow artists themselves. (Taylor Swift masters controversy).
It is a little known fact- many big artists do not own the master recording of their music, as was the case with Taylor. Her masters were owned by her original record label, Big Machine. In 2019, Big Machine was acquired by Scooter Braun, a talent manager, for $300 million. He then sold the masters of Taylor’s albums to Shamrock Holdings for $300 million. Taylor Swift had terminated her contract with Big Machine in 2018 and had been trying to buy her master recordings ever since. The deals on the table, however, were unreasonable, amongst other disputes.
As a response to all this controversy, Swift is re-recording her old songs whose masters she will own. So, as a Swiftie, I urge all of you to only listen to the songs which are suffixed with Taylor’s Version in parentheses!
Swifties went wild decoding the lyrics of the old songs and the new ‘from the vault’ songs, the music videos, her talks on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers and drawing parallels between this album and other newer ones once Taylor’s version dropped.
The Taylor Swift – All Too Well: The Short Film, written and directed by Swift herself was released the following day, on 13th November. The song is rumoured to be about Swift’s relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Taylor Swift and Ex Jake Gyllenhaal’s Relationship Timeline). She cast Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink in the film based on that relationship. (Of course, she herself hasn’t confirmed this but she hasn’t denied it either)
One thing I can tell you about T-Swizzle (another affectionate nickname among the millions Swifties have bestowed upon TS): she doesn’t do ANYTHING without reason. Everything- from their outfits and the age gap between Dylan and Sadie and the car ride upstate, all of it corresponds to the events of 2010.
Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink in a still from the film: Instagram
Then Miss Swift also used a 1989 Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the music video, 1989 being not only her birth year but also the name of her 5th album. Fans have taken this as Swift hinting at the re-release of 1989 next.
The short film also has a time jump of 13 years, after which Taylor Swift plays ‘her’ and an actor called Jake Lyon (whose face is never revealed) plays ‘him’. Jake Lyon sounds very much like a pun on ‘Jake lyin’. This woman is pure genius!
Just a day or two later, Taylor Swift announced the release of another music video for I Bet You Think About Me, directed by Blake Lively, one of her closest friends in the industry. It had a tonne of easter eggs too! Some hinted at the release of 1989 next, while some at Speak Now (her third album).
Still from the, I Bet You Think About Me music video
The top tier of the cake has the numbers 13 and 26 all over it. 13 is Swift’s birth date as well as her favourite number, one she often works into her music. 26 because this is the 26th song on the album! That’s the level of intricacy with Tay! The seagulls on the bottom tier are similar to the album cover of 1989 while the red dress she wears at the end looks like the dress on the deluxe album cover of Speak Now.
Towards the end, she sings about cool indie music concerts, which she also happens to mention in her other song, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version)).
And the line
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
in the song I Bet You Think About Me is a nod to the fact that our queen is infamous for writing songs about her past relationships (I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault))
There are several more minute details in the two music videos, parallels between other albums, symbolisms in the lyrics and so much more! The list will never end.
Taylor Swift is often referred to as the entire music industry by her followers. There is not a speck of doubt that she is one of the most talented singer-songwriters to ever exist. When Red was first released in 2012, the song All Too Well wasn’t a single or didn’t have a music video and was towards the end of the album, but it still took off as the ‘it’ song on the album. This time, All Too Well had all the attention but there was another song that took off on its own- the 23rd track, Nothing New (ft. Phoebe Bridgers). That song is a masterpiece, an example of what a splendid lyricist Swift is.
Taylor created very relatable songs about being in love, about friendships and rivalries and heartbreak, and much more. For me, personally, her last two albums, Folklore and Evermore are nothing short of magic.
But apart from this, she is a master businesswoman. She times her releases, perfectly collaborates with just the right artists, uses social media deftly, and carries out strategic power-play deals with streaming platforms. She also raises her voice against injustices and supports her fellow artists.
FY B.Sc. Economics