RED (Taylor’s Version) or RED 2.0 or I have been calling it, came out today. I thought I would write my first impressions review as there is no way for me to have a full opinion of the album as a whole until I have listened to it a bazillion times for like a week straight.
Before we get into it, the background context on my relationship to RED 1.0.
It is my favorite Taylor Swift album. For sure the one I have listened to the most. The one with my favorite Taylor Swift song. It was also the album of which I went to my very first concert right at the start of my freshman year of high school. I have distinct moments attached to songs from when it came out my 8th-grade year. Thus, I am sure I will have a lot to say as the album is very near and dear to my heart. So here we go, a non-comprehensive first impressions reaction review, as I listen to the rerecorded songs for the first time.
Songs I Listened to First:
Here are the first 5 songs I listened to in the order I listened to them. In between each one I then listened to the original version for comparison.
All Too Well 10 min version
“It’s supposed to be fun turning 21” may be my fav new lyrics in the 10 min version. It made me actually pause the song to process those first 5 minutes.
This will probably be an unpopular opinion- remember all my opinions are subject to change with continued listening- I was… underwhelmed? I don’t know I didn’t love it like I thought I would love a 10 minute of this, one of my all time favorite TS songs, but I didn’t.
My favorite parts of the song were all the ones from the original version. Is this because I don’t like change or because I don’t think all the extra lyrics bring anything that makes the song stupendouesly better than the original condensed version. We will find out after I listen some more.
The Last Time feat Gary Lightbody
This is my favorite song. It started and my breathe caught in my throat. I just sat with my eyes closed and listened to it to soak it all in. Is it… more beautiful than before somehow. The opening chords feel echoey and I love it. I think the strings underscoring the song are amped up to extra stunning. Whatever the new drum sound thing going on at the beginning I could do without but yes to the extra strings.
Is Taylor’s part slightly different?? Sounds great though.
The harmonies are on point. I have nothing further to say for this song at this time.
“You break my heart in the blink of an eye” Yes yes you do song.
1 minute in, is the very subtle harmony voice new? Upon review, it is just more noticeable now.
The maturity of her voice now really changes the tonal quality of this song. The softness of the original isn’t there but there is a different depth to it. “This slope is treacherous and I, I, I like it”
Although I really miss the more airy quality of the original bridge, it sounds more full in this version which isn’t bad at all just different.
All Too Well
This is the 5 and a half minute version.
The way she sang the end of the first verse hooked me, too good.
Ooh… the subtle echo part before the first chorus… I don’t think I like it.
“Maybe I asked for too much” The emotion. Strong. Great. Love it.
Short and sweet review. I still love this song.
State of Grace (acoustic version)
Again the drums. Scale it back, this is too harsh for this song.
This song had a lot more of the airy softness that is in the original album. Which when listening you can tell the main difference is just how much her voice has strengthened but hearing her purposely add it into this song was lovely.
This song so far has given me the most OG RED vibes. I really enjoyed it. “And I’ll never be the same”
Then after this, I went back to the beginning of the album and listened to them in order. With the new from the Vault songs, the album is now 30 songs long totaling 2 hours and 10 minutes. The album came out for me at 9 pm PST meaning, I did the first five-songs listen and then went to sleep to prepare myself for a 2-hour intense listening session in the morning.
Quick Notable Thoughts:
Red, the song, sounds the same, so does I Knew You Were Trouble.
The opening of 22 sounds more pulled back, in the original her voice and the drums are on an even plane but now drums are in the background for that part.
I may like We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together better now, while Stay Stay Stay is not as good on this version. I also don’t think I like Holy Ground 2.0 as much either… I can’t tell why yet.
Everything Has Changed Feat: Ed Sheeran 2.0 is slightly slower than the original and Ed’s vocal lines are also a bit different on his verse and some of his harmonies. I’ve seen them sing this song live and I think the new version has more of that “live” quality versus the original recording.
Begin Again still perfection. The harmonies sound like they may be crisper too. It’s gorgeous.
Girl at Home is a completely different song. Now it sounds like it could have been in 1989 instead of RED. I like it. I love the original but this is fun.
Songs ‘From the Vault’ Surprises:
I really liked Nothing New feat: Pheobe Bridgers. Need to listen more before I can compile a real review.
Message in a Bottle felt like something I could see in a movie soundtrack.
Forever Winter and Run Feat: Ed Sheeran are both beautiful. Will be playing on repeat for a while.
The Very First Night is a great song to have as the last one before All Too Well 10 min. It is incredibly catchy and is like a mix between Lucky One and Starlight. A song you can dance to while doing your makeup.
The original RED to me seems like a more raw scaled-back version compared to Taylor’s Version which has a more produced feel. There are a lot more added tonal qualities in the accompaniments coupled with a juiced-up drum section that I am not sure I like better than how it sounded before.
Overall First Impressions After Listening to the Full Album:
All of the songs have a fuller sound than before, much to do with her voice and how she sings the lines. There are fewer lines she throws away when she sings- a good adjustment, it helps with understanding the lines.
This album is still so so good. Dancing around my room, belting the lyrics alone in the car, adding songs to your party with your friends playlist good.
Alright, that is all I have for you from my first impressions. This was a tad bit longer than a quick first glance post that I expected it to be… Hope you enjoyed it. Do you have a favorite song from RED?
Let me know if you would like me to do more music reviews.