Red (Taylor Swift album)

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Red
Studio album by Taylor Swift
Released October 22, 2012 (2012-10-22)
Recorded 2010–12
Genre
Length 65:10
Label Big Machine
Producer
Taylor Swift chronology
Speak Now World Tour – Live
(2011)
Red
(2012)
1989
(2014)
Singles from Red
  1. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
    Released: August 13, 2012 (2012-08-13)
  2. "Begin Again"
    Released: October 1, 2012 (2012-10-01)
  3. "I Knew You Were Trouble"
    Released: November 27, 2012 (2012-11-27)
  4. "22"
    Released: March 12, 2013 (2013-03-12)
  5. "Red"
    Released: June 24, 2013 (2013-06-24)
  6. "Everything Has Changed"
    Released: July 16, 2013 (2013-07-16)
  7. "The Last Time"
    Released: November 4, 2013 (2013-11-04)

Red is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on October 22, 2012, by Big Machine Records, as the follow-up to her third studio album, Speak Now (2010). It was announced through Swift's live webchat on August 13, 2012, in which she also revealed the album title and cover. Four promotional singles were released in the month leading up to the album release, three of which debuted inside the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100. The album features collaborations with producers and guest artists such as Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran and sees Swift experimenting with new musical genres. Swift completed The Red Tour in support of the album on June 12, 2014.

Red received generally positive reviews, with music critics praising Swift's versatility as a musician and her experiments with new music genres, straying from her usual country sounds. Swift has received awards and nominations for Red. At the 56th Grammy Awards, Red was nominated for Best Country Album and Album of the Year, marking Swift's second nomination for Album of the Year at the Grammys, following her 2010 victory with Fearless (2008).

The album sold 1.21 million copies in its first week in the US, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, the second-highest debut for a female artist, behind Oops!... I Did It Again (2000) by Britney Spears. It has also spent 16 non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart as of mid-March 2013. Red became Swift's first chart-topper in the UK, and also topped the album charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. The album sold 1.89 million copies in its first three weeks, surpassing One Direction's Up All Night as the second biggest-selling album of 2012 in the US. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Red had sold 4.2 million copies in the US and 6 million copies worldwide as of August 2014.

Background and release[edit]

Swift during Red's release week on Good Morning America in October 2012.

On August 13, 2012, Swift gave a live webchat to over 72,500 viewers, in which she answered fan questions,[2] previewed the lead single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", and announced her fourth album's title as Red, as well as its release date.[2][3] Swift also revealed the meaning behind her album's title:

"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."[2]

During the live webchat, she also revealed that she wrote more than 30 songs for the album, of which she included 16 for the album and expressed that dysfunctional relationships can provide a lot of inspiration.[3] Contrary to her previous self-written album Speak Now (2010), Swift enlisted the help of several of her favorite songwriters.[4] In an interview with MTV News, the singer revealed that the album "is interesting because each song stands on its own. It's this patchwork quilt of different sounds and different emotions, and I don't think anything on the record sounds like We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together".[5] She also previewed songs from the album on Good Morning America every Monday, beginning on September 24 until October 15.[6] Swift performed on October 22 for the album's release, and the next day, she performed a live concert on the same show.[6] According to the singer she had spent over two years with the recording process, writing and preparation for the album.[7] Sarah Barlow shot the album's cover, which shows Swift's face, particularly her red lipstick.[8] The standard and deluxe versions of the album were released on October 22, 2012 in Italy, New Zealand, the United States, among others.[9][10][11] A karaoke version of the album was also released on February 5, 2013 on the iTunes Store, which includes the instrumental version from all tracks of its standard version.[12]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 77/100[13]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[14]
The A.V. Club B+[15]
Billboard 86/100[1]
Entertainment Weekly B+[16]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[17]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[18]
Robert Christgau A−[19]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[20]
Spin 8/10[21]
Sputnikmusic 2/5[22]

4/5[23]

