The message behind Taylor Swift’s re-released album is not ‘lost in translation’


Breanna Leary

Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on vinyl.

Since Taylor Swift announced she was going to release “Red (Taylor’s Version),” a re-release of her 2012 classic, anticipation has run high and she did not disappoint. 

Somehow the new album and its songs, including the 10-minute original version of “All Too Well,” turned out to be even better than expected, taking an already phenomenal album and transforming it into an even greater masterpiece full of anger and heartbreak. Not only were fans able to relate to Swift’s hurt and anger on a deeper level than the artist has ever been able to achieve before, but they were able to experience a “Red that is bigger, better, and casually crueler. 

The remaking and re-releasing of her album “Red marks the second step in her Taylor’s Version project. This project, which was announced in 2019, is a result of Swift’s former music studio, Big Machine Records, being sold to music mega manager Scooter Braun, with who Swift has been known to have a conflict in the past.  This sale gave Braun the rights to all of the master recordings for Swift’s old music, which meant anyone who wanted to license one of her old songs would have to ask Braun for permission and pay him a licensing fee and Braun is getting profit from Swift’s songs whenever they are streamed or bought. 

In order to sidestep Braun and reclaim the rights to her songs, Swift publicly slammed the sale and announced that she would be re-recording the six original albums that she released with Big Machine Records, this time with full ownership of the master recordings, giving the rights and power of her music back to her. 

“The way she’s re-releasing her first few albums is because of her management basically stealing them from her,” Tasnim Farhat, senior, said. “But the way she’s giving power back to herself is so amazing.” 

After she re-released her album Fearless earlier in the year, fans were excited to see her take on “Red,” which originally was already one of the most outstanding albums Swift has created. But now, after we’ve had time to fully appreciate Swift’s lyrical genius and amazing narrative story-telling, it’s clear that “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is her best work. 

It has been rumored that the newest version of the album was actually Swift’s original idea for “Red” before it was shortened, and it is clear that Swift had a lot more to say in her songs than what we originally heard. 

Like many of her albums, “Red” was also written about one of her ex-boyfriends, who could be one of several actors and musicians. This album, however, is rumored to be about actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who dated Swift towards the beginning of her career when she was 20 and he was 29. Although the two were only together for three months, the pair had a messy and toxic relationship, which Swift sings about in the album

However, in Taylor’s Version, Swift was able to delve deeper into what happened during the relationship and was able to vent about her anger and rage, making some of her harsher breakup anthems seem like love songs. 

“Although that relationship ended 10 years ago, she still manages to put a lot of emotion into it,” Breanna Leary, Swift enthusiast and Jupiter High senior, said. 

The one song from the new album that had fans the most excited was the re-released 10-minute original version of “All Too Well,” which included a 10-minute short film starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien. 

“They’re good actors, and she had a close relationship with them, so working on a film set together would have been pretty comfortable for her, especially with past conflicts she’s had with other people,” Thomas DiRico, sophomore, said. 

However, fans also speculated they were chosen not only because of their closeness with Swift but also because of the similar age gap between them. 

“Taylor was 19 or 20 and Jake was 29 when they were dating so she picked Sadie, who is 19, and Dylan, who is 30, to play the roles to represent the relationship and the age gap,” Leary said. 

If fans thought that the version of the song that was originally released was good, the original version along with the short film not only provided fans with a new perspective of her music but also gave them a visual representation that portrayed Swift’s emotions perfectly. 

The film alone is a cinematic masterpiece and was made even better by the performances of Sink and O’Brien. For many of her fans who were too young to understand the message, Swift was conveying through her songs, hearing her re-releases was refreshing.

“I was six when she first released the album, and now at 15 being able to listen to it with a different perspective on life is really special to me,” Ruby Monteith, sophomore said. 

For a ‘Swiftie’ like Monteith, Swift re-recording her albums is very important to not only fighting for the rights of her music but also showing how the artist has evolved throughout her career. 

“I am for anything she releases,” Monteith said. “I’ve grown up with her music and it’s always been very important to me, but her re-recording her music just shows how powerful and brave she is, and how she’s grown since 2006 when her first album debuted.”

With future re-recordings of some of her first albums planned, fans are impatient to see what she does next, and their adoration and respect for Swift have only grown. 

“The re-recordings only made me respect her as an artist,” Farhat said. “She’s been through so much turmoil when it comes to ownership of her albums, and it’s powerful that she’s taking them back in such a huge way.” 

While fans have no idea of what Swift has in store for the future, it is rumored that the next re-released album will be “Speak Now” or “1989”. It will be interesting to see if she will be able to once again astound us with her brilliance. I know that I, for one, can’t wait to find out.