A track-by-track review of Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version)”


credit to: Republic Records / Taylor Swift

On November 12, 2021, Taylor Swift re-released her fourth studio album, Red, following her re-release of her album Fearless, in her fight to own the rights to all of her music. Along with re-recording all of her old songs, Swift has also included nine new songs “From the Vault,” songs that were originally written for the album but did not make it on previously. This album quickly became a commercial success, with over 90 million opening day streams on Spotify, the most for any female artist ever. After their widely acclaimed “evermore review,” Lamar Life Editor-in-Chief Lauren Koong and Assistant Editor Kathryn Stone are back to review Red (Taylor’s Version).

State of Grace:

Kathryn: This song never had my full love until the re-release. I never skipped it before but I most definitely will never ever skip it now. It’s a fun song to dance around your room in or for a fun drive around town. A great opener that really gets the listener ready for the rest of the album. 

Favorite Lyric: “Love is a ruthless game / Unless you play it / Good and right”

Rating: 9/10

Lauren: I am ashamed to say that this was not one of my favorites in 2012, when Red was first released. However, after listening to Red (Taylor’s Version), I have now fully realized how incredible this song is and I regret every time I’ve skipped this song. From the very first beat of the song, the listener is hooked, and it is the perfect way to start the album. It is the perfect blend of fast beats and slow notes.

Favorite Lyric: “We learn to live with the pain / Mosaic broken hearts”

Rating: 10/10


Kathryn: I love this song more than life itself. It is and has always been the best song off of her original Red album and I refuse to take any criticism on that. I used to play this song every morning when I woke up in the eighth grade and I never got sick of it. If you are not a Red (Taylor’s Version of course) stan, then I don’t know what you are doing with your life.

I love this song more than life itself.

— Kathryn Stone


Favorite Lyric: “But moving on from him is impossible / When I still see it all in my head / In burning red”

Rating: A numerical rating does not exist for this song. 

Lauren: This is a classic. This is my childhood in one song. When I was little, I took voice lessons and this was the first song I requested to sing. The lyrics are absolutely unparalleled and this is the song that got me into writing, because I wanted to be able to be as descriptive as Tayor in this song.

Favorite Lyric: “Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer” 

Rating: 9/10


Kathryn: Taylor Swift invented love and this song is all the proof I need to make that claim. Treacherous (TV) perfectly encapsulates the feeling of knowing that falling in love may have some consequences but not caring because your feelings are so strong. The queen of love songs hit it out of the park with this track. Points docked because the bridge does not give as much as I think it should. 

Favorite Lyric: “And I just think you should, think you should know / That nothing safe is worth the drive”

Rating: 8/10

Lauren: I love Treacherous (Taylor’s Version). It has always been a favorite and the re-released version is even better. This song is so calm and relaxing, and serotonin-inducing. Also, I am a sucker for love songs and I play this song whenever I need to feel happy.

Favorite Lyric: “And all we are is skin and bone / Trained to get along”

Rating: 10/10

I Knew You Were Trouble:

Kathryn: Pop perfection! This song could have been on the 1989 album and fit right in. It is rumored that the song is about ex Harry Styles and saying that she got into a relationship with him even though she knew he would be trouble is very relatable. I too would get into a relationship with him even if he was trouble. 

Favorite Lyric: “Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago”

Rating: 9/10 

Lauren: I honestly think this song is underrated. On any other album, it would be the number one ranked song, but because all of the songs on this album are so good, it is not ranked as high. The “now I’m lying on the cold hard ground” part of the song is absolutely baller.

Favorite Lyric: “And I heard you moved on from whispers on the street / A new notch in your belt is all I’ll ever be”

Rating: 9/10

All Too Well:

Kathryn: Jake Gyllenhaal, you better sleep with one eye open.

“Jake Gyllenhaal, you better sleep with one eye open.”

