Ok so just a warning first…I do NOT typically listen to Taylor Swift nor have I ever thought she was an artist I would like to see perform one day. Not because I have an elitist taste in musical genres or a tendency to favour obscure artists from indie labels. I just never listened to her much because I never gravitated towards the modernized country, quirky bubble-gum pop sound she tends to embody. However, I always thought she possessed a unique, and impressive vocal range with just a little more depth and integrity to offer than other typical Pop princesses. Still, despite believing she had slightly more substance than Katy Perry et al. I never felt the urge to purchase any of her albums.
So that being said, I thought maybe I should try listening to something I had never given a fair try before. It’s important to keep an open mind and I admit I was curious to see why she’s so prominently featured on the cover of Rolling Stone’s October issue. After much consideration I must say her fourth studio album, Red wasn’t all bad. Much more good, than bad in fact. The opening track State of Grace is one of the albums best, with soaring vocals and an upbeat melody that makes you feel as if life is one big wonderful experience, full of surprises you can never see coming. It’s inspiring and uplifting all at once. The next track Red is very predictable and full of cheesy metaphors and one-liners that lack any real emotion such as the one about how “loving him is like driving a maserati down a dead end street.” But it’s hook is still catchy enough to become a hit I bet. Each song is fairly different and Swift proves she isn’t afraid to experiment with this album. Her confessional songwriting style has a way of captivating your attention as you contemplate which celebrity she dated was capable of making her feel as if “a new notch in your belt is all I’ll ever be.”
Her track, I knew you were trouble even leans towards dub-step, which I can’t say she entirely pulls off but she gets points for bravery. Ever since I heard her track, Safe and Sound performed along with The Civil Wars for the Hunger Games soundtrack, there was no denying that Swift really does have talent instead of just being another marketed pretty face. On heavier songs like All too well, I almost Do and The Last Time I remember what separates Taylor from the rest, she maintains some country subtleties amongst the collection of Pop songs on this album. Not a horrible mixture, instead it’s a refreshing change. Her voice has an indescribable quality that changes from sweet to angry and raw in an instant. All too well contains real emotion that carries a heavy impact when you realize you can connect as a listener to all her past relationship turmoil and unanswered questions. This album is full of memories and experiences that seem incredibly honest and authentic and I think that’s why Swift is so appreciated and admired. But just in case you feel the floodgates opening the arrangement sets up a perky, boisterous diddy like 22 and Holy Ground to follow every serious tune to remind you life isn’t all sorrow and heartache. These songs serve as a reminder that you will smile again after all the hurt and pain of a breakup. You might even be able to laugh about how dramatic and stupid it all was, which Swift definitely does on her catchy overplayed single, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.
So before you judge me for actually liking this album, (Yes, I do like it) just try listening to Holy Ground a fast paced, feel-good tune. Or Everything has Changed, a hopeful simplistic ballad about wanting to know someone better. Or Begin Again, a melancholic yet sweet tune. I know how annoying it can be to hear one of Swift’s hits played repeatedly in stores, on the radio and everywhere else in the public, but it is merited because she does have talent, as well as a wholesome image. And she did recover from an angry, indignant, pompous, drunken Kanye West in her face with measured grace and class. So would I be appalled if my nieces decided they wanted to go to a concert of hers? Not quite as appalled as I would be if they decided to emulate Katy Perry. Honestly, at least Taylor acts her age.