In the re-recording of her first true pop album, Red, Taylor Swift explores her relationship with Jake Gyllenhall, comparing the simultaneous high and low points.
When Swift lost the rights to her own music in the summer of 2019, she did not hesitate to slowly regain her balance by re-recording her albums. The uphill battle for artists’ rights began when Ithaca, music industry manager Scooter Braun’s record label, purchased Big Machine Records, the label Swift was working with at the time. Braun had acquired all of her music and sold it later the next year for over $300 million. Despite initial excitement, Swift declined an offer to work with the company that had bought her music after learning Braun and his team would still benefit financially from it.
Thus spawned Swift’s first re-recording, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”. Less than six months later, Swift released “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, which made a lasting impact on both the charts and in Swifties’ hearts.
“Red (Taylor’s Version)” features the original 22 tracks with an additional nine “From the Vault” tracks- including the very well-received “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”. The album has features from well-known names including Phoebe Bridgers and Ed Sheeran.
Before Red, Swift had a strong country reputation with a hint of pop every now and then. When Red was first released, fans were astonished when realizing just how much Swift could rock the pop. After years of being used to banjos and country accents, Red was a breath of fresh, upbeat, and preppy air.
Swift uses the album to share the story of her three-month-long relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal through both melancholy and exciting songs—an allusion to the relationship’s own roller coaster of emotions. Some more upbeat songs like “State of Grace” and “Stay Stay Stay” reflect riveting moments that the star experienced while falling for Gyllenhaal. Others, like “Treacherous” and “Better Man (From the Vault)”, help Swift convey her deep emotions- most yearning- that she put herself through. The album is, at its essence, conflicted, much like Swift has expressed she’d been when dating Gyllenhaal. However, after healing from the short-lived affair, Swift has grown and has no problem sharing her experiences and even advice.