— Kathryn Stone

Favorite Lyric: “But you keep my old scarf, from that very first week / ‘Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me”

Rating: 9/10 because it is inferior to the 10 minute version

Lauren: This is the original, the song that began my intense obsession with Taylor Swift. This is the song I screamed every lyric to in my room at 3 a.m. Words cannot describe what this song makes me feel. I will admit, I have not listened to this version since the 10 minute version came out, but I love it for the memories it holds for me.

Favorite Lyric: “So casually cruel in the name of being honest”

Rating: 10/10 


Kathryn: Also pop perfection! I love listening to this song when I am having dance parties in my room or driving with friends. Taylor’s Version does have some funky little note changes though that I am not the biggest fan of. Also, it makes me sad about graduating.

Favorite Lyric: “Tonight’s the night when we forget about the deadlines”

Rating: 6/10 for the weird note changes and because it makes me think about how I am graduating soon (#co22)

Lauren: I love this song. It is perfect for loud, late night drives with the windows down. Kathryn called this song “pop perfection” and I could not agree more. It is a bop and I love the memories I have associated with this song. The only reason this song is not rated higher is because it is being compared to the other lyrical masterpieces in this album.

Favorite Lyric: “It feels like a perfect night / to dress up like hipsters”

Rating: 7/10

I Almost Do:

Kathryn: I love this song but I hate calling people on the phone so it is not very relatable.

Favorite Lyric: “I bet it never, ever occurred to you that I can’t say hello to you and risk another goodbye”

Rating: 8/10

Lauren: This is probably the most personally relatable song to me on this album. It starts out slow, but by the chorus, I am always screaming. Screaming. 

Favorite Lyric: “And I just want to tell you, it takes everything in me not to call you”

Rating: 10/10

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together:

Kathryn: Love it but over time it has gotten increasingly more annoying. The music video, however, is incredible. I wish I had also choreographed a figure skating routine to this song like Lauren.

Favorite Lyric: “You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me but we are never, ever, ever, getting back together”

Rating: 8.5/10

Lauren: When this song came out the first time, I loved it so much that I choreographed a figure skating routine to this song in a Lake Tahoe ice rink. It is a very specific memory. I go absolutely feral for this song. 

When this song came out the first time, I loved it so much that I choreographed a figure skating routine to this song in a Lake Tahoe ice rink. It is a very specific memory. I go absolutely feral for this song

— Lauren Koong

Favorite Lyric: “he calls me up and he’s like, ‘I still love you,’ and I’m like, I’m just, I mean this is exhausting, you know / like we are never getting back together, like ever”

Rating: 10/10

Stay Stay Stay:

Kathryn: This song reminds me of Speak Now and Debut and I love it so much. The repetition in threes makes the song fun and I love putting it on in the car. #loveit.

Favorite Lyric: “‘Cause I read you should never leave a fight unresolved, that’s when you came in wearing a football helmet and said ‘Okay let’s talk’”

Rating: 10/10

Lauren: Speak Now is my favorite Taylor Swift album, and this song is the most Speak-Now-esque. It is the quintessential love song, which makes it one of my favorites. Not only is this one of my favorites on this album, but it is also one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs ever, which is high praise. 

Favorite Lyric: “You took the time to memorize me, my fears, my hopes and dreams / I just like hanging out with you all the time” 

Rating: 13/10

The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody):

Kathryn: This song is heartbreaking and makes you really feel the emotions portrayed. I used to skip it but now I add it to all of my sad playlists. It is very emotional and I love that Taylor had Gary Lightbody on the track because it makes the song even more sad. 

Favorite Lyric: “You wear your best apology and I was there to watch you leave”

Rating: 9/10

Lauren: When I first listened to Red (not Taylor’s Version), I did not realize how incredible this song is, and I heavily regret that. This is an absolute masterpiece, and I cannot stress that enough. I have no idea who Gary Lightbody is but I would like to thank him for contributing to this song, which is literally like honey to my ears. 

I have no idea who Gary Lightbody is but I would like to thank him for contributing to this song, which is literally like honey to my ears.

