Country princess gains a new sound

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Renowned singer/songwriter Taylor Swift continues to produce hits at a stunning pace. The 22-year-old released her latest project in October: “Red,” a 16-song album packed full of catchy melodies and not-so-subtle slams against unnamed exes. The album even features two duets—one with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, and the other with budding British folk singer, Ed Sheeran. Though Swift has long since strayed from her country roots, she has taken some big leaps on “Red,” borrowing popular sounds from other genres. The album varies from the borderline dubstep beats of “I Knew You Were Trouble” to the acoustic indie feel of “Holy Ground” to the traditional Taylor Swift style in “Stay Stay Stay.” And let’s not forget the bubblegum pop that is “We Are Never Ever Getting This Song out Of Our Heads” (or as the radio calls it “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”). Though some of the more folksy sound on “Red” is due to working with artists Lightfoot and Sheeran, Swift is morphing along with the music scene that now values indie folk over hip hop and more traditional pop. The genre is gaining popularity and has been described as "too sensitive and melancholy; too soft and delicate; too dreamy and hypnotic; too personal and intimately revealing in its lyrics,” all of which could be used to label Swift as well. With the rise of artists like Mumford & Sons, what used to be obscure is now becoming mainstream, and chameleon artists like Swift know to adapt. Though she’s far from Foster The People, the album’s feel is more indie pop than past ones and there’s barely a hint of the artist’s country beginnings. The variety of styles on the album may be its biggest selling point with its wide appeal to audiences. The songs are arranged in an order that keeps listeners on their toes and prevents the monotony of back-to-back acoustic, cutesy love songs. Though there is a higher percentage of slower songs than in past works, versus the dance/pop that Swift gains awareness for, the softer songs maintain appeal, moreso than ones on previous albums. Songs like “Everything Has Changed” and “All Too Well” inspire long chilly walks without seeming whiney or depressing. And while “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” has invaded the heads of most radio listeners, keep an eye out for “I Knew You Were Trouble,” which is easily spotted as the next hit off “Red.” Though Swift receives much criticism for her failed love life stories and pointedly detailed lyrics, there’s no denying she’s got talent. Not only is she a brilliant songwriter, but a skilled performer as well. She may have some personal maturing to do, but her professional life maintains its bright future that was seen in the success of “Our Song.” Not only does Swift continually generate great songs, she show cleverness in working the Hollywood scene and managing her girl-next-door reputation. Love her or hate her, she always creates a buzz and currently has the pop music scene seeing Red.
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