Saturday, November 10, 2012

Taylor Swift’s Red debuts at #1

First posted 3/4/2019; updated 9/27/2020.


Taylor Swift

Released: October 22, 2012

Peak: 17 US, 116, 11 UK, 12 CN, 13 AU

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.6 UK, 8.78 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/country


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. State of Grace (10/27/12, 13 US, 36 UK, 9 CN, 44 AU)
  2. Red (10/13/12, 6 US, 2 CW, 26 UK, 5 CN, 30, AU, worldwide sales: 1.44 million)
  3. Treacherous (11/10/12, 26 CW, 65 CN)
  4. I Knew You Were Trouble (10/8/12, 2 US, 5 AC, 11 A40, 55a CW, 2 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU, worldwide sales: 7.75 million)
  5. All Too Well (11/10/12, 80 US, 17 CW, 59 CN)
  6. 22 (11/10/12, 20 US, 19 AC, 9 A40, 9 UK, 20 CN, 21 AU, worldwide sales: 2.92 million)
  7. I Almost Do (11/10/12, 65 US, 13 CW, 50 CN)
  8. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (8/13/12, 13 US, 10 AC, 7 A40, 110 CW, 4 UK, #14 CN, 3 AU, worldwide sales: 9.1 million)
  9. Stay Stay Stay (11/10/12, 91 US, 24 CW, 70 CN)
  10. The Last Time (with Gary Lightbody, 11/4/13, 25 UK, 73 CN)
  11. Holy Ground (11/10/12, 32 CW, 89 CN)
  12. Sad Beautiful Tragic (11/10/12, 37 CW, 92 CN)
  13. The Lucky One (11/10/12, 33 CW, 88 CN)
  14. Everything Has Changed (with Ed Sheeran, 11/10/12, 32 US, 11 AC, 8 A40, 7 UK, 28 CN, 28 AU, worldwide sales: 1.07 million)
  15. Starlight (11/10/12, 28 CW, 80 CN)
  16. Begin Again (9/25/12, 7 US, 10 CW, 30 UK, 4 CN, 20 AU, US sales: 1 million)

Total Running Time: 65:11


3.820 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

Quotable: Red establishes “Taylor Swift as perhaps the only genuine cross-platform superstar of her time.” AMG


About the Album:

Red seeks “to prove Taylor is a genuine superstar, the kind who transcends genre, the kind who can be referred to by a single name.” AMG It certainly accomplished that goal on a commercial level. It was her third consecutive chart-topper, debuting with first-week sales of 1.21 million, making it the fastest-selling album in the US in more than a decade. WK It was also her third consecutive top-selling album of the year WK and received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Country Album of the Year.

She used the term “red emotions” to describe the “semi-toxic relationships” she experienced while making the album, hence the title of the album. WK In addition to exporing her “signature themes of love and heartbreak” WK she explores “fame and the pressure of being in the limelight.” WK She told MTV News “each song stands on its own. It’s this patchwork quilt of different sounds and different emotions.” WK

Red barely winks at country, and it’s a better album for it.” AMG It offers “every kind of sound or identity a Swift fan could possibly want.” AMG While the result is “uneven” and runs “just a shade too long as it sprints along in its quest to be everything to everyone,” AMG it establishes “Swift as perhaps the only genuine cross-platform superstar of her time.” AMG Billboard magazine said the album “transcends her country roots for a genre-spanning record” that is “her most interesting full-length to date.” WK Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times was impressed by her talent at incorporating different music styles. In Slant magazine, Jonathan Keefe gave the album a mixed review, but acknowledged that Swift “now sounds like the pop star she was destined to be all along.”

Billboard magazine noted that “Red will likely be remembered for its sonic risks,” WK specifically noting the dance-pop lead single We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (her first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “the dubstep feint” AMG of I Knew You Were Trouble, which was released as an official single and became her eleventh song to debut in the top 10.

“Back Together” was nominated for a Grammy for Record of the Year while Begin Again also received a Grammy nod – for Best Country Song. It was released as the official second single, debuting in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. It was also serviced to country radio, becoming her seventeenth consecutive top 10 on the Billboard country songs chart. WK

22 was the album’s official fourth single. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of All Music Guide called it a “ludicrous club-filler,” AMG pointing it out as one of the songs contributing to the album’s uneven buffet nature. In noting the variety of the album’s material, he also cited the “shimmering melancholy reminiscent of Mazzy Star” AMG on Sad Beautiful Tragic), the “chilly new wave pulse” AMG of The Lucky One and “the unabashed arena rock fanfare of State of Grace.” AMG

“Although she can still seem a little gangly in her lyrical details – her relationship songs are too on the nose and she has an odd obsession about her perceived persecution by the cool kids – these details hardly undermine the pristine pop confections surrounding them. If anything, these ungainly, awkward phrasings humanizes this mammoth pop monolith: she’s constructed something so precise its success seems preordained, but underneath it all, Taylor is still twitchy, which makes Red not just catchy but compelling.” AMG

Notes: A deluxe edition added new songs “The Moment I Knew,” “Come Back…Be Here,” and “Girl at Home” as well as demos for “Treacherous” and “Red” and an acoustic version of “State of Grace.”

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