— Lauren Koong

Favorite Lyric: “You find yourself at my door / Just like all those times before” 

Rating: 10/10

Holy Ground:

Kathryn: I believe in Holy Ground supremacy! Another great song to have a dance party to and an even better song to listen to driving around downtown. It is actually mandatory to scream the lyrics when it comes on, no exceptions. 

Favorite Lyric: “Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress, we had this big wide city all to ourselves” or “Tonight I’m gonna dance, for all that we’ve been through / But I don’t wanna dance, if I’m not dancing with you”

Rating: 10/10

Lauren: This is the song that I always queue whenever I go on long runs. The upbeat music makes running bearable and even fun at times. This song is also the song that gets me through my all-nighters, because it gets my excitement up and my heart pumping.

Favorite Lyric: “But I don’t wanna dance, if I’m not dancing with you”

Rating: 9/10

Sad Beautiful Tragic:

Kathryn: This song is on every single sad playlist I have but because of that, I think I have overplayed it. I will be honest, I skip it occasionally. I know, I know, the song is incredible but the heart wants what it wants and sometimes, my heart wants to skip it. 

Favorite Lyric: “What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair”

Rating: 9/10

Lauren: This song is one of my favorite sad songs. It is one of the most listened to on my “depressy” playlist (follow me on Spotify: lauren koong). The emotions are so strong in this song and it is just a great song to help me work through my problems. It is like a best friend, always there for me.

Favorite Lyric: “In dream, I meet you in warm conversation / We both wake in lonely beds, in different cities”

Rating: 9/10

The Lucky One:

Kathryn: This song makes me think of the One Direction: This is Us documentary and how when I get upset that the boys went their separate ways, they all did it for a reason and did it because the fame just became a little too much. Taylor writing this was a beautiful exposé on the feelings of being as big of a celebrity as she is and how her perception of fame being “lucky” changed as she got older and more famous. 

Favorite Lyric: “They say you bought a bunch of land somewhere, chose the rose garden over Madison Square, and it took some time but I understand it now”

Rating: incredible/10

Lauren: THIS SONG! I always forget how good this song is until it comes up in my shuffle and I fall in love with it all over again. It the perfect example of witty lyrics and Taylor’s storytelling that set her apart from other artists.

Favorite Lyric: “Now it’s big black cars and Riviera views / And your lover in the foyer doesn’t even know you”

Rating: 10/10

Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran):

Kathryn: This song and its old video have a chokehold on me. I used to watch the music video every single day after school for a solid two years. I am not even kidding. As a fan of Taylor and Ed Sheeran, this song is one of my favorite things of all time. It also makes me think of Maxon and America from The Selection series. 

Favorite Lyric: “All I know is we said ‘hello’ and your eyes lookin’ like coming home” or “And meet me there tonight / And let me know that it’s not all in my mind”

Rating: 1000/10

Lauren: If I had one word to describe this song, it would be hope. I love this song with my entire heart. I am not a huge fan of Ed Sheeran, but I love their voices together on this song. Words cannot express what this song means to me.

Favorite Lyric: “And your eyes look like coming home”

Rating: 13/10 


Kathryn: I LOVE THIS SONG. I listen to it on repeat for a solid week every month because it is so good. I want to sneak into a yacht club party pretending to be a duchess and a prince with someone. Maybe it can happen in college. Feeling #hopeful. 

I listen to [this song] on repeat for a solid week every month because it is so good.

— Kathryn Stone

Favorite Lyric: “That night we snuck into a yacht club party pretending to be a duchess and a prince”

Rating: unrankable 

Lauren: I know I say I love a lot of songs on this album, but this song is actually one of my favorites. It is the song I associated with my cruise boyfriend when I was in 8th grade, so every time I hear this song, I am taken back to those happy moments on a cruise in Northern Europe. This song is the perfect blend of lighthearted happiness and love, which is my favorite kind of song (as mentioned above, I am a sucker for love songs). 

