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Red (Aerin’s Version) | Aerin Flaharty

As we all know (and if you don’t come out from the rock you’re living under), Taylor Swift released her re-recorded and now fully owned “Red” album, rebirthed from 2012. Back in 2019, Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta stole Taylor’s rights to own her music, leaving her behind with a lifetime's worth of work, but the inability to perform and do anything with what she already had. The solution: re-recording all of her previous songs. On November 12, 2021, “Red,” the 31 track album, was released to the world and it certainly took it by storm. Two songs Swift had previously written and given to Sugarland and Little Big Town are now included on this album with an additional six songs she had written (but never included on Red) during her original Red-era back in the early 2010’s. Her fanbase was ecstatic to hear the news of the drop of this album back in June of 2021, just a few short months after the reveal of “(Fearless: Taylor’s Version).” I know I’m not the only one who cried after hearing there would be a ten minute version of “All Too Well.” Without further ado, here is a list of my five favorite songs from this new album.


1. All Too Well (10 Minute Version):


“All Too Well” has always been my favorite track from “Red,” with its endless obstacles of love, mystery, pain, and beauty. Originally, the song lasts five and a half minutes in the original album, but when you get the opportunity to hear Swift turn an epic heartbreak into an even longer “bash Jake Gyllenhaal party while sobbing in my car,” you realize it’s kind of an opportunity you can't miss out on. The music part of this song sounds different than the original, giving a soft techno beat that flows nicely with the maturation of Taylor’s older voice. My personal favorite lyric, “f*** the patriarchy,” is my favorite for obvious reasons. If I were to tell you I haven't screamed this in my car with my windows down at night, I’d be lying. And I’d also be lying if I told you I wasn’t having the time of my life.


2. Message in a Bottle:


Track 25 from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is “Message in a Bottle.” This song is a super pop upbeat anthem about a theoretical love affair. Swift describes herself falling for a “bright-eyed freckled boy” in which she wants to spark a connection, but falls short of confidence and communication skills and discovers the need to send a “message in a bottle” in order to be able to express her feelings. This love affair is a confusing maze for Swift where her conflicts reside in her lack of communication and the fact that this boy has a lot of other suitors, but make it an uplifting pop song. On the other side of this story is a hopeful state of mind where Taylor wants to express her feelings and believes that if she does, they will have a happily ever after. But the unfortunate moral of the story is “a message in a bottle is all she can do, standing here hoping it gets to you.”


3. Girl at Home:


When I first heard the new version of “Girl at Home,” I was in complete shock. The entire song sounds completely different from the 2012 version, yet left me with more of an urge to spin around in my room and blast this song. The instrumental layers leave your ears blessed with a techno robotic-like sound. The story surrounding this song has to do with a certain boy using Taylor to cheat on his girlfriend at home. She knows his motives and urges him to not even try anything because out of respect for herself and the girl at home, as she would not want to be initiated into anything that could get people hurt. She looks out for the girlfriend of the guy who thinks this cheating is ok and emphasizes how she is so certain of her decision because she had once been the “girl at home.”


4. Ronan:


“Ronan” is a song about a three-year-old boy from Arizona who tragically died of neuroblastoma at a young age. Back in 2011, Swift had written this song after growing fond of Maya and Ronan Thompson. When he passed, Swift took up writing a song to commemorate his legacy and family. She says in the song, “come on baby with me we’re going to fly away from here, you were my best four years” with the thoughts and intentions of honoring Ronan and Maya. Although this song was not included at all in the original Red album, it was in Swift’s best interest to include it as a large part of her fanbase advocates for the release of this song. Ronan is a gut-wrenching sob story, but it is also a beautiful song to show how precious life is and how we should always cherish it.


5. Holy Ground:


Track 11 is called “Holy Ground” and in my opinion is arguably one of the most catchy Taylor Swift songs and deserves more attention than it has. The beginning of the song introduces you to a fast, jumpy beat that will eventually flow into the perfect lyrics that consist of “Holy Ground.” “Holy Ground” is the one song that I wouldn’t mind listening to in the morning as my alarm. The urge to rip every single hair follicle off of my head would not even be a question, as long as it was this song as my alarm. In retrospect, “Holy Ground” is not as mainstream as a handful of other songs Swift has released. But if you get the chance to give it a listen, I recommend taking it all in, but only as long as you’re listening to “Taylor’s Version.”


“Red (Taylor’s Version)” was beyond an emotional rollercoaster as her listeners had to unpack almost 10 years of feelings and history. I can gladly tell you however the wait was 100% worth it because even though I hate Jake Gyllenhaal a million times more, at least I can scream about it at the top of my lungs while cranking the volume to “Red (Taylor’s Version).”

Red (Aerin’s Version)

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