VARIATION ON A THEME Taylor Swift sticks to her tried-and-true forumlas.unexpected methods
VARIATION ON A THEME Taylor Swift sticks to her tried-and-true forumlas.unexpected methods

4/5 stars

Taylor Swift is consistent. Whether she is lamenting over a broken heart, bashing an ex-lover or gallivanting through a passionate yet short-lived relationship, one knows what to expect. Every tune is catchy, and each track is beautifully produced. Country, pop and everything in between: Red, her newest album, delivers.

On Swift’s fourth album, she ventures to different, though often-charted, territory to deliver her trademark tunes to a wider fan base and expand her appeal as America’s number-one pop princess. Red seems to be tailored (pun intended) to please the masses and is clearly aimed at dominating the radio waves. Some songs feel soulless and terrible, but she manages to redeem herself on other great tracks. Swift has not sold out per se, butRed lacks an originality that most musicians hope to retain despite years of success. The album is up and down, and devoted fans will either love her shift in sound or resent her for becoming just like every other pop artist.

Swift begins her pop-infused country escape with “State of Grace.” A hopeful and refreshing start, the first track is classic Swift with an R.E.M inspired, wistful alternative-rock spin. The title track is another great Taylor Swift tune. With lyrics such as “Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street / faster than the wind / passionate as sin, ended so suddenly,” the listener is captivated by her shameless and constantly wavering love life. A song about passionate and tragic love, this track will not disappoint fans. It may sound like every other Swift song we shamefully listen to on repeat, but it remains catchy, fun and easy.

“Treacherous,” a romantic and desperate love song, slows the album’s pace for a brief time, but the spirit of the album picks back up with “I Knew You Were Trouble.” This track is pop at its finest. It may be a little too synthetic for some fans, but it’s fun and great for middle school dances around America. This song feels different from Swift’s other top radio hits, but it is still captivating and will likely be incredibly popular.

The next notable track is “22,” which will be a disappointment to anyone interested in Swift as a musician. The opening lines, “It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters and make fun of our exes,” is just extremely off putting. Not only are the lyrics horrendous, but I am pretty sure I have heard the same song from Ke$ha and other pop trolls. The same applies to tracks such as “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” It is bubble-gum pop mixed with pointless lyrics and the annoying repetition of the word “like.” Taylor Swift is expanding her fan base, which is natural for an artist, but it may sound like she is selling out in the process.

While there are a couple of annoying mishaps on Red, the album as a whole is a great addition to Taylor Swift’s repertoire. She continues to develop as an artist and is clearly influenced by what the public wants to hear. If you count yourself among Swift’s fans — or even if you don’t — you will definitely find some gems on Red.

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