Favorite Lyric: “That night we snuck into a yacht club party pretending to be a duchess and a prince”

Rating: 10/10

Begin Again:

Kathryn: I also used to watch this music video religiously. It is so good and the song makes me so happy because it’s her knowing that her and her ex can and did find love after each other and she is happy about it. Most of her songs focus on heartbreak or being in love at the moment, and this song was a nice change of pace to a song about being happy for someone else and yourself. Good on you Taylor for being happy when you see an ex with someone else, I doubt Olivia Rodrigo could say the same!

Favorite Lyric: “And for the first time, what’s past is past”

Rating: 12/10

Lauren: This song was one of my most played on my Spotify Wrapped. It is about hope and learning to love again, which is so inspiring for my lack of a love life. I would love to be at a cafe, watching it begin again too, Taylor. It is so full of hope and life, you can’t help but feel soothed.

Favorite Lyric: “I’ve been spending the last eight months, thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end / But on a Wednesday in a cafe, I watched it begin again.”

Rating: 10/10

The Moment I Knew:

Kathryn: This track perfectly encapsulates how it feels when you realize that a relationship is over, romantic or otherwise. Also, this track is more evidence in the case The Swifties vs Jake Gyllenhaal for the defense on the Swifties side. 

This track perfectly encapsulates how it feels when you realize that a relationship is over, romantic or otherwise.

— Kathryn Stone

Favorite Lyric: “And it was like slow motion, standing there in my party dress in red lipstick”

Rating: 100/10

Lauren: This song is another masterpiece. It is so vulnerable and absolutely heartbreaking, especially when you realize that this song is a more in-depth explanation of that one line in the 10 minute version of All Too Well, when Jake Gyllenhaal does not show up to Taylor’s 21st birthday party. She perfectly describes the emotions behind that moment, and the listener is transported to that heartbreak.

Favorite Lyric: “And it was like slow motion / Standing there in my party dress / In red lipstick / With no one to impress” 

Rating: 11/10

Come Back…Be Here:

Kathryn: If I had a long distance boyfriend in London, I bet this would be pretty relatable. Listening to the build up is like you are watching a movie and the scene where they have the double screen couple breakdown because they’re far apart. 

Favorite Lyric: “But you’re in London and I break down and it’s not fair that you’re not around”

Rating: 10/10

Lauren: When this song came out the first time, I did not recognize its brilliance. However, now I have realized how wrong I was to brush this song off. This song gets better every time I listen to it. It builds up to the last stanzas and chorus, which goes absolutely crazy.

Favorite Lyric:“This is falling in love in the cruelest way, this is falling for you and you are worlds away”

Rating: 10/10

Girl At Home:

Kathryn: Cheaters never prosper and Talyor wants everyone to remember that. The new version is not my favorite and I have to go on youtube and find a random lyric video that doesn’t have the song credited to listen to it because I only like the stolen version. I’m sorry Taylor. 

Favorite Lyric: “Call a cab, lose my number, you’re about to lose your girl”

Rating: 5/10

Lauren: When I first heard this song, my jaw dropped. For all of her rerecordings, Taylor generally made it sound the same, or very similar, to the original. However, this song was a breath of fresh air because it sounded so different to the original. This version has a more pop background, which some theorize was how Taylor originally wanted it to sound. Some people do not like this new version, but personally, I like it. While it is not my favorite on the albume, the pop sound is so upbeat and fun; it inspires joy. Also, I imagine this song playing at a party and stopping someone from cheating on their partner, so I like what it stands for.

When I first heard this song, my jaw dropped

— Lauren Koong

Favorite Lyric: “I just wanna make sure you understand perfectly / You’re the kind of man who makes me sad” 

Rating: 7/10

State of Grace (Acoustic Version):

Kathryn: Acoustic version > original version. This song is a work of art and Taylor knew exactly what she was doing for sad girls everywhere when she released the acoustic version. The vocals are so much more raw acoustically and every time this song comes on a playlist, I have to restart it at least three times before moving onto the next song. 

Favorite Lyric: “So you were never a saint, and I’ve loved in shades of wrong”

Rating: 10/10

Lauren: The acoustic version is even better than the original, and I loved the original. I am pretty sure this song is added to every playlist I have ever made. It is my go-to song when I am sad or need some relaxing music. Fantastic song, made even better by the acoustics. 

