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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
  • The Farr Side: A new, effective direction for Taylor Swift

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  • Taylor Swift is everywhere. I mean, she’s like a well-oiled publicity machine out of control. Like, totally.
    With the massively anticipated new album, “Red,” we are like never ever getting rid of her — like, ever!
    Finally, a Taylor Swift I can get behind. “Red” is the album I’ve been waiting for, and not because I wanted to hear how she slammed Jake Gyllenhaal, although her latest No. 1 smash, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” could much sum up all her previously failed relationships.
    “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is one of the best pop kiss-offs since, Kelly Clarkson’s “Never Again” or Pink’s “So What.”
    The first time I heard the track, it didn’t make me want to switch the channel, which hasn’t always been the case with Swift’s songs. She pigeonholed herself as the “poor me” girl, having written and sang numerous songs depicting her bad break-ups.
    I was actually waiting for someone like John Mayer to pen a track cleverly posing the notion that “Maybe It’s You,” in reference to Swift and her failed romances.
    “Red” is her fourth studio release and perhaps the one that will silence even her harshest critics, including me. It’s that good.
    The album features 16 well-crafted tracks that showcase just where the 22-year-old singer is in her life. If I’m guessing correctly, it’s at the point where super-stardom takes hold.
    “Red” comprises a multitude of talents, including producers, fellow artists and songwriters like Max Martin, Lori McKenna, Butch Walker, Dan Wilson, Ed Sheeran, and Mark Foster (Foster The People).
    You can hear the difference in her sound as soon as the album begins. She’s evolved into her own — something a little bit country, a little bit pop and a whole lot of rock ‘n’ roll.
    The first track is “State of Grace,” which might have die-hard country fans scratching their heads in disbelief. This is a rock-oriented song from beginning to end. The music conjures comparisons to OneRepublic, Muse or even U2. I gotta give her some mad props here. This song is arena-rock worthy.
    “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Red” and “22” also find her playing with new sounds and styles, but they don’t come off unnatural or fake.
    Swift joins forces with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody for the sweeping ballad, “The Last Time.” This very well could be Swift at her best. Her vocals mesh well with Lightbody’s amid the beautiful piano and strings arrangement.
    Ed Sheeran guests on “Everything Has Changed,” which has an organic folk sound as compared to all the other tracks on “Red.”
    On “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” Swift goes for the heart again, but this time it’s punctured repeatedly. Her vocals are at an all-time high here.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Red” is a stellar piece of work from an artist who has steadily blossomed right before our eyes.
    David T. Farr is a Sturgis, Mich., Journal correspondent. Email him at farrboy@hotmail.com. You can also find The Farr Side on Facebook.

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