Taylor Swift paints the town “red”

MacKenzie McGraw and Helena Wong

Taylor Swift’s long-awaited album, “Red,” was released October 22. Dedicated fans of Swift’s have waited for this particular album release since her last album, “Speak Now.” “Red” has received phenomenal feedback worldwide from critics and fans, selling over four million tracks in one day. Swift’s masterful writing and story-telling skills is at its best in “Red.”

She starts off with “State ofGrace,” which explores the high peaks of real love, then transitions into that relationship disintegrating in the nostalgic ballad, “All Too Well.” She then shifts to a feeling of chaotic passion in “I Knew You Were Trouble,” where she reflects on the bad relationship, and gets over her broken heart in, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Finally, Swift moves the story along to the final track to restarting and opening up to new and better love in “Begin Again.”

“State of Grace”: This song is an epic opener for “Red.” We rarely use the word “epic” to describe songs, but that word truly embodies the song. Despite the debatably long forty-second intro, Swift’s belting vocals are displayed wonderfully in this pre-released single to the album. She talks about being in that perfect state of love where both people are tremendously happy and content with the relationship. She sings, “This is the golden age of something good and right and real.”

“Red”: It surprised us when Swift announced she was releasing the title track as a single, because she is known for keeping us in suspense until the release. Nevertheless, it is still one of our favorites. This tune is vibrantly painted using colors that Swift says describes her feelings in the failed relationship: blue, dark grey, and bright, burning red. In the first few seconds, “Red” could be considered country, however, Swift also incorporated auto-tune into the chorus, which is certainly new. And finally, in traditional Swift style, “Red” ends with the same lyric as it had begun.

“Treacherous”: From the title, we thought “Treacherous” would be more along the lines of Swift’s song from the previous album called “Haunted.” We couldn’t be more wrong. “Treacherous” is gentle and softly sung, yet still powerful. It has been a while since we have heard an actual, vulnerable love song from Swift, and “Treacherous” fits the bill perfectly. The lyrics are also beautifully written. “Nothing safe is worth the drive,” can easily be added to the list of Swift’s best lyrics.

“I Knew You Were Trouble”: This track is one of Swift’s riskier songs. It was the last thing on anyone’s minds that country superstar Taylor Swift would release a pop song with touches of dubstep. In the end, it was worth the risk. The song is rumored to be about ex-boyfriend John Mayer, who Swift was frequently warned about before entering the relationship.

“All Too Well”: This long ballad is the shining gem of “Red.” It beautifully illustrates her failed relationship with unimportant-turned-important details, such as a silly scarf, running red lights, twin sized beds, and dancing in the refrigerator light. Supposedly, “All Too Well” is written for actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Swift always writes messages in her lyric book, and for this track, it reads “Maple Lattes.” Swift and Gyllenhaal were photographed drinking Maple Lattes last Thanksgiving and, surprise surprise, she was wearing a scarf. This track is Swift’s only song that tells the complete journey of her relationship, from the precious moments of love to the blind-side breakup, and the bitterness that follows. This track is a majestic masterpiece. Imagine what it would sound like in concert.

“22”: The start of the song is quite deceiving starting off with its soft-strumming guitar, but two more seconds in, the mood completely changes. “22” is a country-fied version of the stereotypical pop song, scattered with Swift’s Southern “twang.” The track is about having fun with four of her best friends, Dianna Agron, Selena Gomez, Claire Winter Kislinger, and Ashley Avignone. It also contains some comedic parts; in one part of the song, Swift comments quite loudly in the background, “Who is Taylor Swift anyway? Ew.”

“I Almost Do”: This heartbreaking and slow-paced track is one of Swift’s most underrated songs on “Red.” It is about wanting to take someone back, but hesitating because of the risk of getting hurt. In an interview, Swift said, “I think writing that song was what I did instead of picking up the phone.”

