If you want to do a practice run for the pop culture zombie apocalypse or let’s call it a rehearsal for your ears and soul, then make yourself aware that a new Taylor Swift CD drops Monday. That’s right, just in time for Halloween, the Queen of Mainstream has quite a scare for us all.
It’s called Red, because it’s simple and easy to spell. I think T-Swifty should’ve titled it Green as a result of the serious cash she’ll make. Because, believe it or not, based on the five songs I sampled,, *gulp*, it’s really good.
You’ve already heard, through purpose or accident, the bubblegum pop song, We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together. Its sing-a-long chorus and hilarious spoken word section where Swifty uses the language of her generation, “like ever”, have invaded a lot of homes, like mine, that have adoring teenage daughters. Well, there’s a problem. While that song is horrible, and not even representative of the country pop star’s arguable talent, it is also nothing like the other four songs I’ve listened to, including State of Grace.
The first reaction I had to the rock-based tune (unlike her previous work which is country or straight pop), was, “this sounds like the Cranberries with a southern accent”. In her previous work, the Nashville Supernova wrote all of the song herself. For Red, and specifically State of Grace, she brought in pop writing icons Max Martin (Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aquilera, Britney Spears) and Shellback (Moves Like Jagger co-writer). Their influence travels through We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together. You can imagine Max Martin screaming “more vocoder, damn it!”. On State of Grace, Tay Swift channels her inner Bono (assuming she has one) and some Carole King. She’s at least trying some different things, sweet and safe and lame as they may be.
Red is a sixteen-song offering that will likely have people saying the Princess of Pop has “grown up”. If State of Grace is a harbinger, then that analysis will be a cliché by next Tuesday. Of the five songs I got to listen to, I enjoyed I Knew Your Were Trouble. Like State of Grace, there’s a rock tinge but also some self-awareness in Swifty’s lyrics about her oh so sacred broken heart. I’ve often wondered if this girl was ever at fault for her numerous breakups.
The bottom line is this. If you like the Swiftmaster or her type of music, then you’ll dig this record the most. I recommend hitting up State of Grace or I Knew Your Were Trouble. I’ve got to go hide my bank account from my sixteen-year-old daughter who shares Swift’s first name, Taylor. She idolizes the singer. Get ready for the T-Swifty onslaught. Then board up your musical taste houses. Because the zombies are coming. They’ll be hitting your local Wal-Mart or Target, Monday morning.