Red has received generally positive reviews from music critics. On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews and ratings from mainstream critics, the album received a metascore of 77, based on 23 reviews.[13] Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a (B+) and wrote that Red finds her singing about walking directly into traffic wading into quicksand and flirting with the kinds of jerks Kanye West might toast to" and closed the review saying that the album might be about flirting with danger."[16] The Guardian was also very positive on the album, gave it four-stars-out-of-five and wrote: "Red was allegedly inspired by her experience of love and its fast-paced, crazy adventures, how she's had time to open her door to such a parade of lovers good and bad, God only knows."[17] Jon Dolan from Rolling Stone found some influences on the album such as Joni Mitchell and U2, rated it three-and-half-stars out of five and said: "her self-discovery project is one of the best stories in pop. When she's really on, her songs are like tattoos."[20] Billboard gave a very positive review to the album, called it "her most interesting full-length to date" and said that "Red puts Swift the artist front and center with big, beefy hooks that transcend her country roots for a genre-spanning record that reaches heights unseen since Shania Twain's Up!."[24]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic stated that "Although she can still seem a little gangly in her lyrical details -- her relationship songs are too on the nose and she has an odd obsession about her perceived persecution by the cool kids -- these details hardly undermine the pristine pop confections surrounding them. If anything, these ungainly, awkward phrasings humanizes this mammoth pop monolith: she's constructed something so precise its success seems preordained, but underneath it all, Taylor is still twitchy, which makes Red not just catchy but compelling."[14] Robert Christgau praised the album by saying that he likes the feisty ones, and complimented that "Begin Again" and "Stay Stay Stay" stay happy and hit as hard.[19] Michael Gallucci of The A.V. Club said "Lyrically, it's the same path Swift has walked since her 2006 debut, just deeper and a little darker. But musically, it's bigger and bolder than anything she's ever done in the pop world." however saying "It's magnificent at times, but it's also complicated and sometimes unfocused". He dismissed the duets as boring, however, praising "State of Grace" and "All Too Well" as "occasionally fascinating work".[15]

Spin positively said "Whatever it is, this music is full of adult pleasures, even if the most explicit image Swift offers is of an ex-boyfriend sniffing her scarf because it smells like her. On Red — the color of blood and lipstick and fire and Southern dirt and hearts and conservatism and tractors and communism and sin, this last a word whose charged valence here might discomfit know-it-alls who would never use it without scare quotes — Swift's too smart and tuneful to condescend to her contradictions. Or to yours."[21] The Los Angeles Times praised the album by saying the "versatility is the album's most striking characteristic" and "By setting rural music alongside more 'urban' sounds of the moment, Swift is arguably just responding to a pop world in which country singles might please her base, but certainly doesn't expand it. But that's the cynic's view, and Swift on Red has little time for cynicism. Rather, she's striving for something much more grand and accomplished."[18] Slant Magazine was critical, but said "While songs like "All Too Well" and "Treacherous" prove how adept Swift is at expressing genuine insights into complex relationship dynamics, there are also a handful of songs that lack her usual spark. Still, if Red is ultimately too uneven to be a truly great pop album, its highlights are career-best work for Swift, who now sounds like the pop star she was destined to be all along."[25]

Accolades[edit]

It received a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year.

Red was included on many year-end best-of lists. The album appeared at the runner-up spot on Associated Press[26] and Idolator,[27] with the latter saying that "Red showcased [Swift] abilities marvelously, in finely hewn details, the most varied production styles of her career and storytelling that remains as emotionally ass-whooping as any artist with her reach." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times also ranked Red number two on his top ten albums list, stating that "[Swift] goes Day-Glo on the most unexpected moments of this album, her fourth and the first that stops pretending she's anything but a pop megastar."[28] MTV ranked Red number three, stating that "Swift takes tremendous strides towards becoming a genuine artist, the kind equally adept at penning heartbreakers."[29] The album appeared at number five on Billboard's top ten best albums of 2012, saying that "Red will likely be remembered for its sonic risks, with the pop of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and the dubstep wobbles of "I Knew You Were Trouble" pushing the country star out of her comfort zone."[30] The Daily Beast writer Marlow Stern ranked the album at number seven, calling it "an uneven LP that nonetheless contains a diverse array of infectious tunes."[31] while Glenn Gamboa of Newsday ranked the album number six, stating that Taylor "comes out as a full-fledged pop superstar."[32] Red also ranked at number ten on both The Salt Lake Tribune and HitFix.[33][34] Rolling Stone ranked the album thirty-first on their album list.[35]

