Sunday, November 04, 2012

Music: Red

If you had a pulse these last couple of weeks, the campaign was inescapable. TV spots. Radio ads. Interviews on Letterman, "The View," and "Good Morning America."

The election for POTUS? Nah, I'm talking about Taylor Swift's all-out advertising frenzy for her new album, "Red":



I find it weird that some feminists criticize Swift, who has essentially made herself into one of the biggest brands in the country (it isn't that she pushed her album onto Papa John's Pizza boxes, it's that her yearly earnings already equal Papa John Pizza's net income). She's the model for what a 21st century musical act has to be to sell records - self-aware, and relentlessly self-promoting.

Of course, all the publicity in the world wouldn't help if the music wasn't any good. Fortunately for all of us, "Red" is another solid entry in Taylor Swift's diary-spillin', boy-shamin' oeuvre. In the album, Swift uses different musical styles for nearly every song, from U2-style stadium rock ("State of Grace") to sappy middle-of-the-road ballads ("I Almost Do").

The music might change, but the subject matter is still the same - love and break-ups ("And you call me up again just to break me like a promise/So casually cruel in the name of being honest" - ouch, Jake Gyllenhaal). This time around, Swift brings in Swedish pop overlords Max Martin and Shellback to pen her three outrageously catchy tracks, including a surefire No.1 party song, "22." There are also duets co-written with Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody, which offer a nice break from Swift lyrically kicking the junk out of her famous boyfriends.

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