Favorite Lyric: “So you were never a saint / And I’ve loved in shades of wrong”

Rating: 10/10

Credit to: Republic Records / Taylor Swift


We will not be rating this song seeing as it was written as a tribute to Ronan Thompson, a three year-old who passed from neuroblastoma in 2011. 

Better Man:

Kathryn: I have been waiting for this song for so long oh my goodness. I love this song and I love that Sophie Turner posted it on her Instagram story knowing that it was about her husband Joe Jonas. It breaks my heart because Taylor is thinking of all that could have been if Joe was a better man and didn’t break up with her over the phone. (Just so you know Joe, Kevin has always been my favorite Jo-Bro)

Favorite Lyric: “And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand, but I just miss you and I just wish you were a better man”

Rating: 9/10

Lauren: This song is so touching because it is about missing someone you know is not a good person, but you can’t help but wish they were. It is so touching. The only reason I did not rate this song higher is because I personally cannot relate to this song, so I don’t listen to it that often. Other than that, it is a great song.

Favorite Lyric: “I waited on every careless word, hoping they might turn sweet again, like it was in the beginning”

Rating: 8/10

Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers):

Kathryn: This song destroyed me and put me back together in the span of four minutes and 18 seconds. As a Swiftie and a Pharb, this collaboration was everything I could have dreamed of and more. They perfectly encapsulate the feeling of growing up and thinking you have all of the answers and then realizing that you in fact, do not know everything. As someone who is preparing to go to college, I feel that this song is relatable with the nostalgia for your younger self when you thought you had everything ready and planned out when instead, everything is pretty up-in-the-air. 

Favorite Lyric: “How can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?”

Rating: 11/10

Lauren: This song is the most relatable in the most tragic way. It absolutely destroys me every time. It is so vulnerable and perfectly describes my current state of mind. There is no better collaboration and I have never related to a song’s lyrics more. It is achingly perfect, a heartbreak that comes from something more painful than love.

This song is the most relatable in the most tragic way. It absolutely destroys me every time.

— Lauren Koong

Favorite Lyric: “How did I go from growing up to breaking down?”

Rating: 13/10


Kathryn: I am so happy Taylor rerecorded this track after writing it for Sugarland. The song is incredible and it is the epitome of teenage female rage when it first ends and you are acting nonchalant but are actually ready to throw hands. 

Favorite Lyric: “We’re a wreck, you’re the wrecking ball”

Rating: 7/10

Lauren: Taylor originally wrote this song for Sugarland, a country band, and then rerecorded it. I had not listened to this song performed by Sugarland, but I absolutely love this on this album. The title makes you believe this will be a love song, but it is actually a song of calm anger. Say what you will about Taylor, but she is an undisputable lyrical genius.

Favorite Lyric: “We’re a wreck, you’re the wrecking ball”

Rating: 8/10

Message in a Bottle:

Kathryn: This song was made for early 2000s Barbie movies and I am here for it. Some say it is too Justice/Claire’s/department store music and I agree somewhat but also think that there is nothing wrong with that. The kids I babysit love this song and it is very fun to dance around with them to. 

Favorite Lyric: “Message in a bottle is all I can do, standin’ here hopin’ it gets to you”

Rating: 8/10

Lauren: Someone on TikTok said they could see this song in a Barbie movie, and that only made me love this song more. I love Barbie movies (they are cinematic masterpieces) and I truly hope I hear this song playing in a Barbie movie one day. It was produced by the same people who produced most of the songs on Taylor Swift’s 1989, which is why it sounds like it could have been on 1989, but it is the pop song of my dreams. 

Favorite Lyric: “‘Cause you could be the one that I love / I could be the one that you dream of”

Rating: 9/10

I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton):

Kathryn: MILES TELLER IN THIS MUSIC VIDEO WAS THE BEST DECISION EVER MADE. I love this song so much and hearing the slight country twang in it makes me nostalgic for Debut. This song reminds me of Taylor saying in an interview that she only writes songs about exes when they do something bad. Someone did something bad to Taylor in a relationship and she is (in a very petty way) saying that while they may think she is insane for writing about the relationship, the man will never forget her, even in his “happiest” moments.

