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Music review: Red (Deluxe)

Red (Deluxe)
singer: Taylor Swift
Label: Universal
Price: Rs 495
Rating ***

This slope is treacherous/ This path is reckless/ And I like it” so sings La Swift in the largely acoustic third number of her rather oversized fourth studio album, Red (the deluxe version we received has 22 tracks and the “regular” one all of 16). And while the words are true to an extent, the stark fact is that Swift does not really get all that reckless with her music. Yes, the sound is a bit more “grown up” but by and large, this is still the blend of country and pop that made Swift a household name with Fearless four years ago.

Mind you, it is still very easy on the ear — there is the inevitable guitar starting the number before more instruments step in, depending on the general tone.

There are a few innovative touches — Swift going Dylan-esque with a recitation-like start before moving up to a more funky chorus in We are never ever getting back together, and borrowing a page from the Coldplay Book Of Sombre Pop-Rock (we are sure it exists) while reminiscing in All too well. There is a general touch of I-Broke-My-Heart-But-I-Can-Handle-It about the album, almost as if Swift is trying to sound older — “It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters/ And make fun of our exes” she sings in 22, and blames herself for getting involved with someone who she sings she “knew was trouble when you walked in.”

The problem, however, is that for all her show of maturity, she still sounds at her best when she is singing relatively simpler numbers about love — check out the quietly romantic Everything has changed and the guitar-laden I almost do. Blame us for having expectations that are way too high but there is nothing as moving as You are not sorry or Never grow up on this album — just a lot of pleasant enough music. Good enough for those seeking a mild blend of melancholy and melody, but not really a path breaker. Listen to Red for Swift’s voice and hummable tunes, but don’t expect it to rock your world. 

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