Wolfpack it's been out for a little bit now did you go pick it up?
Taylor Swift right out fo the gate, makes it plain and simple that her fourth album, "Red," will be labeled by no format or style. Her talents lean POP but she says Country is her home for life!
Most of the people in "The Industry" still classify her as country, she comes out of the box here with a full-on rocker, "State of Grace," whose huge pounding drums and Edge (BONO and U2)-like guitars recall vintage U2 from a long long time ago! I wonder what was playing in her I-pod that inspired that? Seriously I dig that tune. The title track quickly follows, and it's a pop-rock tour de force, with a 'gigantasic' chorus, monster vocals and one of her catchiest melodies ever.
Two songs in, and Swift jumps into some kind of metamorphosis into an all-purpose pop titan that is nearly or quite possibly already complete. Almost like she has 20 plus years in the format. Did that make any sense, just seems to me that she is much more comfortable in that Pop, Country groove.
She won't be 23 until December, but there aren't too many songwriters currently operating that are this accomplished and gifted. Now if you bought the I-tunes version of RED you will notice in the DIGITAL booklet that she has help writing most if not all songs, but its impressive that her name is listed first! In fact, her songwriting to me seems to be the main reason she cuts so effortlessly across genres - her songs are so perfectly constructed that her style that she sings them matters little to me again that's just my thoughts crashing out onto the screen that your reading right now. :)
But moving through the album she glides effortlessly from those arena-friendly opening tracks to shouty, Katy Perry-type thumping pop on "I Knew You Were Trouble" and the delightful confection "22," and quieter confessional singer-songwriter drama on "All Too Well" and "I Almost Do." In all honestly I have not seen many country females in this business do that so easily.
Not everything works. Her duet with Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, "The Last Time," drowns in a sea of instrumental slush and strange but possible forced giant emotional gestures. "Everything Has Changed," the album's other duet, features up-and-coming British songwriter Ed Sheeran, and I really liked how she made that track work. She almost took the backseat on this one and allowed Ed to carry the track.
We are more than HALFWAY done!
The monster hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" is pitch perfect Swift, with its stomping chorus, touches of humor and massive relationship woes. It's real fun from start to finish, and very easy to listen to the obvious melodramatic ruminations such as "Sad Beautiful Tragic."
Thankfully, she also drops the whispered style on "Stay Stay Stay," a very very soft tune with an irresistible melody and a light touch that Swift should use more. "That's so fun," she giggles at its conclusion, and she's right. I found myself really turning up the headphones to catch everything she was doing on this track. How could you not like a girl that yells "That was fun" after she sings.
With the exception of occasional banjo riffs, no in your facecountry instrumentation appears on "Red" until fiddle, steel guitar and banjo crop up on "Begin Again," the big and full ballad of hope that closes the album. Swift has jumped headlong into the pop-rock world times ten on these 16 tracks, and for the most part, she emerges in the zone and ontop of her game.
If you can, pick up the expanded edition available through Target. It has three extra songs, plus three acoustic/demo versions of "Red" tracks. The excellent "Girl at Home" could easily have fit on the album proper, and the demo version of the title track, "Red," has an energy and joy that rivals the full-blown album version.
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Tank - Target
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