Top positive review
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Taylor Swift strives for perfection
on November 15, 2012
Taylor Swift has become the #1 name in pop music, having the catchy first single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and having her new album (this one) go Platinum in five days. This album is definitely up to all the hype and sales, and Taylor Swift truly deserves all the attention she is getting - even if she doesn't want all of it, given the necessary poke at the paparazzi she gives in "The Lucky One."
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.