It’s official. Taylor Swift has unlocked the vault.
It’s the second album to be re-released, following Fearless (Taylor’s Version) in April.
If you’re unaware,Swift has committed to rerecording all of her albums prior to 2019’s “Lover” so that she can own the masters to her music — by doing this, she can regain authority over her entire discography.
While the original album was 16 tracks, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is an epic 30 tracks, featuring musical collaborations with Phoebe Bridgers, Gary Lightbody, Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton. It also includes nine previously unreleased songs that didn’t make the final product in 2012.
Here’s our preliminary ranking of those newly revived songs, from Taylor Swift’s second re-recorded album, Red (Taylor’s Version):
It’s like “Better Man’s” slightly less good-looking cousin. There was something tangy about the sound of Jennifer Nettles’ voice on the Sugarland version that made the repetition of the title word a little more palatable than it is here. But then there are the trumpets, saxes and flutes that enter in late into Swift’s version and elevate the track into something that swings a lot more than the hit country cover did… so, point, Swift.
8. Holy Ground
Fast-paced and hypey, ‘Holy Ground’ always hits unexpectedly on Red as it strays so close to the glorious pop of 1989 or Lover. As a huge sigh of relief, ‘Holy Ground’ feels like a totally independent love song in a way: not bogged down my any heavy feelings as it dances through all the best parts of early infatuation. The relentless guitar rhythm and chanting chorus never lets the tempo drop, building the song up and up until the neat 3 minute 22 second track overflows with pure serotonin. Nothing but good fun, listen to it daily.
7. “Stay Stay Stay”
Listening to ‘Stay Stay Stay’ in 2021 is to be completely punched back in time — Swift sounds so incredibly young here, her thin and twee vocals bouncing along the arrangement. ‘Stay Stay Stay’ has gotten a bad rap over the years, and it’s definitely way too sugary and saccharine and sounds like it will wind up on the school choir rotation — but it’s also just a bit of silly fun, and sometimes that’s all you need.
6. Run feat. Ed Sheeran
We love a song about new beginnings and that gut feeling you get when someone will be in your life for a while. I have to give it to Taylor and Ed on this one: their voices blend beautifully together.
5. Better Man
The song that Swift sent to Little Big Town — and ultimately became a Hot Country Songs chart-topper for the quartet upon its 2016 release, finally receives a tender rendition from its songwriter, as Swift refracts the tale of post-breakup pain back through her own lens. The harmonies that made “Better Man” a Little Big Town standout are honored here, as Caitlin Evanson and Liz Huett provide backing vocals to Swift’s dashed dreams.
3. I knew you were Trouble
Not even Taylor Swift was immune to the world’s brief and explosive obsession with dubstep. It was the song that spawned a million goat “remixes” — perhaps the most 2012 moment that has ever existed.
We love love how Taylor makes the instrumental so simple, but it feels somehow exactly like the beginning of a relationship. Softly, she talks about how the instability and recklessness that comes with something new and getting to know another person is half the fun. The song builds perfectly to a passionate, electric bridge.
1. All Too Well (10 Minute Version)
The original “All Too Well” clocked in at 5 minutes and 28 seconds, and with the additional five minutes, the extended version becomes almost like an epic poem, The Odyssey to Swift’s Homer — if The Odyssey were about a heartwrenching breakup, that is. It’s different, and angrier, than its more melancholy predecessor, and drags the song’s antagonist (widely speculated to be Swift’s ex, Jake Gyllenhaal) a bit more.