On the 14th track (Everything Has Changed feat. Ed Sheeran) of her much-anticipated fourth album, Taylor Swift sings: “All I know is you held the door/You’ll be mine and I’ll be yours/All I know since yesterday everything has changed.” Although she’s referring to a budding relationship, those lyrics are applicable to her music. The songs featured on “Red” have greatly evolved since her last album in terms of sound and lyrics. She’s no longer the country sweetheart we used to know; the album offers only one country song (“Stay Stay Stay”).
She branched out with dance tracks (“Red”, “22”, “I Knew You Were Trouble”) and voice variations (“22”, “Stay Stay Stay”, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”) and more generic lyrics. On “22”, she sings, “You don’t know about me/But I’ll bet you want to/Everything will be alright/If we keep dancing like we’re 22,” a song that earns her a newfound comparison to the likes of Kesha or Avril Lavigne.
The dance vibe of “22” continues on “I Knew You Were Trouble,” an emotional prequel to “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” “He was long gone when he met me/And I realized the joke is on me,” she sings on one of the most relatable songs of this album.
Swift is unique because she is a country artist who gained widespread popularity. It’s disappointing to hear her sound fall away from her roots into a more generic pop style. Her songs are still amazing and catchy, but too closely mimic other mainstream artists; most are surefire hits no matter whose name is attached. She would have been better off staying true to herself and producing the emotional country pop only she can do right.
“Red:” CL loves the title track, a merger of dance and Taylor’s trademark country pop. It doesn’t stray far from the sound of “Speak Now” and “Fearless”, features the kind of personal lyrics T. Swift fans love, yet still brings something new to the table.
“Holy Ground:” is a top track for similar reasons; the lyrics offer a fresh take on Taylor’s traditional love song and the drum-heavy sound sticks within the realms of her upbeat country pop.
“Begin Again:” This list wouldn’t be complete without a mellow breakup ballad, a la “Dear John,” “Back to December” and “Breath.” In “Begin Again”, she sings, “I’ve been spending the last 8 months thinking/All love ever does is break burn and end/But on a Wednesday in a café/I watched it begin again.”