Red by Taylor Swift (CD)

Swift, T. (2012). Red. [CD]. Nashville, TN: Big Machine Records.

Genre: Indie Rock, Pop, Rock

Reading level/ interest age: 16+

Plot summary:

Released in October of 2012, Red is Taylor Swift’s fourth album. She described the album during a live conference a few months before the album hit the shelves: 

All the different emotions that are written about on this album are all pretty much about the kind of tumultuous, crazy, insane, intense, semi-toxic relationships that I’ve experienced in the last two years. All those emotions — spanning from intense love, intense frustration, jealousy, confusion, all of that — in my mind, all those emotions are red. You know, there’s nothing in between. There’s nothing beige about any of those feelings (Smith, 2012). 

Red contains sixteen songs in total that are a collaborative work with several other artists. Listeners will probably recognize the album from the song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” which became her first number one single to hit US Billboard Hot 100. The song was released before the album came out on iTunes and customers downloaded it 623,000 times in its first week (Wikipedia, 2014).

Reader’s annotation:

Taylor Swift is back to bashing her exes in another amazing album.

Information about the author:

“Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989, in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Swift spent her early years on her family's Christmas tree farm. Her grandmother had been a professional opera singer, and Swift soon followed in her footsteps. By the age of 10, Swift was singing at a variety of local events, including fairs and contests. She sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at a Philadelphia 76ers game at the age of 11, and began writing her own songs and learning guitar at 12 years old.

"To pursue her music career, Swift often visited Nashville, Tennessee, the country music capital. There she co-wrote songs, and tried to land a recording contract. Noting her dedication, Swift and her family moved to nearby Hendersonville, Tennessee, in an attempt to further Swift's career” (, 2014). The rest is history.

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:

1.       What is your favorite song from the album and why?
2.       What do you admire about Taylor Swift?

Critical evaluation:

Taylor Swift does another fantastic job in this album. Her songs resonate with the younger generation because lyrics generally speak of heartbreaks and life experiences. Teens can easily relate to the songs and the tunes are quite catchy. Red is a good album to promote because the lyrics are free of curse words and other trashy language. Taylor Swift also serves as a good role model for her mostly positive portrayal by the media (despite her failed romances). Red is a great example of Taylor’s later works as the genre deviates even further from her original debut in country. This album demonstrates how far Swift has come and contains many Indie Rock songs. Red is a springboard for Taylor’s transition into her newest album, 1989 which is rumored to be entirely in the pop genre. Red may well be the last of Taylor’s Indie phase. Fans should snap this album up and hold it close as Taylor prepares to slingshot into another genre.

Challenge issues: N/A

Why included:

Taylor Swift is a widely popular artist with works that span several genres. Listeners may hear this album and be interested in her earlier country works. This could help expose or transition a listener to a different genre that may never have liked before.

Reference: (2014). Taylor Swift Biography. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from
Smith, G. (2012). Taylor Swift reveals single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” 
announces new album “Red.” Retrieved September 11, 2014 from
Wikipedia. (2014). Red (Taylor Swift album). Retrieved September 11, 2014 from

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