Re Taylor Swift‘s Red CD (2012), which I recently heard for the first time. (I’m not much interested in her current CD, 1989.)
1) Predictably, there are too many love songs on this 16-track recording. 2) When Taylor isn’t boring me with “I Almost Do,” “Sad Beautiful Tragic,” “Everything Has Changed” and a couple of others, she’s delighting me with . . . the following:
With Liz Rose, Swift wrote the remarkable, nicely worded ballad “All Too Well,” which presents our girl as a country-pop Carly Simon, and by herself Swift wrote the calm, melodically fine “Begin Again.” “22” sounds a bit like Rebecca Black’s “Friday”: it’s optimistic catchiness. The song’s college-girl boyfriend stuff continues in “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” a fun song of exasperation. By herself Swift also wrote “State of Grace,” which could use some better lyrics but is musically vivid and exciting.
Terrific as she is, Taylor Swift is not a great songwriter, but Red is an almost great CD. There is more artistry than art in her many decent-sounding songs.