Songs from the album have received Grammy Award nominations. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" was nominated for Record of the Year at the 55th Grammy Awards, but lost to "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye and Kimbra. "Begin Again" received a Best Country Song nomination at the 56th Grammy Awards. Red also received nominations for Album of the Year and Best Country Album at the 56th Grammy Awards.[36]

Commercial performance[edit]

North America[edit]

With Red spending its sixth week atop Billboard 200, Swift became the first artist since The Beatles 43 years earlier to log six weeks atop Billboard 200 with three consecutive studio albums.
A black and white close up picture of a woman singing
Swift spent a total of 24 weeks atop the Billboard 200 throughout her career, tying her with Adele as the woman with the most weeks at No. 1 since Nielsen SoundScan began tabulating the Billboard 200 in May 1991.

Red was a huge commercial success. In the United States, Red became the fastest-selling album in over a decade after selling 1.21 million copies in its first week, and earned Swift her third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.[37][38] Red has the second highest first week sum by a female artist, only behind Britney Spears' Oops!... I Did It Again (2000), which opened with 1.3 million units.[39] Red had the biggest sales week in 2012[40] and outsold the top 52 albums in the Billboard 200 on its first week. It has also the biggest one week sales for a country album beating Garth Brooks' Double Live which sold 1.085 million copies in 1998. Red sold 465,000 digital copies in its first week in the US, which is the second biggest after Lady Gaga's Born This Way (2011).[39] It sold around 1.459 million copies worldwide in its first week of sales.[41] In its second week on the Billboard 200, the album remained at No. 1 and sold 344,000 copies (down 72%).[42] Next week Red held atop the Billboard 200 and sold a further 196,000 copies (down 43%) which brought its sales to 1.749 million, thus ranking the third biggest selling album of 2012 behind Adele's 21 and One Direction's Up All Night.[43] The album was dethroned by One Direction's Take Me Home on its fourth week.[44][45] In its seventh week, Red climbed back to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 selling 167,000 and with that, Swift is now tied with Jay-Z and Whitney Houston for fourth most-weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking in 1991.[46]

Swift held the Billboard 200 top spot the next two weeks,[47][48] thus making Swift as the first artist since The Beatles in 1969 to log six or more weeks at No. 1 with three consecutive studio albums, following Fearless (eleven weeks) and Speak Now (six weeks). Also, this is the third time that Swift has had the No.&nbps;1 album in the last week before Christmas, which is traditionally the most competitive week of the year. She also achieved the feat with Fearless in 2008 and Speak Now in 2010.[49] Red spent its seventh non-consecutive week at No. 1 in the sales week ending Dec 30, 2012, selling 241,000 (down 12%). This gave Swift a total of 24 weeks atop the Billboard 200 throughout her career, tying her with Adele as the woman with most weeks at No. 1 since SoundScan began tabulating the Billboard 200 in May 1991.[50] Red finished 2012 as the second biggest album despite being out for only two months, selling 3.11 million. It makes the fourth time she has an album ranked in the year's top three sellers.[51] As of July 2014, the album has sold 4,045,000 copies in the US.[52]

In Canada, Red ranks Swift's third No. 1 album as well selling 93,000 copies on its debut week and has easily crossed the Platinum certification in the country. With that sales, Red became the biggest one week sales in Canada since Michael Bublé's Christmas moved 107,000 copies last Christmas season of 2011 and the biggest first week sales since 2008.[37] To date, Red has been certified triple platinum by Music Canada with shipments exceeding 240,000 copies.[citation needed]

Europe and Oceania[edit]

