Red represents Swift’s transition from country to pop and an album Swift has described as her “only true break-up album”. It opens with booming drums and chiming guitars on ‘State of Grace’ and doesn’t look back. While tracks like ’22’, the brilliantly cutting breakup anthem ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ and ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ are pure pop, the country twang of guitars are not too far away. ‘Holy Ground’, ‘Sad Beautiful Tragic’ and the gorgeous ballad ‘Begin Again’ have strong country roots and are all the better for it. Track five belongs to the fan-favourite ‘All Too Well’ – a guitar and piano driven masterpiece of a power ballad.
You call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest”‘All Too Well’
We even see a ‘Cardigan’ parallel in the lines: “But you keep my old scarf from that very first week / ’Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me”. Red is full of emotion and honesty served up through sumptuous country melodies and catchy pop hooks. The sound maybe more expansive but this is an album about goodbyes and the intimate observations are so heartfelt the listener cannot help but be swept into the stories.