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Hi, I'm Taylor. I love the number 13. I was born in December on a Christmas tree farm. I like imagining what life was like hundreds of years ago. I have blurry eyesight. My favorite thing in life is writing about life, specifically the parts of life concerning love. Because, as far as I'm concerned, love is absolutely everything.
I'm easily excited, thrilled, scared, and shocked. I'm 22 now, but I never stopped jumping up and down when something wonderful happens. My biggest fear is getting bad news. Or, letting someone down. I really love showing people what I meant when I wrote a song, so my shows are very theatrical. I knock on wood constantly. I have a cat named Meredith. She's named after my favorite character on Grey's Anatomy, and she's fantastic. I live in Nashville, a magical land where 99% of the people are friendly and courteous drivers who let you in and don't honk at you.
I go into a trance when I'm in an antique store. I don't like it when something or someone turns out to be different than what you originally thought. Like when you're shopping and you find a really cute dress, only to realize it s actually a strange jumpsuit situation. But I mostly don't like it when it happens with people. I love my friends and I'm always making new ones. I don't really think you can ever stop making new friends or learning about as many new things as possible. I also don't think you should ever take life so seriously that you forget to play.
Music has taken me all over the world, but the fans are the reason it's been so magical. I'm so blown away by how nice they are to me. It's strange to feel so understood by such a large group of people, but I love it. For the last two years, I've been working on an album called Red. I called it that because of the tumultuous, crazy adventures in love and loss that it chronicles. In my mind, when you experience love that's fast paced and out of control and mixes infatuation, jealousy, frustration, miscommunication, and all of those lovely emotions... In retrospect, it all looks red.
I can't wait for so many things. But mostly I can't wait to see you, whether it's in a crowd or a coffee shop. Thank you for listening, showing up, reading, and taking such good care of me.
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Yeah, yeah. Young kids love Taylor Swift. My hipster friends like to make fun of her. I'm a 36-year-old male. Not my demographic. Blah, blah, blah. I mostly listen to video game music, film scores, and orchestral recording. When I DO listen to music with lyrics I like to listen to every kind of music under the sun (country, pop, easy-listening, classic rock, 80's, 90's, metal, joke albums, folk music, etc). So when I say that music is genius, I'm saying this after a lifetime of love of every kind of music from classical to broadway to radio. And this album is undoubtedly genius.
Every song...EVERY SONG
Let's be honest. Most albums released have one or two great songs that deserve to be hits, and the rest are kinda forgettable. Rare is the album that you want to put in your cd player or record player and listen to beginning to end (which is why retro records are such a huge deal these days IMO; people like the old albums that told a great story over the course of an album). But boy is this ever an album to listen to all-the-way through. The beat, rhythm, pacing, lyrics, vocals, instrumentation, is just...perfect is not the word. These songs are written, performed, and perfected by a GENIUS. Yeah, yeah. Auto-tune is a thing. Voices can be adjusted in the studio to improve them. So....what? The end product is what matters on an album, and the end product here is extraordinary.
You see all the influences here. Some of the songs are reminiscent of U2, Mandy Moore, Michelle Branch, Cher, and all your favorite Pop music. But there's a quickness, a flexibility, and vivacious enthusiasm and genuine emotion that is Taylor Swift, and it is straining to escape in every track, like she's got something she desperately needs to tell you and can barely hold it in. Perhaps that's why I love this album so much. I have Aspergers. I can't feel empathy from people around me in the real world. So I love "anvil-dropping" emotion. I love to know clearly and obviously how someone feels (in a video game, a TV show, a movie, a book, and especially in music). And in this album Taylor wears her emotions on her sleeve and the melodrama is glorious. And the lyrics are brilliant.
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22
I cannot for the life of me understand why my wife and her friends do not love the song "22" to death, except perhaps as Taylor is very much aware, it's "cool" to hate her, and hipster music "is so much cooler than me". To that, all I can say is...it's not easy to be number 1. It's not easy to be at the top of the world (only place to do is down). As Dale Carnegie pointed out in his books, all the other kids want to "kick the king" (true story). And in my mind's eye I can imagine Taylor Swift walking off stage at a massive concert full of screaming fans and having a sobbing breakdown like the gold medalist from the film "Chariots of Fire" when another competitor says "what's wrong with him?" and a man replies "It's a terrible thing to win. Hope you never have to experience it."
Yes, Taylor is well-aware that she's loved and hated. And uses it to add fuel to her creative fire. And with "22" she used it to create the anthem of a generation. That's not the only case of brilliant lyrics, but it is perhaps the most obvious. Her lyrics are like poems. And they are GOOD.
Is this Taylor Swift's Greatest Album? I don't know. Maybe. It fuses country/pop/and R&B rhythms better than any of her other albums, which went more in the pop/rap/ballad direction. But it is definitely worth owning, on a number of levels. It's a milestone in terms of country/pop fusion. It's one of Taylor Swift's best albums, and it marks in my mind the turning point where her music went from good to BRILLIANT. Buy it. Ya know, unless Taylor Swift's annoying voice and "uncoolness" is too much for you. Whatever.
Highlights of the album include:
-The arena-rock opener "State of Grace" when Taylor explores a sudden relationship
-The title track "Red" about the colorful lust of a past relationship
-"22" about the joys of being that age
-The true-to-form "I Almost Do" where Taylor wonders about the yearning of her ex
-The cute ballad "Stay Stay Stay"
-"The Last Time," a strong and harmonious duet with Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, about both sides of an on-and-off relationship gone sour
-The disco rock "Starlight" which shows an exploration of new genres that go beyond strumming a guitar
-The closer "Begin Again" and Taylor's heart pumping red again
Other songs such as the Dan Wilson-produced "Treacherous," the Max Martin collaboration and mega-hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," the aforementioned "The Lucky One," the reflectional "All Too Well," and the eerie "Sad Beautiful Tragic" that's everything "Last Kiss" from Speak Now should have been all live up to expectations as well. "I Knew You Were Trouble," an over-produced rant of self-blame and misfortune, and although it is written as typical Taylor Swift fare, it becomes annoying.
Although the album has some disappointments, like the forgettable "Holy Ground" and the waste of a duet with Ed Sheeran ("Everything Has Changed," a random, unfocused mess), it is overall a very strong effort that lives up to the A+ work of "Speak Now" two years ago. Even if it is long and has a few duds, it's still well worth a purchase given that over half of the songs are worth listening to. Keep in mind: This is a pop record, even with its few country moments on "Treacherous" and "I Almost Do," and if you're looking for more Fearless-era Taylor Swift, this isn't it. She's growing as an artist in her own direction and trying to discover what her true calling is. Although there are songs that seem to be from different albums here, this sixteen-track set is exploring the variety and evolution of Taylor Swift's songwriting, and the music reflects it.
Amazon's little thing asked why I gave it 5/5 stars and so that is my answer. I imagine that is what a reader is after... whether I recommend it for them to listen to and I most assuredly, absolutely and abundantly do. I find it difficult to imagine a situation a situation where this is untrue. Thus I suggest I may be more than a little biased... or absolutely crazy.