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Taylor Swift revisits Jake Gyllenhaal and more on rerecorded ‘Red’

Writer-director Taylor Swift attends a premiere for the short film “All Too Well” at AMC Lincoln Square 13 on Nov. 12 in New York.  (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Writer-director Taylor Swift attends a premiere for the short film “All Too Well” at AMC Lincoln Square 13 on Nov. 12 in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
By Sophia McFarland The Spokesman-Review

Taylor Swift released the rerecording of her album “Red” on Nov. 12, evoking tears from Swifties everywhere and probably Jake Gyllenhaal. “Red” marks Swift’s second rerecorded album after “Fearless.” In 2019, she vowed to rerecord her first seven albums after revealing that Big Machine Records owned the rights to her music.

Far more than restricting her monetization, the label prevented her from choosing which songs to perform at award shows. Swift repeatedly emphasized that the rerecordings weren’t about the money, but rather to send a message to young artists that they deserve the right to own their work.

Although it might seem that fans wouldn’t look forward to an album of songs they already had heard, Swift made sure that quite the contrary was true. On “Red,” Swift included nine “vault” songs, tracks that were intended for the original album but didn’t make the final cut.

She recruited artists including Phoebe Bridgers, Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton to feature on these tracks to maximize the fan experience. She even included songs she wrote for other artists, including “Babe” for Sugarland and “Better Man” for Little Big Town.

Perhaps the unique aspect of Swift’s artistry is her niche for connecting music to an emotion, and there’s no better song than “All Too Well” to dive deep into emotions. “All Too Well” was a non-lead single that appeared on 2010’s “Red.” The heartbreaking anthem touched fans’ hearts because of the vivid lyricism and direct references to her relationship with Gyllenhaal.

They dated for a short time in 2010, yet the relationship had an evident impact on Swift. She channeled her emotions from the seemingly manipulative relationship into “Red,” particularly “All Too Well.” The song references a scarf Swift wore during her relationship with Gyllenhaal that he “still (has) in his drawer even now.”

Given its resonance with fans, Swifties rightly freaked out when Swift revealed that the song was originally 10 minutes long. She said she had to cut it down because “you can’t have a 10-minute-long song on an album.”

Turns out you can – at least the second time around. Swift listened to the desires of fans and released the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” on the rerecorded version of “Red.” The song, however, doesn’t take it quite as easily on Gyllenhaal. Swift reveals a more raw, real retelling of her emotions with lyrics that made fans who loved the original audibly gasp.

She sings, “I was never good at telling jokes, but the punchline goes I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.” She also mentions her 21st birthday when Gyllenhaal didn’t show up. The major takeaway from Swift’s 11th album release is simple: She can do no wrong.

I challenge anyone to name an artist who could release a 10-minute version of a song you’ve already heard before one decade later and top the Spotify charts. Think of one? Oh, right, it’s Taylor Swift.

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