by ALISON LEVIER Section Editor
Taylor Swift, 22, released her newest album, titled “Red,” on October 22. “Red,” named after one of the songs on the album, is one of several steps in a different direction for the country star, who usually sticks to her country roots and mixes in limited pop. Most of “Red” is actually considered pop, with only select few songs that have small tidbits of country mixed in. This is probably due to the fact that Swift co-wrote seven out of the sixteen songs on the album with other artists, such as Max Martin, Liz Rose, Dan Wilson, Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody. Nathan Chapman was the album’s head producer, but individual songs were produced by Jeff Bhasker, Butch Walker, Jacknife Lee, Dann Huff and Shellback. “Red” was released with five promotional singles: “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” while “Begin Again,” “Red,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “State of Grace.” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” co-written by Martin and Shellback, has sold 2.4 million downloads, been performed at the MTV Video Music Awards, and broken at least seven records in sales and Billboards Top 100 rankings. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” seems to be one of the biggest steps toward mainstream that Swift has taken, totally forgetting that she is a country star, not a pop singer. The song is catchy, upbeat, and not a single acoustic guitar is to be heard in any of the three minutes and eleven seconds it runs. “‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ is like my favorite song ever. I know all the words and I listen to it at least once a day,” says sophomore Anne Ballman. “Begin Again,” the second song released, is right back to country. Just upon hearing it, it is obvious that it is not one of her collaborations. The song sounds just like all her other songs – a slow, sad break-up song that is not exactly country but is not exactly pop. “Begin Again,” “I Almost Do,” and “Treacherous” are probably the weakest songs on the album, sounding exactly like every other song she has written in the past eight years. “I was so annoyed when I heard that some of her songs are still country. I feel like they don’t belong on an album that’s all pop,” says sophomore Kirsten Pasewaldt. Although they are not the best songs on the album, they are obviously there to let listeners know that the old Swift is still there under all that bubblegum pop that has been going on lately. The next single was “Red,” a perfect example of pop mixed with country done right. The two genres balanced perfectly in this song, and it is a very catchy song that will probably have listeners singing along after playing it only a few times. The final single is “State of Grace,” which is a very different song for Swift. It has more of a rock vibe, and although it is so different, it is perfect for the album. It shows how much Swift pushed herself to explore different genres of music with this album. Other stand-out songs are “Stay Stay Stay,” which sports an up-beat, happy tempo with happy lyrics to match, and “The Lucky One,” a song about the rise to fame and all the deceit that comes with it. Overall, this album is actually a really fun, really different step for Swift. “Red” will broaden Swift’s fan-base with its mostly pop and very limited country style.