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“I’ve always said that the world is a different place for the heartbroken,” wrote Taylor Swift on June 18, when announcing her 2012 album, Red, would be the next entry in the Taylor’s Version re-recording series. “It moves on a different axis, at a different speed. Time skips backwards and forwards fleetingly. The heartbroken might go through thousands of micro-emotions a day trying to figure out how to get through it without picking up the phone to hear that old familiar voice. In the land of heartbreak, moments of strength, independence, and devil-may-care rebellion are intricately woven together with grief, paralyzing vulnerability, and hopelessness. Imagining your future might always take you on a detour back to your past. And this is all to say, that the next album I’ll be releasing is my version of Red.”
Got some news that I think you’re gonna like – My version of Red will be out a week earlier than scheduled (including the 4 disc vinyl) on November 12th ! Can’t wait to celebrate the 13th with you and our new/old autumn heartbreak album🧣😍 🎥 🎥https://t.co/FVp6xizaOG
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) September 30, 2021
She later surprised fans by announcing on September 30 that she was actually dropping the re-recorded album a week earlier than originally anticipated. “Got some news that I think you’re gonna like,” Swift told fans. “My version of ‘Red’ will be out a week earlier than scheduled (including the 4 disc vinyl) on November 12th ! Can’t wait to celebrate the 13th with you and our new/old autumn heartbreak album.” Many fans speculated she moved the date to avoid coinciding with Adele, who is rumored to be dropping a new album in November. However, generally speaking, a slew of other new music is expected to drop on the weekends before and after Black Friday, so she could gain a competitive advantage in the charts by releasing on the 12th.
The next album that I’ll be releasing is my version of Red, which will be out on November 19. This will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on Red. And hey, one of them is even ten minutes long🧣 https://t.co/FOBLS5aHpS pic.twitter.com/6zWa64Owgp
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 18, 2021
Red (Taylor’s Version) continues Swift’s campaign of re-recording her first six albums — Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation. This project began the moment that Scooter Braun’s media company, Ithaca Holdings, acquired her original recordings (“masters”) when purchasing Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group for a reported $300 million. Taylor blasted the transaction, accused Scooter of being a bully, and claimed that Scooter “has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”
In 2020, Scooter sold Taylor’s album to Shamrock Holdings, a private equity firm, in 2020. Taylor released a statement in November 2020, claiming that her team “attempted to enter into negotiations with Scooter Braun” in hopes of purchasing her masters from him. She claimed he wanted her to sign an “ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive before we could even look at the financial records.” This killed the deal, and later in the year, Shamrock Holdings contacted Taylor to inform her about the sale. Under the new deal, Scooter will continue to profit off her old musical catalog. “I was hopeful to the possibility of a partnership with Shamrock, but Scooter’s participation is a non-starter for me.”
Taylor’s statement also confirmed what many suspected: that she was indeed re-recording her old music. So now, as the world prepares for Red (Taylor’s Version), here’s what you need to know.
When Will ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ Be Released?
“My version of ‘Red’ will be out a week earlier than scheduled (including the 4 disc vinyl) on November 12th,” she told fans in September. She also included a link to the pre-sale page, which featured the new cover art. Initially, only two digital versions of Red (Taylor Version) were available – the “explicit” version and the “clean” version. The fact there’s an “explicit” version of this album shocked some fans, as it indicated she intended to use adult language nearly a decade before she dropped some f-bombs on folklore.
There will likely be a physical release. Fearless (Taylor’s Version), the first in the was released on CD. Whether or not it arrives on vinyl remains to be seen. At the start of June 2021, Taylor’s evermore shattered the U.S. record for largest vinyl album sales in a single week, per Billboard. It sold more than 40,000 copies, just three days after its (physical) May 28 release.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was also Taylor’s ninth consecutive album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200. It was also the first re-recorded album to go No. 1, and it was the biggest sales week of 2021 so far (with 291,000 equivalent album units sold.) So it’s safe to say that Red will likely break that record.
As to why Taylor announced Red (Taylor’s Version) when there were only digital versions available for presale – with no CDs, Vinyl, or limited edition merch for Swifties to purchase en masse – one fan pointed out that June 18 happens to be Scooter Braun’s birthday.
What Songs Are Going To Be On ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’?
“Sometimes you need to talk it over (over and over and over) for it to ever really be… over. Like your friend who calls you in the middle of the night going on and on about their ex, I just couldn’t stop writing. This will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on Red. And hey, one of them is even ten minutes long.”
Yes, there will be 30 songs on Red (Taylor’s Version). This should be no surprise considering the standard edition of Fearless (Taylor’s Edition) had 26 tracks, which was literally twice the number of songs on the original 2008 album.
There were sixteen songs on the standard version of 2012’s Red, including “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “All Too Well,” “22,” “Everything Has Changed,” “Begin Again,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and the title track. The deluxe edition of Red contained three extra original songs – “The Moment I knew,” “Come Back…Be Here,” and “Girl At Home” – as well as three alternate versions of “Treacherous,” “Red,” and “State of Grace.” The longest of these songs is “All Too Well,” at 5:29. Taylor says her version of Red will contain a song that’s twice that length.
In August, she also dropped hints about what songs would be coming out of the “vault.” It included: “Better Man”, “Ronan”, “Babe”, “Nothing New”, “Message in a Bottle”, “Forever Winter”, “Think About Me”, and “The Very First Nights.” One or more of the songs are also set to feature Chris Stapleton and Phoebe Bridgers.
What’s ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ Going To Sound Like?
“Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person,” Taylor wrote in her June 18 post. “It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past. Like trying on pieces of a new life, I went into the studio and experimented with different sounds and collaborators. And I’m not sure if it was pouring my thoughts into this album, hearing thousands of your voices sing the lyrics back to me in passionate solidarity, or if it was simply time, but something was healed along the way.”
Red was an album that saw Taylor explore a new musical identity, to “push her music outside of its traditional boundaries, to stray into the interzone between pop and country,” according to Pitchfork’s 2019 review of the album. The album’s many facets (“all over the place,” as Taylor described it) saw her dive further into pop with help from many producers, including Nathan Chapman, Jeff Bhasker. Red was also the first time that Taylor worked with Max Martin, the songwriting maestro who worked with her again on 1989 and Reputation.
Who Will Feature ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’?
The 2012 edition of Red features Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol (“The Last Time”) and Ed Sheeran (“Everything Has Changed.”). It’s safe to say they will be back for this new version.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) featured some new collaborations: “You All Over Me,” with Maren Morris, and “That’s When,” with Keith Urban. Fans already decoded a message which revealed Chris Stapleton and Phoebe Bridgers will feature on the album, but considering the sheer volume of tracks on Red (Taylor’s Version), more surprises could be around the corner.
With Red (Taylor’s Version), Taylor has completed a third of her reclamation project. It will also mark the fourth album she released in the span of nineteen months (folklore, evermore, and Fearless (Taylor’s Version)). When Taylor returns to touring, she will have plenty of songs for fans to “sing the lyrics back to me in passionate solidarity,” and you better believe there will be millions ready to raise their voices to sing along.
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