I love this song so much and hearing the slight country twang in it makes me nostalgic for Debut.

— Kathryn Stone

Favorite Lyric:  “I bet you think about me, when you say ‘Oh my God, she’s insane, she wrote a song about me’”

Rating: 10000/10

Lauren: The music for this song was absolutely off the charts. Blake Lively did a fantastic job directing and the visuals are stunning. To me, this song screams “country” but in a good way. This is possibly the only country song that I like and will voluntarily listen to. The sound matches the lyrics perfectly and I have yet to skip this song when it comes up on shuffle.

Favorite Lyric: “The love that you’re looking for / is the love that you had”

Rating: 9/10

Forever Winter:

Kathryn: Just when I thought Taylor couldn’t break my heart even more with the vault songs, she hits me with this song. You can tell that this song was very personal and her vulnerability and honesty surrounding wanting to be there for someone once she found out is incredible. I’m only docking a point from the rating because it is so sad I can’t listen to it without crying. 

Just when I thought Taylor couldn’t break my heart even more with the vault songs, she hits me with this song.

— Kathryn Stone

Favorite Lyric: “If I was standing there in your apartment / I’d take that bomb in your head and disarm it” or “Too young to know it gets better / I’ll be summer sun for you forever / forever winter if you go”

Rating: 9/10

Lauren: On a recent college application, one of the questions asked which song describes your life. This is the song I wrote. The juxtaposition between the depressing lyrics and the upbeat music is absolutely heartbreaking, almost as if Taylor knew that people who relate to this song would need an upbeat song to balance that out. It is so personal and vulnerable. 

Favorite Lyric: “He seems fine most of the time, forcing smiles and neverminds / His laugh is a symphony, when the lights go out, it’s hard to breathe” 

Rating: 10/10

Run (feat. Ed Sheeran):

Kathryn: Going to be honest, I have listened to this song once and don’t intend to listen again. 

Favorite Lyric: Not sure

Rating: Also not sure. 

Lauren: Say what you will about Ed Sheeran, but his voice combined with Taylor’s is a paragon of perfection. I need to listen to this song more than I do currently. I always forget about this song, but it is fantastic in every way. 

Favorite Lyric:  “I could see this view a hundred times / pale blue sky reflected in your eyes”

Rating: 9/10

The Very First Night:

Kathryn: If this song came out when the album originally came out…

Favorite Lyric: “But don’t forget about the night out in L.A / Dance in the kitchen, chase me down through the hallway”

Rating: 100000000000/10

Lauren: This is my absolute favorite Vault song of all time, if not my favorite song on this album. Everything about this song just makes me happy. Absolute favorite. 

Favorite Lyric: “And so it was, we never saw it coming / Not trying to fall in love, but we did like children running”


All Too Well (10 Minute Version):

Kathryn: This song is 979 words of pure perfection. This song should go down in history as really the best song ever. I wish it was longer than 10 minutes. The emotions Taylor describes in this song makes me feel like I also got my heart broken by Jake Garbagecan and now remember it all too well. 

Favorite Lyric: “And I was never good at telling jokes / but the punchline goes ‘I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age’”

Rating: INFINITY/10

Lauren: This is an absolute lyrical masterpiece. I do not trust people who do not like this song. There is not a single flaw in all 10 minutes of this song. In fact, 10 minutes is not long enough. Every single lyric in this song is so powerful and intense, I simply cannot stop listening.

This is an absolute lyrical masterpiece. I do not trust people who do not like this song. There is not a single flaw in all 10 minutes of this song.

— Lauren Koong

Favorite Lyric: “You kept me like a secret but I kept you like an oath” ALSO “they say all’s well that ends well, but I’m in a new hell” (there are just too many good lyrics I can’t pick a favorite)

Rating: there is no possible rating that can capture how good this song is