Taylor Swift’s Red: the Ultimate Sad Girl Album

Taylor Swift is releasing yet another re-recording with her iconic autumn sadness soundtrack, Red.

Red is arguably one of her most loved albums and is usually ranked very highly among Swifties (myself included). It is home to popular singles like I Knew You Were Trouble, one of the saddest tracks of all time, All Too Well, and the anthem of every twenty-two year-old’s birthday, 22.

Since the Fearless re-recording gave us so much in terms of never-before-released music, it is only safe to assume Red (Taylor’s Version) will give us more new favorites. With 30 tracks to re-live and experience for the first time, this is bound to be a wonderful weekend for Swifties.

What better way to celebrate this release Friday than yet another Dee Does Things Taylor ranking! All 19 songs on the deluxe edition (minus the demos and acoustic version of State of Grace) are ranked here, with my favorite lyrics off of each as we’ve seen with Fearless.

19. Girl At Home. When Red first came out, I did not like this song at all. Over the years, it grew on me, but not enough to outrank anything else. This feels more like a Fearless or Debut track than a Red song, which makes it all the more clear why this was in the deluxe album and not the main one.

Call a cab, lose my number
You’re about to lose your girl
Call a cab, lose my number
Let’s consider this lesson learned

18. Stay Stay Stay. This song and Red should not have been combined. Don’t get me wrong, I love bopping along to this when it comes on shuffle after a long day of work, but this should not have been on Red. It’s too happy and lovey for the (almost) otherwise sad fall album.

“You took the time to memorize me
My fears, my hopes, and dreams
I just like hanging out with you, all the time
All those times that you didn’t leave, it’s been occurring to me
I’d like to hang out with you, for my whole life”

17. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. I remember the day this song came out like it was yesterday. I was in High School and had really high hopes for this album after the masterpiece that was Speak Now (cannot wait to see the vault for this one!). Little did I know, this would be the start of an incredible album.

I’m really gonna miss you picking fights
And me falling for it, screaming that I’m right
And you would hide away and find your peace of mind
With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine

16. 22. Like Stay Stay Stay, this song just doesn’t fit into this album. Yes, it is the ultimate Instagram caption and Snapchat story on every 22-year-old’s birthday (yes, I did this three years ago too), but I tend to forget it’s a Red track. It does not mesh well with the rest of it.

We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way
It’s miserable and magical, oh, yeah
Tonight’s the night when we forget about the heartbreaks
It’s time,

15. I Knew You Were Trouble. This is where things start getting difficult to rank. While I love this song a lot and is still such a bop all these years later (can anyone really resist the temptation to sing along when it’s on in public? just me?), there are just too many incredibly written songs throughout the rest of the album that make this fall at a 15.

He was long gone
When he met me
And I realize
The joke is on me, hey

14. Red. I know. Ranking a title track this low? incredulous. But like I Knew You Were Trouble, there are just so many other tracks that beat this one out. To its credit, I’ve always loved how visual Red is. I could almost see this being an end-credits song for a bittersweet romance film that ends in heartbreak.

Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark gray, all alone
Forgetting him is like trying to know somebody you never met
‘Cause loving him was red

13. Starlight. This is a song with a backstory I absolutely adore. Taylor wrote Starlight after seeing a photo of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy at seventeen years old. She said she thought they looked like they were having the best night of their lives, and wrote this song to go with it. She later played it for Ethel who was said to really enjoy it.

Can’t remember what song he was playing when we walked in
The night we snuck into a yacht club party
Pretending to be a duchess and a prince


And I said, “Oh my, what a marvelous tune”
It was the best night, never would forget how we moved

12. The Lucky One. This is another song about someone else. Looking back at it now after Folklore and Evermore, we really should have seen the character writing coming. Taylor has such a talent for telling stories even if they were not her own. The Lucky One is written about a star who had it all but then was done, and moved away to a life of solitude and nobody knew where she had gone. This song is rumored to be about Kim Wilde, who not only was sampled in this but left her career and became a gardener. The song ends with Taylor understanding why the star took that path and how she thinks she may be becoming the Lucky One herself.

And they tell you that you’re lucky
But you’re so confused,
‘Cause you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used.
And all the young things line up to take your place

Another name goes up in lights
You wonder if you’ll make it out alive
.”

11. Begin Again. When Red first came out, I liked this song but I don’t think I loved it near as much as I do now. Begin again does a great subtle job at reminding us what it is that we truly deserve, that we don’t need to settle for something we are unhappy with, but should look for what, and who, makes us happy.

