Taylor Swift has released her latest rerecorded album Red (Taylor’s Version) after almost 22 weeks of anticipation. The wait was 113% worth it though, and now autumn can officially begin despite it already being the middle of November.
Originally scheduled for November 19th, the release date was brought forward a week to avoid clashing with Adele’s new album. It was good news for Swifties as it just meant we got to hear the masterpiece that deserved a Grammy even earlier than expected!
Taylor’s had a busy release weekend so far and isn’t set to slow down any time soon. On Thursday night she appeared back-to-back on both The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers; tomorrow she’ll be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Not only that, she’s also releasing her first ever short film based on the 10 minute version of All Too Well.
Like her first rerecorded release Fearless (Taylor’s Version) back in April, the record also includes unreleased songs written during the original era that almost made it on to the album. Red TV has 9 of these ‘from the vault’ tracks, reimagined with new mastering, bringing the mega-sized tracklist up to 30 songs.
The Red (Taylor’s Version) vault songs are just as beautiful (and heartbreaking) as we expected. They add more depth to the story, are layered with emotion that’s so palpable you’d be forgiven for mistaking as current, and add to the intricately eclectic tapestry of Red.
Here’s my official Red (Taylor’s Version) vault songs ranking:
1. All Too Well (10 minute version)
The day we’ve all been waiting for is here! Swifties have spent the best part of the last 10 years lovingly harassing Taylor to release the infamous 10 minute version of All Too Well and our hard work has finally paid off. It’s even better than I imagined and honestly I’m still recovering. I screamed when I heard “fuck the patriarchy”. “You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath” killed me. 10/10.
2. The Very First Night
I’m in awe at how Taylor so effortlessly manages to capture the magic of young love in just three minutes. Sonically, this track reminds me of ‘Holy Ground’ which is probably why I love it so much. Just listening to it makes me feel like a teenager in love for the first time – perhaps intentionally, as Taylor sings “I wish I could fly / I’d pick you up and we’d go back in time.” You can hear her smiling throughout the song and I love that for her.
3. Better Man
In 2016, Little Big Town released ‘Better Man’ as the lead single from their album – a country song which Taylor is the sole writer of. The song received a Grammy nomination and won Song of the Year at the 2017 CMAs. Now we finally have a solo studio version and it’s just as beautiful as we expected.
Written with Train’s Pat Monahan, ‘Babe’ was given to country music duo Sugarland who released it as a single in 2018. Taylor sang the backing vocals, starred in the music video and performed it twice on her reputation tour. Fans have been begging for a solo version ever since and now our ears have been blessed with it. It sounds softer and dreamier than the original, with the catchy addition of “what about your promisespromises” making it more pop.
5. Forever Winter
Taylor wrote ‘Forever Winter’ with Mark Foster back in 2012 and it’s just as bleak as the title sounds. We hear her sing to a close friend who appears to be struggling with their mental health and possibly an addiction. The track almost builds to a crescendo, getting better and better as you listen along. She talks about being “scared to death” that she’ll lose him and promises to love him even at his darkest, just “please don’t go.” It’s a gut-wrenching listen and I’m honestly impressed that Taylor was able to recreate that emotion in her voice nine years later.
6. Nothing New ft. Phoebe Bridgers
Inspired by Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’, Nothing New is The Lucky One’s more mature older sister. Taylor sings about her fear of growing older and how the music industry views women with a level of self-awareness that proves she was wise beyond her years. Phoebe Bridgers’ voice is a perfect fit for the hauntingly melancholic track. Believe it or not, this is the first time a female collaborator has had a whole verse on a Taylor song and I’m so here for it.
7. I Bet You Think About Me ft. Chris Stapleton
Yeehaw Taylor is back in full force on this track! It’s the most country of all the vault songs, and she sings with a noticeable southern twang that’s reminiscent of her early days. At the beginning of the song I was unsure whether it was intended to be a caricature, but I was pretty confident of it by the end. Taylor sings to her ‘silver-spoon’ ex with an exaggerated accent to highlight the difference between their socioeconomic backgrounds as she mocks him. It’s sassy, sardonic and deliberately smug – you can literally hear the glee in her voice as she sings “I bet you think about me.”
8. Run ft. Ed Sheeran
‘Run’ is actually the first song that Taylor and Ed wrote together, around the same time that they came up with ‘Everything Has Changed’. It’s a heartfelt love song that sounds understated, but actually contains some pretty clever lyrics. It feels very pure and innocent – a peaceful listen.
9. Message in a Bottle
Taylor revealed that this was the first song she wrote with Max Martin and Shellback (who she also worked with on IKYWT, 22 and WANEGBT). It’s a fun pop banger about missing someone far away and wondering if they could be the one. It mentions them being in London, which connects to the lyrics of ‘Come Back… Be Here’. Overall, it’s a lighthearted bop which feels like it’s more suited to a romcom soundtrack.
Which of the Red (Taylor’s Version) vault songs is your favourite?
Buy/stream the album here.