Red (Taylor Swift song)
|Single by Taylor Swift|
|from the album Red|
|Released||June 21, 2013|
|Taylor Swift singles chronology|
"Red" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fourth studio album of the same name (2012). It was released on October 2, 2012, in the US by Big Machine Records as the second promotional single from Red in 2012 and serves as the album's fifth single on June 21, 2013. It was part of the tracks released during the four weeks preceding the release of the album. Musically, "Red" is a country song, and its lyrics uses colors and metaphors to describe an intense and tumultuous relationship.
The track received polarizing reviews from music critics, who praised its lyrics, but were ambivalent towards its composition. The song debuted at number six on the US Billboard 100 and at number one on the Hot Digital Songs chart. It also debuted at number two on the Hot Country Songs chart, behind Swift's previous single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together".
Swift previewed the track on the October 1, 2012 episode of ABC's Good Morning America. The song finds Swift playing with the idea of colors in relation to her emotions about a relationship. Before playing the track, Swift explained its meaning: "I wrote this song about the fact that some things are just hard to forget," she said, "because the emotions involved with them were so intense and, to me, intense emotion is red." Swift explained that she decided to name this song as her album title, as its lyrics encompass the entire theme of the project. "Thinking about what that means to me and all the different emotions that are written about on this album – they're all pretty much about the sexy, crazy, insane, intense, semi-toxic relationships that I've experienced in the last two years," I noted. "All those emotions – spanning from intense love, intense frustration, jealousy, confusion – in my mind, all those emotions are red. There's nothing in between; there is nothing beige about any of those feelings."
Swift explained to Billboard. "I think the reason I said that was because I made the record exactly the same way I made the last three. I knew I hadn't jumped out of my comfort zone, which at the time was writing alone and working with Nathan. [Red] the song was a real turning point for Red the album. When I wrote that song my mind started wandering to all the places we could go. If I were to think outside the box enough, go in with different people, I could learn from and have what they do rub off on me as well as have what I do rub off on them."
"Red" is a country song. It is written in the key of C# minor and lasts three minutes and forty-one seconds. It is in common time with an approximate tempo of 125 beats per minute. Swift's vocals range from F♯3 to C♯5.
A music video for the song was released on July 3, 2013, the video features footage from Swift's Red Tour. Crowd cheers in the concert can be heard in the background as well. As of September 2017, the video has over 128 million views on YouTube.
Marc Hogan of Spin felt the mixed influences didn’t work in Swift’s favor: “A glossy soft rocker with a stomping four-on-the-floor beat, back-porch twang, adult-contemporary orchestration, and Top 40-ready electronic vocal effects, it covers a bizarre number of bases. And the key lyric compares her lost love, mourned here as an object of desire but not kissed off as one of the usual jerks, to ‘driving a new Maserati down a dead end street,’ like Swift is about to brawl with Rick Ross.”  Grady Smith of Entertainment Weekly, joked, saying: "Those are the only colors the song — which Swift says is all about 'intense emotion' — brings up, which kind of let me down. (...) I’m being serious — I kept waiting for some other hue to pop up, and it never did.(... And then, said: "Lyrically, (...) [some] lines (...) lack the crisp, powerful punch that Swift usually delivers. And in a song all about the vividness of feelings, they paint a rather blurry portrait. (...) Where is the drama, the sexiness, the freefall of passion? The poppy production white-washes over all that. That doesn’t mean this is a bad song, just maybe an underwhelming one."
Rebecca Macatee of E! Online, found the lyrics to be a rainbow of fruit flavors: ”She...goes through myriad colors to describe her feelings... We’re not sure what color Swift’s heart is, but we’re sure it’s pretty.” Laurence of Music City Post, noted the track’s melodic strength: “With a lot of heart on the sleeve lyricism (...) and a hefty guitar solo, ‘Red’ does nothing by half measures." Rolling Stone responded favorably to the record, noting that the song marries her heartbreak anthems with a radio-friendly sound "with banjos flying, strings swelling and guitars wailing, Swift keeps her lyrics simple but effective[.]" The Pop Fairy gave a negative review: "“Red” is (...) another love song by America’s favorite cougar of the moment. (...) The only unique thing about the song is the thing I can’t stand, the electronic ‘R-R-Red’ that repeats after the chorus.” Finishing with 'A little more effort would be nice.', giving the song a grade 'C'.
One of the more positive reviews came from Billy Dukes of Taste of Country, who gave the track 4.5 out of 5 stars. Said Dukes: "...‘Red’ is arguably the best lyric on the album. It’s a songwriting spotlight for Swift, who toys with colors like a skilled artist, and this song is her Sistine Chapel."
CMA Awards version
"Red (2013 CMA Awards Performance)" is a version of the song and features Alison Krauss, Edgar Meyer, Eric Darken, Sam Bush and Vince Gill. This song was sung during the CMA Awards in 2013 and was released for digital download the next day.
- Digital download
- "Red" — 3:43
- "Red (2013 CMA Awards Performance) (featuring Alison Krauss, Edgar Meyer, Eric Darken, Sam Bush and Vince Gill)" — 3:51
Credits and personnel
- Taylor Swift – lead vocals, background vocals, writer, production
- Steve Marcantonio – recording
- Seth Morton – assistant recording
- David Huff – digital editing
- Justin Niebank – mixing
- Drew Bollman – assisting mixing
- Hank Williams – mastering
- Mike Griffith – production coordinator
- Jason Campbell – production coordinator
- Nathan Chapman – production, acoustic guitar, percussion
- Tom Bukovac – electric guitar
- Dann Huff – production, bouzouki
- Paul Franklin – steel guitar
- Ilya Toshinskiy – ganjo
- Jimmie Sloas – bass
- Jonathan Yudkin – cello, fiddle
- Charlie Judge – upright piano, synth, B-3 organ
- Aaron Sterling – drums
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,400,000|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
|United States||October 2, 2012||Digital download||Big Machine Records|
|June 24, 2013||Country radio|
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