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Home » Re-Recordings » RED (Taylor’s Version)

RED (Taylor's Version)

November 12, 2021

This article is about the 2021 re-recording. For the original album, see RED (2012).
RED (Taylor’s Version) is Taylor’s second re-recorded album, scheduled for release on November 12, 2021, through Republic Records. It is a re-recording of her fourth studio album, RED (2012), and follows her first re-recorded album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which was released in April 2021. The re-recording is Taylor’s counter measure against the changed ownership of the masters to her first six studio albums.
Taylor’s fourth studio album, RED, was released on October 22, 2012, by Big Machine Records. It witnessed Taylor expand beyond her country roots and explore mainstream pop, incorporating a variety of genres. The effort was met with generally positive reviews, widespread commercial success, and garnered Taylor’s first No. 1 song on the US Billboard Hot 100, the album’s lead single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Other successful singles followed in 2012 and 2013, such as “I Knew You Were Trouble.“, “22” and “Everything Has Changed“. RED became Taylor’s first No. 1 album in the UK, and her album with the most UK top-10 singles so far. Over the years, the album collected critical praise for showcasing her artistry and versatility. It became one of the most acclaimed albums of the 2010s decade, appearing on many decade-end best-music lists. Rolling Stone even placed it at No. 99 on its list of the 500 “Greatest Albums of All Time.” As of June 2021, RED moved over 7.5 million album-equivalent units in the US alone. Taylor herself regards RED as her only true breakup album. In the liner notes for the re-recording, she wrote:

«I’ve always said that the world is a different place for the heartbroken. It moves on a different axis, at a different speed. Time skips backwards and forwards fleetingly. The heartbroken might go through thousands of micro-emotions a day trying to figure out how to get through it without picking up the phone to hear that old familiar voice. In the land of heartbreak, moments of strength, independence, and devil-may-care rebellion are intricately woven together with grief, paralyzing vulnerability and hopelessness. Imagining your future might always take you on a detour back to the past. And this is all to say, that the next album I’ll be releasing is my version of RED

Taylor Swift
Table of Contents

Background

As per her contract with Big Machine, Taylor released six studio albums under the label from 2006 to 2017. In late 2018, the contract with the label expired; she hence withdrew from Big Machine and signed a new recording deal with Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, which secured her the rights to own the masters of the new music she will release. In 2019, American businessman Scooter Braun and his company Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine. As part of the acquisition, ownership of the masters to Taylor’s first six studio albums, including RED, transferred to Braun. In August 2019, Taylor denounced Braun’s purchase of the label, and announced that she would re-record her first six studio albums, so as to own their masters herself. In November 2020, Braun sold the masters to Shamrock Holdings, an American private equity firm owned by the Disney estate, under the conditions that Braun and Ithaca Holdings will continue to financially profit from the albums. Taylor began re-recording the albums in November 2020.

Release and Promotion

On June 18, 2021, Taylor revealed that RED (Taylor’s Version), the re-recorded issue of RED would be released on November 19, 2021. The album contains all 30 songs that were meant to be on the 2012 version. She also teased the original 10-minute-long version of “All Too Well” as part of the track listing. Looking back on RED, she wrote:

«Musically and lyrically, RED resembled a heartbroken person. It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past. Like trying on pieces of a new life, I went into the studio and experimented with different sounds and collaborators. And I’m not sure if it was pouring my thoughts into this album, hearing thousands of your voices sing the lyrics back to me in passionate solidarity, or if it was simply time, but something was healed along the way. Sometimes you need to talk it over (over and over and over) for it to ever really be...over. Like your friend who calls you in the middle of the night going on and on about their ex, I just couldn’t stop writing. This will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on RED. And hey, one of them is even ten minutes long.»

Taylor Swift
Alongside the announcement, pre-orders for the digital album were made available. While appearing on The Official Big Top 40 on June 27, 2021, Ed Sheeran confirmed his involvement with RED (Taylor’s Version), saying he had already re-recorded “Everything Has Changed”. Taylor’s 2012 charity single, “Ronan“, was confirmed as a track on the album by her co-writer on the song, Maya Thompson. On August 5, 2021, Taylor finally posted a cryptic video across her social media, teasing a word puzzle. Clues found by online fans spelled out “Chris Stapleton”, “Phoebe Bridgers”, “Babe“, “Better Man“, and “All Too Well Ten Minute Version”. Concurrently, pre-orders for the physical album CDs went up on Taylor’s webstore. Before releasing any song from RED (Taylor’s Version), Taylor released “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)“, on September 17, 2021, a track set to appear on 1989 (Taylor’s Version), the re-recording of her 2014 studio album, 1989. She explained she saw “Wildest Dreams” trending on TikTok and thought fans should have her version.

On September 30, 2021, Taylor announced the album would be released on November 12, 2021, a week earlier than scheduled.

Artwork

The cover artwork of RED (Taylor’s Version) depicts Taylor wearing a beige peacoat and a burgundy-colored “Matti” velvet fisherman’s cap, seated in a vintage 1932 Chevrolet Cabriolet convertible, with an autumnal background. Janessa Leoné designed the hat, which sold out on Leoné’s website.

Track Listing

RED (Taylor’s Version) features 30 songs, consisting of all the tracks from RED (Deluxe Edition) [2012]. The album also includes ten bonus songs, which are tracks that didn’t make it onto the original album at the time. Taylor explained how reworking the album gave her a unique opportunity for fans to experience these unheard tracks:

«I know some of you thought that would be like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer BUT…you played it good & right. Congrats pals, you guessed the correct titles and feature artists on RED (my version). The vault tracks will feature Chris Stapleton, Phoebe Bridgers, Mark Foster and the first song Ed Sheeran and I ever wrote together the first time we met in 2012! I can’t express my gratitude enough to these artists for helping me bring these songs to life. I can’t wait til we can dust off our highest hopes and relive these memories together. We’ll also be making a bunch of new ones too, since RED (Taylor’s Version) includes so many songs you haven’t heard yet. Til then, I’ll be counting down and picturing it all in my head. In burning red.»

Taylor Swift
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