Burning “Red” is Right

Superbly written at every turn, Taylor Swift’s latest single, “Red” (which is also the title track of her forthcoming new album), will blow you away. It’s a combination of country and rock and pop, and the ping of the banjo is undeniably relentless. “Red” will have you tapping your foot and dancing in your seat. And, if you listen closely, you’ll find an entire English lesson’s worth of similes and metaphors to mine.

Though different from “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” her first single off Red, “Red” shares the same forward-moving rhythm that makes “We Are Never…” so catchy. The banjo plucking at the beginning is ghosted by what sounds like a synthesizer sounding fake strings, as My Dining Partner observed. A departure from the true country hit “Begin Again,” her second single from Red, “Red” has a country feel that’s updated to Taylor’s new pop-rock sound.

Now, how great is this song’s lyrics, you ask? So great. So so great.

The opening stanza grabs you like a punch in the stomach:

Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street

Faster than wind, passionate as sin, ended so suddenly

Loving him is like trying to change your mind

Once you’re already flying through the free fall

Like the colors in autumn

So bright just before they lose it all

Taylor Swift infuses a true country-pop song with such golden word-nuggets. Imagine driving an old Maserati down a dead end street–the thrill of it would end so suddenly, as she sings. What I love best about this stanza is the bit about autumn leaves. This sentiment–that they’re so bright right before they lose their color–is especially poignant because it paints a highly articulate picture of what loving him is like. That is, a splash of greatness followed by a fall or emptiness.

And the chorus is outstanding;

Losing him was blue like I’d never known

Missing him was dark grey all alone

Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you’ve never met

But loving him was red

Loving him was red

How true is her portrayal of what these colors feel like? How aptly conveyed are their emotional colors?  Blue = feeling a loss, feeling down. Dark grey = all alone. Red = intense passion that spouts like lava from a volcano. That’s what her love for this individual was like–fiery, impassioned, red. And it’s brilliant.

The rest of the song continues with these ingenious similes and metaphors, explaining the many facets of her love for this person. Now, as alluded to in my review of “Ronan,” songwriting like this makes you wonder what Taylor could do with non-love-story content. Like, what if she wanted to write about lofty subjects like world peace and war? And the human condition? Well, as for the latter, we know she can write beautifully about that (see “Ronan” and “Eyes Open”).

Think of the evolution of the Beatles. They started out writing about love and ended up writing about metaphysics. I’m betting Taylor’s subjects will, over time, evolve, as well. You may think I’m crazy for comparing the Beatles to Taylor Swift, but I truly believe her songwriting ability is of that high caliber. She can do it. I know she can.

I look forward to October 22, the release date of Red. Are you going to download it or buy it in the store? I’m going to Best Buy on my lunch break to get the album, but I’m tempted to download it to my iPhone. Decisions!

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You Are Never, Ever, Ever Gonna Believe Taylor’s New Single

taylor swiftTaylor Swift is a woman of great feats. She’s sold out football stadiums all over this country and arenas spanning the globe. She’s taken country by storm with her self-titled album and broken through the moody rock barrier with “Eyes Open.” She’s completely transcended industry labels without losing a fan along the way, as artists who are perceived to be “sell outs” often do. And now, with the advent of her latest single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor has mastered the art of the pop song.

Last night, in a webcast (attended by more than 70,000 fans), Taylor revealed the release date (October 22, 2012) and title (Red) of her next album. She also debuted her new single, which has already hit #1 on iTunes.

“We Are Never” starts with clipped acoustic guitar and, as her vocals tune in, a heavy back beat swells. Right off the bat, the song sounds different. It isn’t country. It isn’t rock. It’s a well-crafted pop song. A “Call Me Maybe” with true staying power.

Taylor’s personality shines through the lyrics. She peppers the song with “like, ever” and nearly raps the stanzas, so quick is her locution. By the time the chorus locks in, you’re hooked. And the chorus sings:

We are never ever ever

Getting back together

We are never ever ever

Getting back together

You go talk to your friends

Talk to my friends, talk to me

But we are never ever ever

Getting back together

(Like, ever)

After hearing the chorus the first time, you’re ready to sing along when it comes back for a second and third appearance.

The true Taylor is especially revealed during the second stanza:

I’m really gonna miss you picking fights, and me

Falling for it, screaming that I’m right, and you

Would hide away and find your piece of mind, with some

Indie record that’s much cooler than mine.

At the bridge, she lulls you in with a sweet lullaby-like line and then promptly switches to her speaking voice to say, “So he calls me up and he’s like, I still love you, and, I’m like, I’m just, this is exhausting, you know, we are never getting back together. Like ever.”

The song primes you for hand waving and foot tapping as the lyrics whisk by with intentional middle school-esque hyperbole.

It’s the perfect pop song and I can’t wait to see it climb up the Billboard chart.