Taylor Swift’s 2012 album “Red” is next in line in her series of album re-records.
After much fan speculation, Swift announced on social media Friday that the re-recorded version of her fourth studio album, “Red (Taylor’s Version),” will be released on Nov. 19. The re-recording will feature 30 songs, including one unspecified ten-minute track that fans are already speculating could be the nearly legendary extended version of “All Too Well.”
“I’ve always said that the world is a different place for the heartbroken. It moves on a different axis, at a different speed. Time skips backwards and forwards fleetingly. The heartbroken might go through thousands of micro-emotions a day trying to figure out how to get through it without picking up the phone to hear that old familiar voice,” Swift wrote in the post’s caption. “In the land of heartbreak, moments of strength, independence, and devil-may-care rebellion are intricately woven together with grief, paralyzing vulnerability and hopelessness. Imagining your future might always take you on a detour back to the past. And this is all to say, that the next album I’ll be releasing is my version of Red.”
Swift went on to describe how she was heartbroken during the original making of “Red,” and that it ultimately led to closure and healing.
“Musically and lyrically, ‘Red’ resembled a heartbroken person. It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past,” Swift wrote. “Like trying on pieces of a new life, I went into the studio and experimented with different sounds and collaborators. And I’m not sure if it was pouring my thoughts into this album, hearing thousands of your voices sing the lyrics back to me in passionate solidarity, or if it was simply time, but something was healed along the way.”
Swift ended the post by saying that she “couldn’t stop writing” while making “Red,” and therefore is finally sharing all 30 songs that were “meant” to end up on the record.
“Sometimes you need to talk it over (over and over and over) for it to ever really be… over. Like your friend who calls you in the middle of the night going on and on about their ex, I just couldn’t stop writing,” Swift said. “This will be the first time you hear all 30 songs that were meant to go on ‘Red.’ And hey, one of them is even ten minutes long.”
The track list for the original “Fearless” included 16 songs, and a deluxe version included three more original studio tracks (plus three demos or acoustic versions). Doing the arithmetic, Swift’s statement that 30 different songs will be included on “Taylor’s Version” would seem to allow for the possibility of 11 previously unheard songs, although it’s not known how the presence of any alternate versions of the original tracks — like that hoped-for “All Too Well” expansion — might factor into the ultimate song count.
Swift’s referent to a song “ten minutes long” immediately set off waves of excitement among Swifties, since “All Too Well” has long had a reputation among a sizable cult of Swifties as the best song of her career, and the singer-songwriter had mentioned a 10-minute version previously. In a podcast last year associated with Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums list, she had talked about the song originating with a stream-of-consciousness demo in the studio. ““It included the F-word, and basically I remember my sound guy was like, ‘Hey, I burned a CD of that thing that you were doing in case you want it.’ And I was like, ‘Sure,'” Swift said in the podcast. “I ended up taking it home and listening to it. And I was like, ‘I actually really like this but it definitely is like 10 minutes long and I need to pare it down.'” Ultimately, she said, her co-writer on much of her early material, Liz Rose, worked with her on cutting seven verses out. Since Swift does not have rights to release the tracks she recorded during her Big Machine days, presumably any rendering of a 10-minute “All Too Well” would be brand new, rather than that original ad-libbed demo.
The guessing game on which catalog album would be next to get a “Taylor’s Version” has been an intense one, with many guessing “1989” just by dint of sheer popularity. Swift did give fans a pretty clear head’s up, as her Easter eggs go, when she included four hearts and exclamation points in her last Instagram story, indicating it would be her fourth album. (Some fans were thrown off by her recommendation of a song by the artist Griff with yellow in the title, and the fact that those hearts and exclamation points were also yellow, but this turned out to be a “Red” herring.)
Back in April, Swift released “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” her first album do-over. In addition to re-recordings of the album’s 19 tracks, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” included her 2010 single “Today Was a Fairytale” and six “from the vault” songs, that were not included on the original album. These included “You All Over Me” with Maren Morris, “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” “We Were Happy,” “That’s When” with Keith Urban, “Don’t You” and “Bye Bye Baby.” “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200, Top Album Sales and Country Albums chart, making it her third No. 1 album in less than a year.
Swift first confirmed her intent to re-record her music in August 2019 on “Good Morning America,” after her Big Machine Label Group catalog was acquired in June 2019 by Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings. In November 2020, after her masters were sold once again to Shamrock Holdings, Swift penned a long post on Twitter, saying that she had started the process of re-recording her old music.