Taylor Swift: Red (Taylor’s Version) — Album Review

★★★★½ of 5

Paul Enicola
3 min readNov 14, 2021

Today’s Record on the Spotlight: #Red (Taylor’s Version), the second re-recorded album by #TaylorSwift released this November 12th. A re-recording of her studio album Red (2012), this is Swift’s second re-recorded album after Fearless.

While 2012’s Red was largely inspired by singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell (particularly Mitchell’s seminal album Blue); Red (Taylor’s Version) sees Swift coming into her own. With a more polished production, better versions of the songs, and — if we’re being honest — a more matured vocal performance, the artist has finally stepped out of Mitchell’s shadows.

Here are a few talking points.

The Hit:

“All Too Well (10-Minute Version)”: When it was released in 2012, Red featured “All Too Well,” a song that wasn’t intended as a single, yet which ended up becoming the artist’s most acclaimed song ever. Personally, however, I wasn’t a fan — both of the artist and the song — when I first heard it on record. Some of my friends even played it during one of our road trips, and I would sulk in quiet contempt.

Then came this re-recording (and the accompanying short film).

Swift’s original vision for the song, “All Too Well (10-Minute Version)” is one of the best songs I’ve heard in years; and it’s a testament to an artist fully in control of her creativity and production. From the introspective lyrics down to the subtle choice to change the genre (from country rock to power pop), this song is validation for those who fell in love with it ages ago.

Yes, I know: It might have taken me quite some time to come around, but a song this good deserves all the roses it can get. And I’m glad I did.

The Miss:

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”: The main issue I had with Red when it came out nine years ago was that it included songs that sounded overtly pop, with obvious overproduction being the main culprit. And even with production choices to improve on the 2012 release, Swift’s new version of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” still ends up in my ‘to skip’ songs in the artist’s catalog.

The Deepest Cut(s):

“Nothing New” and “Run”: The new songs, which Swift refer to as ‘Songs “From the Vault”’ have the makings of a masterpiece of their own. Comprising tracks 22 to 30, this collection of songs alone could arguably rival Swift’s Folklore as the artist’s best work.

Among the songs, “Nothing New” (with Phoebe Bridgers) and “Run” (with Ed Sheeran) are standout tracks. Along with “All Too Well (10-Minute Version),” these songs are three of the best tunes Swift has ever written and recorded.

So, yes: In my heart, Joni Mitchell will forever occupy a special place with Blue.

But Red, this re-recorded masterpiece, is Taylor Swift’s entry of her own hue.

The Verdict:

The massive improvement in the production values of this re-recorded album meant that some trademarks in Swift’s earlier artistry were scrapped. Hence, while the overt pop sensibilities were thankfully taken out, so were the twangy country sounds Swift was initially known for. Nevertheless, the end result is a tradeoff that I — as a casual Swift listener — would gladly take any given Sunday.

Sure, this isn’t a perfect album; but a great one it definitely is. And while I still find Folklore the artist’s best album (and an all-time great at that), Red (Taylor’s Version) is just a few steps behind.

So, yes: In my heart, Joni Mitchell will forever occupy a special place with Blue.

But Red, this re-recorded masterpiece, is Taylor Swift’s entry…of her own hue.



Paul Enicola

Film (and sometimes music) critic. Writer by profession, musician by passion.