Taylor Swift Paints Pop-Laden Picture of Love Life on ‘Red’

Taylor Swift Paints Pop-Laden Picture of Love Life on ‘Red’

 by Beville Darden

Big Machine Records

“We’re happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way. It’s miserable and magical,” Taylor Swift sings in “22,” a song on her brand-new album, Red. Those lyrics illuminate the rollercoaster ride that is this 22-year-old superstar’s life, while also reflecting the myriad of emotions conveyed on the 16-song project.
But while the same can be said for Taylor’s three previous studio albums — all of which serve as the musical diary of her love life — Red blurs genre lines more than she’s ever dared before. The album’s catchy first single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” was her first-ever No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and teams the once-labeled ‘country’ star with pop heavyweights Max Martin and Shellback, known for their work with Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne, among a long list of other pop phenomenons. Other tracks stray from the bubblegum into more rock territory, including the anthemic opening track “State of Grace,” the daringly defiant “Treacherous” and whimsical ballad, “The Last Time” featuring Snow Patrol‘s Gary Lightbody.
“For me, genres are a way for people to easily categorize music. But it doesn’t have to define you,” Taylor tells The Boot. “It doesn’t have to limit you. It doesn’t have to make up this kind of imaginary rule book of you can only use these instruments, you can only use this kind of song structure and you can’t go anywhere near loops or big drum sounds. I love the idea of getting to paint with lots of different colors, musically.”
The album’s title, Taylor explains, is her signature color when it comes to love. “Red is such an interesting color to correlate with emotion, because it’s on both ends of the spectrum. On one end you have happiness, falling in love, infatuation with someone, passion, all that. On the other end, you’ve got obsession, jealousy, danger, fear, anger and frustration. It’s an interesting color to correlate with all the really intense parts of a relationship, whether they’re good or bad.”
Real-life relationships are, of course, the project’s top inspiration, making the true star of Red its mystery. Taylor’s fans are obsessed with figuring out which famous ex-boyfriend inspired each song. But the singer stays adamantly tight-lipped … for her listeners’ own good.

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