Red was also commercially successful outside the United States. In the United Kingdom, Swift garnered her first No. 1 album with Red with sales of 61,000 copies on its opening week.[53] In Australia, the album debuted at No. 1 and spent a total of three consecutive weeks at the top, becoming Swift's longest running No. 1 album in Australia; Red has already been certified double platinum by the ARIA with shipments of 140,000 copies.[54] In New Zealand, the album also became Swift's third No. 1 album, and has been certified platinum by the RIANZ.[55] Worldwide, Swift set a new worldwide iTunes Store record for highest ever first-week album sales with 566,000 copies sold digitally around the globe.[56] Later, this record was beat by Justin Timberlake's album The 20/20 Experience (580,000 copies during its first week).[57] The album has sold over six million copies worldwide.[58]

Promotion[edit]

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" was released on August 13 and has since became Swift's first No. 1 single on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song's jump from its debut position No. 72 to No. 1 was the result of a massive digital demand on the song. With 623,000 downloads, the song placed second among all-time best week sales singles, behind Flo Rida's 2009 hit "Right Round." It stayed at No. 1 for three non-consecutive weeks, being displaced twice at the top, first by "Flo Rida's "Whistle" and second by Maroon 5's "One More Night". The song stayed at the top ten for thirteen weeks and charted for a total of twenty-four weeks. In UK, it peaked at No. 4, giving her her first top ten hit since "Love Story" (2008) and the song became her first No. 1 song in New Zealand. As of December 2012, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" has sold more than three million downloads in the US.

"Begin Again" was released to the iTunes Store on September 25, 2012 as part of a countdown to the album release. A few hours after its early release to iTunes, it shot to No. 1, thereby becoming the first single to dethrone Psy's "Gangnam Style" in a week. The song sold 299,000 digital copies in its first week of release and debuted at No. 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart dated October 4, 2012.[59] It was later announced that the track, would be serviced to country radio on October 1, 2012 as the second single from the album.[60][61] The song became her seventeenth consecutive top ten hit in US Billboard Hot Country Songs, but also tied with "Fearless" as her lowest-charting single on the said chart although it reached No. 3 on Billboard Country Airplay.

"I Knew You Were Trouble" was released as the second international single from Red on November 14, 2012 in UK. In the US, it was released on November 27, 2012 as the third single.[62][63] The song debuted at No. 3 on Billboard Hot 100 with 416,000 copies sold in its first week, Swift's second largest first week singles sales. It became Swift's fourteenth top ten hit and her eleventh song to debut inside the top ten. With sales of 416,000 from "I Knew You Were Trouble", Swift became the first artist in digital history to have two songs that debuted with sales of 400,000 or more copies. In its eleventh week, it sold a massive sum of 582,000 in the US, making it the fourth biggest digital sales week of all time. It caused the song to re-peak at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. "I Knew You Were Trouble" became a commercial success, selling over three million copies in the US and reaching No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 Airplay and Billboard Pop Songs, and also reached the top ten in ten countries.[64]

"22" was released as the fourth single from Red. It was sent to Australian radio on February 4, 2013. It was released in the United States on March 12, 2013. The music video was released on YouTube on March 13, 2013. The song was released in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2013.[65][66][67] It peaked at No.&nbps;20 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first single from Red to miss the top ten. As of May 2013, the song has sold 1,000,000 copies in the United States.[citation needed]

"Red", the album's title track, was released to Country radio on June 24, 2013 as the third Country single.[68] The song debuted at No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at No. 2 on the Hot Digital Songs chart selling 312,000 in its first week.[citation needed] It also debuted at No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart, behind Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together". As of May 2013, the song has sold 1,000,000 copies in the United States.[citation needed]

"Everything Has Changed", which features British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, was released as the fourth international single as well as the fourth U.S. Pop/Mainstream single on July 16, 2013.[69]

"The Last Time", featuring Snow Patrol lead vocalist Gary Lightbody, was later confirmed as the fifth and final international single and seventh and final from Red. A UK release was announced as of October 13, 2013,[70] and it subsequently impacted UK contemporary hit radio on November 4, 2013.[71] The release of the single coincides with the announcement of the dates for the European leg of her international Red Tour.[72]

