A Swift Pop Transition

Courtesy of Big Machine

Just as she traded in her iconic tresses for the trendy, straight and edgy look, Taylor Swift leaves only remnants of her country sound in her synthesized, pop album “Red.”

“Red” is certainly not what audiences expected from a Grammy-winning artist. The majority of the album feels like a sellout in comparison to her earlier work that had more country twang and sincere, personal sentiments.

That being said, “Red” is extremely catchy and fun with glimpses of a mature Swift. It’s one of those albums that are a guilty pleasure; it gets stuck in your head, and after listening to it over and over again, it grows on you.

“Red” is an appropriate title for this album because it is the color of revenge. It’s a little hard to keep feeling sorry for Swift and her terrible exes she’s always calling out. In fact, it’s starting to seem like a broken record.

In “22” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Swift specifically says she goes out looking for the bad boys. Then in “Stay Stay Stay” she goes on about “Before you, I’d only dated self-indulgent takers, that took all of their problems out on me.” Maybe she is finally admitting to her masochistic ways. Perhaps she chooses the bad boys so she can rat them out later and make millions off her pain. Can’t blame her for being smart and playing the game.

“Treacherous,” “I Almost Do” and “Begin Again” stick to Swift’s roots and original sound. Of the three, “I Almost Do” is lyrically strongest. Rather than focusing on the bad guys, Swift focuses on a new aspect of love — longing for a lost love. This beautiful ballad is a mature reflection about former feelings and reoccurring struggles. Unlike many songs on this album, Swift sticks to her forte of heartfelt and uniquely relatable lyrics, with her guitar being the star.

Two notably EDM-inspired songs are “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” with their dubstep and synthetic beats over Swift’s bubblegum pop vocals. If there were such a thing as Electric Daisy Carnival for pre-teens and tweens, it would probably sound something like Swift doing a concert with her new songs.

To an untrained ear, “22” sounds like a copy-cat of P!nk’s hit “Raise Your Glass” with its chords and drum arrangement. The lyrics are reminiscent of something off of a Ke$ha album mixed with Carly Rae Jepsen. Somehow, Swift’s attempt to have an edgy pop anthem misses the mark.

The collaborations are probably the best songs on the whole album. “The Last Time,” featuring Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, puts Swift’s vocals on the backburner while Lightbody’s voice takes the main stage. The haunting music blends beautifully with Lightbody’s full-bodied, gravely voice and Swift’s lighter ethereal vocals. Combining the lyrics with the vocals, this song is truly a work of art.

“Everything Has Changed” is distinctly an Ed Sheeran piece with its lyrical style and musical arrangement. Swift’s vocals are highlighted on this track with nothing but acoustic guitar and light percussion, but it’s Ed Sheeran’s writing that shines.

Swift fans are always going to support Tay in her endeavors. There are some hits on this album and a few overly produced singles, but overall it’s a good time, girly album.

Rating: 3/5