63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Taylor Sets The Standard - A 42 Year Old Man's Point Of View,
This review is from: Red (Audio CD)
* The following review appears on the main "Red" page as well but is a review of this version which includes the extra tracks available here on what is the Target Exclusive version *
There are going to be hundreds of reviews of this album out there (and yes, I'm old, I still call them albums) and I know I'm not in Taylor's main demographic audience. First off, I'm a guy. Second off I'm 42 years old and normally listen to things like Irish punk, The Beatles, Springsteen or some hard core country like Chris Knight. I love big band music whether it's Frank Sinatra or Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. With all of that said, I adore Taylor and this new album "Red."
Taylor's songwriting is still in fine form here. The thing that always amazes me about her writing is that she's able to tell stories in her songs, she keeps it simple and more often than not finds one heck of a hook in the chorus. There is passion, there's energy and there is joy. Sure, there are so sad songs, but it seems to my that Taylor takes so much joy in making music that it's hard as a listener not to get caught up in that with her.
After listening to the 16 tracks and the 6 bonus tracks available on some packages I have to say that Taylor's bonus tracks alone are better than what most artists are putting out as albums these days. The "demo" recordings of "Treacherous," "Red" and "State of Grace" are excellent and polished works that are just a bit more stripped down than the versions that appear on the album. It's not really fair to call them demos, as when I hear that word I'm expecting below-par sound and performance. I think it's the mark of a good song if it can be done solo-acoustic (or at least very stripped down) and these three songs certainly hold up well.
For me the whole album is very solid, there are no songs on this disc that I'd skip when listening to it. There is a nice mix of slower ballads and hard hitting rock numbers. Make no mistake about it, Taylor Swift is a rock and roll star. She's setting the bar for what pop music is and doing a fine job of it. It's funny, while listening to "Red" and the big anthmatic numbers I couldn't help but think this is the modern day version of Phil Spector's wall of sound. Sure, there are a lot of synthesizers here, but Taylor has an uncanny ability to create a big sound that just envelops you, especially if you like to play your music as loud as I do.
I think it's the fact that Taylor is such a good songwriter and maybe more importantly storyteller that makes her so accessible across so many different lines. It doesn't matter how old you are or what gender you are, Taylor's songs resonate. Even a song like "22" which is an anthem for the young "let's go out and party" crowd it still hits home with me at 42, because believe it or not kids I was 22 at one point. And, I'm guessing the 10 year olds that hear the song will relate to it because they know it's exactly what they're going to want to do when they're 22.
Red is a little bit country, a lot of pop and a heavy dose of rock and roll. Like some big artists before her, Taylor Swift is not a follower, but instead she is creating the standard for what is popular music. And maybe this is the old man in me coming out, but where most of popular music is fairly brainless and devoid of substance that's the opposite of what Taylor Swift brings to the table. She brings some great story songs, most of which (if not all) I'm pretty sure are very auto-biographical. Taylor is simply telling us her story, she's just making it rhyme and adding some killer hooks and melodies for good measure.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 16, 2013 10:06:49 AM PDT
B. Matthies says:
Love your review! It echoes many of my same thoughts. As a 30 year old man myself, I was never much of a Taylor Swift fan (besides the occasional popular song on the radio) until this album. Her poppier/dancier/rockier songs drew me in, and upon listening to the entire album I was drawn in. Each time I hear it, I enjoy it more and more... and I too don't find it necessary to skip any tracks on this album. That says a lot about the quality here, because I'm not a big fan of ballads. They have to be done well. I never thought I'd consider myself a Taylor Swift fan... but this album has changed my mind!
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2015 8:24:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2015 8:25:20 AM PST
Catherine Todd says:
Terrific review, Darren... I'm "old" too and now I'm going to listen to the whole album, and hear Taylor Swift for the first time. Thanks, "old man!" LOL. You write like a pro. Gracias!
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2015 6:40:57 AM PST
Darren O'Neill says:
Thanks, and I agree, I can sometimes find ballads to be a bit boring but Taylor does a great job with giving ballads sections of punch that keep them from dragging. It is interesting that you can see her style changing from album to album and the minute I heard "Better Than Revenge" on her "Speak Now" album I knew where I wanted her to take her musical style and she has not disappointed! If "Better Than Revenge" doesn't show off a rock / pop star in the making I don't know what does.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2015 6:42:35 AM PST
Darren O'Neill says:
Thanks Catherine, there is nothing wrong with being old! One thing that sets Taylor away from the current crop of artists is that it seems she's the only one putting out albums of songs that actually form a more complete vision / story and aren't just a mixed bag of different songs that are randomly chosen to be put on a record. The girl has a vision and brings it to life, which I believe is what makes her so successful.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›