At last, the rerelease of Taylor Swift’s album Red, a.k.a. Red (Taylor’s Version), is here, just in time for Sad Girl Autumn.
The album is brilliant, unsurprisingly; Swift’s voice sounds both familiar and beautifully evolved, and because of that, these lyrics have even more resonance. It feels like I’m hearing “State of Grace” for the first time, yet it’s been my friend for years. That’s the power of Taylor Swift.
Of course, most fans are are buzzing about the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” but there’s much to dive into on Red (Taylor’s Version)—including eight new songs, if you count her versions of “Babe” and “Better Man.” We have seven new country tracks and one new pop one, “Message in a Bottle” (my personal favorite). In true Swiftie fashion, the theories about who these songs are about are flooding social media. TL;DR: The names of all Swift’s early 2010s exes, John Mayer, Harry Styles, and Jake Gyllenhaal, are getting thrown around. Regardless, these are some of Swift’s most stunning lyrics ever, and they deserve to be blasted at maximum volume. Below, some of our favorite lines:
“Message in a Bottle”
Standout line: “And I became hypnotized / By freckles and bright eyes /Tongue-tied.”
Standout lyric: “They tell you while you’re young, /‘Girls, go out and have your fun.’ / Then they hunt and slay the ones who actually do it, / Criticize the way you fly / When you’re soarin’ through the sky, / Shoots you down, and then they sigh and say, / ‘She looks like she’s been through it.’”
“The Very First Night”
Standout lyric: “My friends all say they know / Everything I’m going through. / I drive down different roads, / But they all lead back to you.”
“I Bet You Think About Me”
Standout lyric: “But now that we’re done and it’s over, / I bet you couldn’t believe / When you realize I’m harder to forget / Than I was to leave.”
Standout lyric: “He seems fine most of the time, / Forcing smiles and neverminds. / His laugh is a symphony. / When the lights go out, it’s hard to breathe.”
Standout lyric: “There’s a chain ’round your throat, piece of paper where I wrote, / ‘I’ll wait for you.’ / There’s a key on the chain, there’s a picture in a frame. / Take it with you.”
“Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person,” Swift wrote on Instagram about Red. “It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past. Like trying on pieces of a new life, I went into the studio and experimented with different sounds and collaborators. And I’m not sure if it was pouring my thoughts into this album, hearing thousands of your voices sing the lyrics back to me in passionate solidarity, or if it was simply time, but something was healed along the way.”