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Hebron High School News Online

The Hawk Eye

Eras (Saahir’s Version): Red

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Saahir Mawani
Eras. (Saahir’s Version) is the series where I go through all of Taylor Swift’s re-released albums chronologically, analyze the era and rank the songs. Next up is “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, Swift’s three-hour long re-recorded album.

Welcome to Eras (Saahir’s Version), the series where I go through all of Taylor Swift’s re-released albums chronologically, analyze the era and rank the songs. This installment will cover “Red (Taylor’s Version).”

 

Album Synopsis

Originally released on Oct. 22, 2012, “Red” was originally written in some of Swift’s formative years, from the ages of 20 to 22. At the time, Swift was rumored to date Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor Kennedy. Swift described this album as a statement solidifying her “thirst for songwriting.” 

“Red” is a portrayal of Swift’s journey to being fully grown-up — one foot in the door of being a child, and the other in the real world. 

 

Vault Track Review

“Ronan,” the first vault track on the updated album, is a heart wrenching story that occurred in real life. Written in collaboration with Maya Thompson, Swift describes the relationship between Thompson and her late son, Ronan, who passed away from neuroblastoma – a cancer found only in one of 700 children. This song is heartbreaking, forcing me to skip the song every time it comes on so I don’t cry. 

“Better Man” is a song that reflects on a past relationship that Swift wished never ended. The chorus says “sometimes in the middle of the night, I can feel you again, but I just miss you, and I wish you were a better man.” She writes about the trials and tribulations that her relationship endured, saying her ex talked “down to [her] like [she’ll] always be around,” explaining how she was never treated as a priority. While this isn’t my favorite song, I will always appreciate the true meaning and lyrics of this track. 

The first collaboration in the “Red” vault, “Nothing New,” features Phoebe Bridgers of the band boygenius. This song describes how it feels to grow up as a woman in society. Bridgers asks in her verse, “are we only biding time, ‘til I lose your attention?” This line is one of the most impactful, summarizing the entire song with only ten words. Swift sings in fear, “I know someday I’m gonna meet her, it’s a fever dream,” which describes how Swift will meet the person to replace her in the limelight. 

A song originally released by the band Sugarland, “Babe” was written by Swift during the Red era. This song starts by asking “what about your promises?” Swift sings that they “ain’t getting through this one” and will end their relationship. I love this song, and prefer to listen to it in the car with the windows down, screaming at the top of my lungs. 

I’ve found a “Message In a Bottle” with the next song. “Message in a Bottle” is a song describing Swift being afraid to admit that she has feelings for someone. She says “a message in a bottle is all [she] can do, hoping it gets to [her crush].” Teenagers view this song as extremely relatable, as it describes how innocent teenage crushes are. I love this song, and usually listen to it right after “Babe.”

“I Bet You Think About Me,” is a country banger where Swift tells her ex that they made a mistake ending their relationship. She reminisces on how the person she was with didn’t think Swift was sophisticated enough to get along with the people around them. This is expressed when Swift sings “reality crept in, you said we’re too different.” This song was the introduction to Swift’s earlier country albums, something I am very thankful for. 


“Forever Winter” is a story about trying to pull someone out of a darker space in their life. This is characterized by the lyrics “I’ll be [the] summer sun for you forever. Forever winter if you go,” which is a message that might be shadowed by the instrumental. Overall, this song is not my favorite, and I feel like the instrumentals were a little too loud.  

Featuring Britain’s favorite redhead, Ed Sheeran, “Run” is the 3rd to last track on the re-recorded album. This song describes the feeling of taking someone you care about and hiding away from the chaos of the world. My favorite lyric is, “there’s a key on the chain, there’s a picture in a frame. Take it with you, and run.” This song is not one of my favorites, due to the instrumental track behind the vocal. 

“The Very First Night” is the penultimate track on the album, and recalls how Swift wishes she could go back to “the very first night” she spent with her partner. Yet another country-pop banger, I loved hearing this song for the first time on November 12 at 1:00 a.m. My favorite line is “not trying to fall in love, but we did like children running.” This song is in my top five vault tracks. 

Anticipated since the original release of “Red” in 2012, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” is Swift’s longest song to date. An extension of the fifth track on the original album, this song includes all ten minutes of the song Swift wrote, while writing the album on the “Speak Now World Tour.” Swift released this after almost ten years of fans asking. This song is, by far, my favorite song on the album (proven by it being my most streamed song on spotify), and no matter when it comes on, the intro instantly transports me back to fall. My favorite lyric is, “I reached for you, but all I felt was shame, as you held my lifeless frame.” Rumored to be about Gyllenhall, this to be one of Swift’s best songs throughout her discography. 

“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is the ideal album to transition between country and pop, proven by the duality of some of this album’s tracks (“I Bet You Think About Me”) that uphold both the country and pop soundscape. She also continues her trend across albums of having deep ballads that replicate listeners’ feelings (“Nothing New” and “All Too Well.”) “Red” was one of my favorite albums, and I am pleasantly surprised with the revamp of this album.

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About the Contributor
Saahir Mawani, Design Editor
Junior Saahir Mawani is the design editor and this is his second year on staff. In his free time, he loves editing YouTube videos, reading and watching the “Eras Tour” TikToks.

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