Red (Taylor’s Version) Album Review

Taylor Swift promoting the release of Red (Taylor’s Version).

(Beth Garrabrant)

Taylor Swift promoting the release of Red (Taylor’s Version).

Taylor Swift released Red (Taylor’s Version) on November 12th, 2021, over 9 years after the original album had been released. It is the second chapter of her Taylor’s Version project, re-releases of the six albums that she previously did not own the rights to. So far, she has re-released Fearless and now Red. The album consists of 30 songs and is over 2 hours long. It contains re-recordings of the original 16 songs off of the original album as well as ‘vault tracks’, meaning songs that were originally meant to be on the album but were removed.

A quick disclaimer: I will only be ranking 29 out of the 30 songs on the album. The only song I won’t be ranking is “Ronan (Taylor’s Version)”. “Ronan” was written by Swift in memory of a young child who passed away due to cancer. Taylor Swift heard about the story from his mother’s blog and wrote a song dedicated to him. The song is very personal and seems disrespectful to include it in a ranking.


  1. Run (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)- This song is about wanting to get away from prying eyes and wanting to escape. However, I feel like Swift already has many other songs like this, and in my opinion this one is not as good.

Favorite lyric: “we can go where our eyes take us”


  1. State of Grace (Taylor’s Version)(acoustic version)- I like this version less than the regular one. It makes less sense with the lyrics in my opinion.

Favorite lyric:“so you were never a saint, and I loved in shades of wrong”


  1. Babe (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)- I feel pretty ambivalent about this song. I do not think it is particularly good or bad, as the lyrics are repetitive. 

Favorite lyric: “We’re a wreck, you’re the wrecking ball”


  1. The Moment I Knew (Taylor’s Version)- I think this song is very good, but it’s not my favorite and I always find myself skipping it.

Favorite lyric: “What do you say, when tears are streaming down your face In front of everyone you know?”


  1. Girl at Home (Taylor’s Version)- This song was the least streamed song on the original album and likely the fans’ least favorite song. However, I actually like this song. I think the lyrics are a little repetitive but overall the song is fun and I especially enjoy the new instrumentals. Taylor’s vocals match this song very well.

Favorite Lyric: “I might go with it if I hadn’t once been just like her”


  1. I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor’s Version)- I used to really like this song, but I think at this point it’s very overplayed.

Favorite lyric: “and the saddest fear comes creeping in That you never loved me or her, or anyone, or anything”


  1. Sad Beautiful Tragic (Taylor’s Version)- I think this song has great lyrics. It is so sad, however, that I do not listen to it very often.

Favorite lyric: “In dreams I meet you in warm conversation”


  1. 22 (Taylor’s Version)- I thought it was appropriate to put this song here. I do not think I even need to describe the meaning behind this classic Taylor Swift song. It is all about being young and free without any complex, hidden meaning. On the surface, this song’s not about anything unique, the song is fun, nostalgic, and is associated with a specific point in one’s life. 

Favorite lyric: “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway?”


  1. We are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor’s Version)-  Another classic Taylor Swift song. The lyrics are very repetitive but overall it is still a good song.

Favorite lyric: “I say ‘I hate you’ we break up, you call me, ‘I love you’”


  1. Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)- I have tried for a while to like this song, but for some reason, I just do not like it that much. I think the song is just okay but nothing amazing

Favorite lyric: “forever going with the flow but you’re friction”


  1. Everything has changed (Taylor’s Version)- This song definitely was not one of my favorites of the original album. After listening to it again, however, I do like it a bit better. I think Taylor’s vocals fit this song well. However, compared to a lot of other songs on this album, I like this one less.

Favorite lyric: “Cause all I know is we said, ‘Hello’ and your eyes look like coming home”


  1. Stay Stay Stay (Taylor’s Version)- This song is sweet and about someone who feels like they are finally in a happy relationship. The lyrics are a little cheesy, but overall not a bad song.

Favorite lyric: “I’d like to hang out with you for my whole life”


  1. Forever Winter (Taylor’s Version)(From the Vault)- This song is very different from a lot of the others on the album. This one feels a lot more mature. Swift looks up to and tries to help a loved one who is going through a difficult time.

Favorite lyric: “too young to know it gets better, I’ll be summer sun for you forever”


  1. The Last Time (Taylor’s Version)- This is a sadder song about how it can be difficult to let people go. On the original version of the album, this song was one of my least favorites but after listening to it again, I have grown to like it more. I especially like the new instrumentals that were added to the chorus, I think they fit the song well. many other songs on the album mention a ‘first time’ so think it’s interesting that this whole song focuses on a ‘last time’ in a relationship. 

Favorite lyric:“you break my heart in the blink of an eye”


  1. Red (Taylor’s Version)- This is an amazing title track. The song acknowledges a lot of red flags in a relationship but still remembers the good parts. It’s a classic Taylor Swift song that you can’t go wrong with.