And you throw your head back laughing
Like a little kid
I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny, ’cause
He never did

10. Come back… Be Here. The only reason Come Back… Be Here got this ranking is because of how much I love dramatically singing it at my solo karaoke parties when I can’t sleep.

This is falling in love in the cruelest way
This is falling for you and you are worlds away
In New York, be here
But you’re in London and I break down
‘Cause it’s not fair that you’re not around

9. Sad Beautiful Tragic. The thing I love most about Sad Beautiful Tragic is the slow, calm production that goes with it, which I believe does justice to what Swift was trying to say with this song. Taylor calls this one a “wistful loss”, a recollection of a relationship that ended so long ago you don’t clearly see the specifics of what went wrong.

We had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad beautiful tragic love affair

8. Everything Has Changed (Ft. Ed Sheeran). I like this song, but I absolutely adore its music video. When it first came out, I remember people not being happy Taylor didn’t star in her own video and used children instead. But honestly? if it wasn’t for the video, I don’t think I would have ranked this as highly as I did.

Cause all I know is we said, “Hello”
And your eyes look like comin’ home
All I know is a simple name
And everything has changed

7. Treacherous. Something treacherous is something that involves betrayal or deception. Treacherous tells the story of a relationship that may not be the best but is addictive nonetheless. If anyone questions Swift’s poetic ability, this is a simple yet profound example of what this true artist can do.

This slope is treacherous
This path is reckless
This slope is treacherous
I, I, I like it

6. The Moment I Knew. If you close your eyes and listen to this closely, you can see the scene unfold right before your eyes: Taylor, at her birthday party, only wanting one person to be there… but he isn’t. And that’s when she knows this relationship is no more. The simplicity of the lyrics with the masterful narrative combine to create a heartbreakingly beautiful song that will be memorable for years to come.

“You called me later
And said, “I’m sorry I didn’t make it”
And I said, “I’m sorry, too”
And that was the moment I knew”

5. I Almost Do. This is a song about the internal conflict that arises from reminiscence. It creates this image and feeling of knowing you want something so much but also understanding that you can’t bear the feeling of losing it again. In her hidden message for this track, Taylor said “Wrote this instead of calling”.

I bet, This time of night you’re still up
I bet, You’re tired from a long hard week
I bet, You’re sittin’ in your chair by the window
Looking out at the city
And I hope
Sometimes you wonder ’bout me

4. The Last Time (Ft. Gary Lightbody). This album does such a great job at storytelling and this track is huge proof of that. Taylor and Gary tell the story of a relationship falling apart, of a guy making a promise to do better and a girl realizing enough is enough. This is, in my modest opinion, one of Taylor’s best duets on any of her albums.

This is the last time you tell me I’ve got it wrong
This is the last time I say it’s been you all along
This is the last time I let you in my door
This is the last time, I won’t hurt you anymore

3. Holy Ground. When this plays, I spin around and I dance. Red had so many good tracks that never made it as singles and never got the real recognition they deserve, and this is definitely one that ranks pretty high on that list.

Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress
We had this big wide city all to ourselves

2. All Too Well. Oh, All Too Well. A 5:28 song that was originally supposed to be 10 minutes (more on that here). A song that truly encapsulates heartbreak in beautiful poetry. When this was first released, Taylor did not think this was going to become the epic power ballad that it is. But over the years, people have fallen in love with this story over and over again. So much so that now, almost ten years later, Taylor will finally release the long-awaited 10-minute version on Friday with Red (Taylor’s Version).

And maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much

But maybe this thing was a masterpiece ’til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there
I remember it all too well

And you call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here
‘Cause I remember it all, all, all
Too well

1. State of Grace. This is, without a doubt in my mind, one of Taylor’s best album openers of all time. It just might be one of the best songs of hers ever too. There is not a day when this plays that I don’t start singing like my life depends on it. The writing and production on this are so spot on that it still amazes me it was never a single for this album. I cannot wait to hear this opener’s drumbeat when I press play for Taylor’s Version on Friday.

“So you were never a saint
And I’ve loved in shades of wrong
We learn to live with the pain
Mosaic broken hearts
But this love is brave and wild

And I never saw you coming
And I’ll never be the same”

Red (Taylor’s Version) and All Too Well (the Short Film) are out Friday, November 12th.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s