415 of 441 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)
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 1-10 of 66 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 22, 2012 8:28:29 AM PDT
Great review. I hope I enjoy the album half as much as you did!
Posted on Oct 22, 2012 5:10:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 22, 2012 5:11:02 PM PDT
Very strong review of the album. Did you pick up the deluxe version at Target? It's well worth the extra couple of bucks for three more new songs and three remixes/acoustics.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2012 9:56:02 AM PDT
Thank you! I really do love the album, it's pop music at it's best. Taylor really has a knack for melody!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2012 9:58:10 AM PDT
Yes, I have the Target version. The bonus tracks really are better than what most artists are putting out as their main singles. Taylor is the queen of marketing as well, as is evidenced by the iPad skin on my wife's iPad and the posters that we've picked up. The whole feel of the photos on the album have this great 70's feel to them, love it!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2012 10:55:53 AM PDT
Darren: I have to say that I am glad that I read your review today. I've been a fan of Taylor's since Speak Now came out. I am ashamed to say that I have been embarrased to be a Taylor Swift fan, the reason being because I'm 31 years old. I saw her on her Speak Now tour 3 times, and the first show I went to, I almost sold my tickets and didn't go because I was afraid that there would be nothing but little girls and preteens at her concert. I'm so glad I didn't make that mistake because that concert was by far the best concert I have ever been to, and I've been to a lot of concerts. I'm glad to know that I am not the only "old person" that is a Taylor Swift fan!! (And no, I don't think you are old at 42).
Posted on Oct 23, 2012 2:55:13 PM PDT
My son actually turned me onto Taylor Swift some years back. So glad he did. I am a nearly 52 year old Grandma and thanks to your review Darren, can't wait to get my copy.
Posted on Oct 23, 2012 5:13:28 PM PDT
Pie Grrrl says:
Dang, Darren! That's one mighty fine review! Well, I'm REALLY the Oldie But Goodie in the crowd: 60 proud years of rockin' it out to every kind of music out there! I've got 90% of the artists on my MP3 player that you referenced so I knew I was in good stead when I read your list of artists you enjoy.
LOVED your review! LOVED the references! And, I'm going to download the album as soon as I post this response. I learned about Taylor from Zune; like many websites, they track your preferences and she came recommended to me, based on my listening patterns. I've been a Closeted Fan from the beginning, and also don't admit to it because of the sheer volume of Hater's out there. Mind you, these Hater's have done NOTHING with their own life but they like to bust on Taylor, Justin, famous female authors and just about anyone else that is successful.
Nice to know that there's a well-rounded crowd of Taylor Fans. Go Sox!!!!!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 11:29:24 AM PDT
I know exactly what you mean! I've been very reluctant to get tickets to one of Taylor's shows because I am not sure just how comfortable I'd be with a crowd of screaming kids. I'm 6'6", so I'd feel bad sitting in front of anyone and blocking their view! I'm happy that Taylor has released the concert videos that she has, they're almost as good as being there! With that said, the next time she comes through town I might have to get tickets!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 12:22:32 PM PDT
Thanks mommalady, isn't it cool that we can still have an artist come along now and then that can span generations and genres?
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 12:31:12 PM PDT
Hello Pie Grrrl, thanks for the compliment on the review! I wouldn't say 60 can be classified as old if you're still out there rocking it out! I saw Ted Nugent perform recently and it's hard to believe he's north of 60 now and not slowing down, I love it!
I think it's great to be very well rounded when it comes to the types of music you listen to. I track everything I listen to on the PC on last.fm, so you can see a full list of my tracks here: http://www.last.fm/user/ozzieball
There are a lot of Taylor haters out there, but there's always haters when anyone becomes a success. There are haters because she's not "country" anymore. I'd say she was never really country to begin with, as she's always had the big pop hooks. Some people say the lyrics to some of the songs are "too simple" and I wonder what do they think of "she loves you yeah, yeah yeah" and others like it.
I applaud Taylor for embracing the fact that she's a role model and living her life, so far anyway, in a way that hasn't had any major scandals. She's extremely talented and wealthy beyond imagination at this point but still comes off as down to Earth. Parents don't have to be worried that their kids look up to her. She is truly a rare find in today's entertainment industry!