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”: This catchy, pop tune was the first single off of the album. Audiences can either view it as unbearably annoying or extremely catchy. Either way, WANEGBT was an instant success. Its ridiculously long, obnoxious song title, repetition of the word “ever,” and the hilarious remarks throughout the song made it even more likable.

“Stay Stay Stay”: With a song like “Stay Stay Stay,” it is easy to forget Taylor Swift is actually 22. The happy, simple tune almost sounds like a mixture of a cheesy commercial and a theme song to a children’s television show. According Swift’s lyric book, this adorable track is her daydream about real love. So if you have ever wondered what Taylor Swift’s dreams sound like, this is it.

“The Last Time” (featuring Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol): Duets with Taylor Swift are rare, but she has openly admitted that Snow Patrol was her favorite band, so naturally, this makes sense. “The Last Time” is wispy and climatic. Swift explained, “I imagine a door. You’ve got on the outside of the door… this guy whose left his girlfriend over and over again…and asked for a second chance. On the other side of the door, you’ve got this girl… wondering how she could possibly turn him away…but she can’t get hurt again. It’s both of these people swearing that this will be the last time. She’s swearing it’s the last time she’s going to take him back. He’s swears it’s the last time he’s ever gonna leave her.”

“Holy Ground”: Before the track list released, Swift admitted this was a track she was excited about releasing. We understand why. Swift said this up-tempo song is about her reflection on a good relationship, even if it didn’t end well. The opening lyric goes, “I was reminiscing just the other day / while having coffee all alone, and Lord it took me away.” It’s quickly likeable and easy to dance to. Junior Sammi Moore said, “This is one of those songs I’ll definitely jam to in my car with the windows down.”

“Sad Beautiful Tragic”: This song is to the album “Red” as “Last Kiss” was to the album “Speak Now.” It is a slow, miserable love song about the end of a beautiful love affair.  “Sad Beautiful Tragic” is quite different from her previous love songs; however, as this time she blames herself instead of the other person. The line, “You’ve got your demons / and darling they all look like me,” is irrevocably haunting.

“The Lucky One”: Taylor Swift makes it known that her famous number is 13. Seeing “The Lucky One” placed in the number 13 slot must mean this song is really something special. Despite its light-hearted vocals, this track actually has a deeper meaning than it gives off. Swift explains the story behind “The Lucky One” is actually her biggest fear: letting her fame get to her. Swift said, “[I’m afraid of] ending up caught up in this whole thing, lonely and feeling misunderstood, and feeling like when people think you’re lucky, you’re really not.”

“Everything Has Changed” (featuring Ed Sheeran): This track is the second duet on “Red.” It was written on a trampoline in Taylor Swift’s backyard. Automatically, a fan of Ed Sheeran can tell the tone of the song sounds more like one of his rather than one of Taylor Swift’s. But somehow, it works. There are many admirable parts of this love song: the harmonies, Sheeran’s distinctive guitar playing, and his casual beginning remark “We good to go?” The track is calm, sweet, and exceptionally romantic.

“Starlight”: This “marvelous tune” is catchy, upbeat, and also just a tad bit cheesy. Swift admitted this song was written for Ethel Kennedy, the grandmother of her recent beau, Conor Kennedy. This song was based off of a photo she had seen of young Ethel and Robert Kennedy. Swift said, “I didn’t know anything about what they were doing or what was going on. But I just thought they look like they’re having the best night. So I wrote this song about what the night might have been like.” The cute cheesiness in “Starlight” is pretty evident, however, through lyrics like, “We could get married, have ten kids / and teach them how to dream.” Despite the lyrics, the tune is still impossible to ignore and head-bob worthy.

“Begin Again”: After a mixture of intense emotions and roller coasters throughout the songs in “Red,” the closing track ties it all together with a full circle to opening up to love again. “Begin Again” leans heavily towards country. This song is about Swift’s uncertainty in exposing vulnerability after a horrible breakup. Eventually, she realizes all love doesn’t “break, and burn, and end.” And that sometimes it’s okay to restart and begin again.