Favorite lyric: “forgetting him was like tryin’ know somebody you never met”


  1. State of Grace (Taylor’s Version)- A great introduction song for an album. I really like the repeating instrumentals throughout.

Favorite lyric: “So you were never a saint and I loved in shades of wrong”


  1. Come Back, Be Here (Taylor’s Version)- It can be hard to let someone go who you have loved for so long. Looking back at a relationship and realizing it wasn’t perfect is difficult. However, you still want to reminisce on the good times you had together. 

Favorite lyric: “I told myself not to get attached..”


  1. Holy Ground (Taylor’s Version)- I love the beat in this song and how the lyrics do a great job of telling more of a summary of a whole relationship that failed.

Favorite lyric: “and I guess we fell apart in the usual ways”


  1. The Lucky One (Taylor’s Version)- Taylor does a great job describing what it is like for everyone to think that fame and fortune mean you have it all when in reality it comes with a lot of downfalls.

Favorite lyric: “When they tell you that you’re lucky but you’re so confused cause you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used”


  1. Starlight (Taylor’s Version)- In my opinion, one of Swift’s greatest strengths is her ability to tell stories through her music. I think this song does a great job of that. The song describes the idea of having a perfect night with someone and having so much fun that you never want to leave.

Favorite lyric: “the whole place was dressed to the nines”


  1. Better Man (Taylor’s Version)(From the Vault)- This song is about when you know a relationship was bad for you but you still miss the person and the memories you had together. Thus, sometimes instead of moving on, it is easier to go back and think about what could’ve happened if the other person was better. It is only natural to think about “what-ifs” in our life, wondering about what could have been different. This song captures that feeling very well.

Favorite lyric: “you would’ve been the one if you were a better man”


  1. Nothing New (Taylor’s Version)(From the Vault)- I was so excited for this song to come out because Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers are two of my favorite artists. Also, in the past when Swift collaborated with other female artists she had them only sing backup vocals. I was very happy to see that Bridgers had solo verses. The lyrics in the song are beautiful; it captures the feeling that many women believe that they have an expiration date and that one day they will be unimportant in the eyes of society.

Favorite lyric: “how can a person know everything at 18 and nothing at 22?”


  1. I Almost Do (Taylor’s Version)- In my opinion, this is one of the saddest songs on the album. It is about missing someone you know was bad for you. It captures the feeling of wanting to reach out to someone but ultimately knowing it is a bad idea.

Favorite lyric:“I can’t say hello without risking another goodbye”


  1. Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)- Despite the fact that most of the songs on the album are very heartbreaking, this one has a more positive outlook. It reminds you that there is always a bright side to things. This was the last track on the original album and I think it was a perfect last song to an album all about heartbreak.

Favorite lyric: “I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny, ‘cause he never did”


  1. All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)- I honestly cannot begin to articulate how amazing this song is. This song was my favorite of the original album. I love the symbolic lyrics in the song, especially her scarf and how it represents the innocence that he took from her and I love the story that the song tells about the pain of a past relationship that ended badly.

Favorite lyric: “you call me up again just to break me like a promise, so casually cruel in the name of being honest”


  1. Message in a bottle (Taylor’s Version)(From the Vault)- I absolutely love this song. It has a great beat that makes you want to dance. It is such a fun, lighthearted song about a new crush. It describes that moment when you really like someone but don’t know how to tell them how you feel.

Favorite lyric: “Cause you could be the one that I love, I could be the one you dream of”


  1. I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version)(From the Vault)- In this song, Swift describes how she did not fit in with her boyfriend’s upper-class clique. Normally I tend to prefer Swift’s pop songs to her country ones but I absolutely love the snarkiness in this song.

Favorite lyric: “I bet you think about me when you say ‘Oh my god she’s insane, she wrote a song about me’”


  1. The Very First Night (Taylor’s Version)(From the Vault)- I really like the juxtaposition in this song. It has a very fun and upbeat tempo but the meaning behind it is actually very sad. It is about missing someone a lot and simultaneously trying everything you can to get them out of your head.

Favorite lyric: “we broke the status quo then we broke each other’s hearts”


  1. All too well (Taylor’s Version) (10-minute version)- I thought that the original version was already a nearly perfect song but somehow this version is even better. There are extra parts to this song in this version that add so much to its meaning. This song included extra details about how he broke up with her right before her twenty-first birthday and how she spent the whole time thinking about him and hoping he would show up. I really like that this version talks more about the large age gap in the relationship and how that was a big reason why they broke up. In my opinion, this song has the best lyrics on the album, so I chose two favorites.

Favorite lyrics: “you kept me like a secret but you kept me like an oath”

“I was never good at telling jokes but the punchline goes ‘I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age’”