Taylor Swift – Red
Taylor Swift’s 2008 debut album Fearless was a critical and commercial success. She was soon hailed as the new face of her genre, bringing her own brand of country music into the mainstream, which has won her Grammys and Video Music Awards every year since. Indeed, infamously, she won ahead of Kanye West’s favourite singer Beyonce, in the VMAs 2009). Confidence and talent clearly is not something Swift is lacking.
The highly publicised new album Red sees Swift push confidently into new genres. Still shamelessly pop-inspired, the new releases however have become heavier in bass and percussion, with polished vocals on top. Gone are the days of the ‘bare basics’ of country music which loomed heavy in her early music.
New tracks such as the titular Red and I Knew You Were Trouble have a surprisingly high amount of post production; synthesised beats and auto tuning (in the nicest sense) hint at the huge influence of electronic dance on modern popular music, with almost all chart-topping hits borrowing either style or substance from earlier successes within the same vein, such as David Guetta and Rihanna.
Whilst such a move could be seen as easy fodder for young musicians, pandering to what is clearly popular at the moment, Taylor Swift has successfully combined her talent as a lyricist as established in her more traditional country songs with more experimental elements of modern music. Whilst suggesting a conscious move away her ‘safe’ public image, Swift has managed to still bring her PG friendly brand into the mainstream arena, mostly populated with artists selling music with more adult themes which parents dread for their children ears.
Whilst I am sure this album will be a phenomenal success, there is no doubt that Taylor’s army of very young teenage fans will remain her main following. Swift has not moved on from the themes that have made her famous: relationships and heartbreak. Some tracks are predictably soppy and self indulgent, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together being a prime example. This sentimentally may turn new listeners off, but will more probably make dedicated fans love her more.
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Red is released on 22nd October 2012. For more information or to order the album visit Taylor Swift’s official website here.
Watch the video for We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together here: