Review: Taylor Swift’s new album “Red” lacks originality

Ryan Morris

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Taylor Swift recently released her fourth album, titled “Red,” a disappointing follow-up to her 2010 album “Speak Now.”

Clearly veering away from the type of hits her previous albums were known for, “Red” delves into some newer, less appealing sounds.

When the single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was released, I hoped it was not a precursor to the entire album.

Unfortunately, it was. 

The song sounded like a middle school anthem for a breakup, and did not stray very far from Swift’s other tracks. 

“Red” doesn’t seem to bring the same country sounds her previous songs were known for.

In fact, Swift purposefully experimented on this album by collaborating with new writers and producers.

In an interview with Yahoo! Music, Swift said there was a choice going into the fourth album to “either do things the way that you have always done them, and then you’re forming a pattern of doing things the same way, or you can switch it up and go outside your comfort zone.”

She should have made the first choice.

“The State of Grace” is one song Swift wrote by herself and is one of the best on the album. It has strong lyrics and proves Swift can produce a mature sound. It is the first track on the album, and leaves high expectations for the rest of the songs.

“Stay Stay Stay” lacks the originality that trademarked her songs on previous albums. Again, the song sounds like what would be heard at a middle school sleepover.

“I Knew You Were Trouble” constantly shifts between being an echo of indie pop singer Ellie Goulding’s 2011 single, “Lights,” and the pop-country genre. It doesn’t work well, especially for Swift, whose fan base is primarily composed of country and pop music fans.

Dan Wilson, a well-known singer and songwriter who co-wrote Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice” and Adele’s “Someone Like You,” helped Swift to write “Treacherous.” “Treacherous” is a softer ballad that escalates slowly over the course of the song, and is one of the two best tracks on the album.

Max Martin, the producer of famous songs like Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” co-wrote several of Swift’s new songs including “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and “22.”

 Overall, Swift does not seem to be able to live up the high expectations this album had.

Rating: 2 out of 4 stars


Story: KALEY CAMPBELL, A&E Reporter