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CD review: Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’

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The Details

Taylor Swift
Red
Three stars

The hints of banjo on the title track aren’t fooling anyone: There’s essentially nothing country about Taylor Swift’s fourth album, Red. It’s a big, sweeping pop record, with Swift’s songwriting augmented by pop architects like Max Martin, Dan Wilson and Butch Walker.

She’s still laying her emotions bare, but she’s doing it on a larger scale, with synths and dance beats sneaking in among the shimmering guitars. Sometimes this works out well, as on cheeky, playful lead single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and Pink-style party song “22,” which is Swift’s most blatant bid for pop stardom yet. But sometimes it falls flat, as when “I Knew You Were Trouble” suddenly shifts into dubstep breakdowns, or when Swift duets with Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody on the morose “The Last Time.”

Swift is still a fantastic lyricist (only she would declare true love by singing “I’d like to hang out with you for my whole life”), but Red finds her getting a little lost in pop glamour.

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