Reasons for “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Breaking down Swift’s re-release.


Lynn Graham, Staff Writer

Earlier this year, on November 12th, Taylor Swift re-released her album from 2012, Red. Having already re-recorded one of her albums, Fearless, and releasing it in April, Swifties expected the new drop.

After a long-standing battle for the rights to her music, Swift announced that she was going to start re-recording her albums in November of 2020 when her contract expired. 

Because of the contract, she signed at 15 with her former record label, Big Machine Label Group, she never owned the masters to her first six albums. Currently signed to Republic Records, Swift does own her newest albums, Lover, Folklore, and evermore

Big Machine was bought by Ithaca Holdings in June of 2019. Owner Scooter Braun sold Swift’s music to Shamrock Holdings in October of 2020 without her knowledge. 

Unaware of the deals regarding the rights to her music, Swift was blindsided. She wrote in a Tumblr post, “Some fun facts about today’s news: I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hand for years.”

In retaliation, Swift decided to re-record the albums she never fully had the rights over with her own very Taylor twist. 

Fans were ecstatic at the mention of Red (Taylor’s Version). Being one of her most popular albums, Red holds a special place in the hearts of all fans. So when it was released, changes were well received. 

With unreleased songs, new collaborators, and an extended “All Too Well”, Taylor’s version of Red has a lot to offer a long-time Swifties. 

The new release included six never heard before “From the Vault” tracks. “Nothing New”, “Message in a Bottle”, “I Bet You Think About Me”, “Run”, “The Very First Night”, and “Forever Winter” are all new songs on the album.

Some previously existing songs are now on the album as well. “Ronan” is a single released by Swift in 2012. It helped to raise money to fight cancer and was written in memory of Ronan Thompson, a child diagnosed with neuroblastoma. His mother, Maya Thompson, has a writing credit on the song.

An acoustic version of “State of Grace” has made its way onto the album along with “Better Man” and “Babe” which are songs she wrote and gave to different artists, Little Big Town and Sugarland.

Besides the songs on the album that weren’t before, Swift has worked with old and new collaborators to make these songs come to life once again.

When “The Last Time” was released on Taylor’s version, it featured Gary Lightbody like it did on the original album. 

Everything Has Changed” featured Ed Sheeran in the original song and the newly released version as well. He’s also featured on the From the Vault track, “Run”. 

The most notable change was the 10-minute version of fan-favorite “All Too Well”. This devastatingly beautiful song captured the hearts of fans back in 2012 and it destroyed them in 2021.

With added lyrics and newly discovered meanings, “All Too Well” is arguably one of the most meaningful songs written by Swift. Somehow, she managed to add five more minutes to the already heart-wrenching song, showing us how much it meant to her. 

Rumored to be about the three-month-long relationship Swift had with actor Jake Gyllenhaal in 2010, the ten-minute version of the song holds brand new lyrics that seem to target a certain somebody. You just can’t make that up. 

“He’s gonna say it’s love, you never called it what it was / ‘Til we were dead and gone and buried / Check the pulse and come back swearing it’s the same / After three months in the grave / And then you wondered where it went to as I reached for you / But all I felt was shame and you held my lifeless frame,” These lyrics are some of the many believe to be about Gyllenhaal. The three months part is a dead giveaway for the relationship. 

“You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine / And that made me want to die,” could be a reference to Swift and Gyllenhaal’s nine-year age gap.

“And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes / ‘I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age,” would be a huge slap in the face to Gyllenhaal, who has a history of dating women years younger than him. This lyric means as Swift continues to get older, Gyllenhaal will continue to date women younger than Swift. 

The awaited short film for the longer version of this song aired on November 12th. It stars Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien as the two lovers. Directed by Swift herself, the film retells the story of a rapidly deteriorating relationship in seven stages.

The main actors in this film are phenomenal, especially during the fight scene during stage two. It’s the only portion of the video that the song isn’t playing over, so the audience can hear the raw emotion in their words. 

Throughout the film, there are many occasions where the color red appears in the form of something important. The scarf, which young Swift left at Maggie Gyllenhaal’s house, appears later on both the cover of the “All Too Well” book and Dylan O’Brien. The typewriter where she types up the book is seen at the end of the film. The red lip is a look Swift sports multiple times in the film and real life. 

Among “All Too Well”, a few of Swift’s most popular songs were re-released on her version of the album. “I Knew You Were Trouble”, “22”, and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” have not been reinvented quite like “All Too Well” was, but that doesn’t mean everything’s the same. 

In all three songs, fans can tell how much stronger Swift’s voice sounds while singing. Even though the originals were great on their own, you can hear how much more confident Swift is through the music. 

In “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, when Swift sings, “And you would hide away to find your peace of mind / With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine” it’s clear she knows no indie record is better than hers. 

With Swift going out of order with her re-releases, many fans ask themselves, “What’s next?”. People speculate that “1989” is next on her list of revamping. 

Taylor’s version of “Wildest Dreams” was released in November in response to a TikTok trend of people using the original song. Fans lept at the opportunity to conspire about a possible “1989” release.

Although this release would hardly be considered subtle due to the several hints dropped by Swift herself, her next project is highly anticipated by fans everywhere, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.