Promotional singles[edit]

During the four weeks preceding the release of Red, one track was released each week digitally on the iTunes Store after a preview of it had been heard on Good Morning America.[73] The first of the four promotional singles is "Begin Again", which was released digitally on iTunes on September 25, 2012.[74] "Red" is the second promotional single off the album,[75] and became available for download on October 2, 2012. "Red" debuted at No. 6 on the Hot 100 with sales of 312,000.[76] "I Knew You Were Trouble" is the third promotional single off the album, and became available for download on October 9, 2012.[77] The fourth and final promotional single is "State of Grace", which became available for download on October 16, 2012.[78] Each of them reached No. 1 on iTunes and the top 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, with "I Knew You Were Trouble" having the highest peak at No. 2 as Swift's 14th top 10 song. With sales of 416,000 from "I Knew You Were Trouble", Swift became the first artist in digital history to have two songs that debuted with sales of 400,000 or more copies.[79]

Track listing[edit]

Red — Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "State of Grace"   Taylor Swift 4:55
2. "Red"   Swift
3:43
3. "Treacherous"  
Wilson 4:02
4. "I Knew You Were Trouble"  
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:39
5. "All Too Well"  
  • Chapman
  • Swift
5:29
6. "22"  
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:52
7. "I Almost Do"   Swift
  • Chapman
  • Swift
4:04
8. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"  
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:13
9. "Stay Stay Stay"   Swift
  • Chapman
  • Swift
3:25
10. "The Last Time" (featuring Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol)
Lee 4:59
11. "Holy Ground"   Swift Jeff Bhasker 3:22
12. "Sad Beautiful Tragic"   Swift
  • Chapman
  • Swift
4:44
13. "The Lucky One"   Swift Bhasker 4:00
14. "Everything Has Changed" (featuring Ed Sheeran)
  • Swift
  • Sheeran
Butch Walker 4:05
15. "Starlight"   Swift
  • Huff
  • Chapman
  • Swift
3:40
16. "Begin Again"   Swift
  • Huff
  • Chapman
  • Swift
3:57
Total length:
65:11

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from AllMusic:[8]

Technical and production

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Argentina (CAPIF)[116] Platinium 90,000x
Australia (ARIA)[117] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Brazil (ABPD)[118] 3x Platinum 120,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[119] 4× Platinum 320,000^
China[120] 4× Platinum 120,000
Colombia[121] Gold 10,000
Ireland (IRMA)[122] Platinum 15,000x
Japan (RIAJ)[123] 3x Platinum Expression error: Missing operand for *.^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[124] Gold 30,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[125] 2× Platinum 30,000^
Philippines[126] 2× Platinum 30,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[127] Gold 10,000*
Sweden (GLF)[128] Gold 20,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[129] 2x Platinum Expression error: Missing operand for *.^
United States (RIAA)[130] 5× Platinum 5,154,000[131]
Venezuela[132] Gold 5,000

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Edition(s) Label
Canada[133][134] October 22, 2012 Standard, deluxe Universal Music
India[135] Standard
New Zealand[10] Standard, deluxe
United Kingdom[136][137] Mercury Records
United States[11][138] Big Machine Records
Italy[9][139] October 23, 2012 Universal Music
Australia[140]
Spain[141][142]
Japan[143][144] October 24, 2012
Netherlands[145][146] October 25, 2012
Germany[147][148] October 26, 2012
Thailand[149][150] October 27, 2012 Deluxe
October 31, 2012 Standard
France[151][152] November 5, 2012 Standard, deluxe Mercury Records
Philippines[153] MCA Music Inc.
Indonesia[154][155] Standard Universal Music
February 28, 2013 Deluxe
China[156][157] December 31, 2012 Standard Guangdong StarSing
May 25, 2013 Deluxe

References[edit]

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    • Type «Taylor Swift» in the search bar.
    • Click on 'Red' and then press 'Visa'.
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