(Republic)
Swift re-records the 2012 album on which she first embraced synth-pop, tweaking songs and adding others: a mix of saccharine fluff and superb keepers

After Fearless earlier this spring, Taylor Swift reaches the second instalment of her project to re-record (and regain ownership over) the six albums she released for label Big Machine, which were apparently sold out from under her to an old foe. Held up as a classic, 2012’s Red is one half some of the greatest pop songs of all time – I Knew You Were Trouble is the rare pop-EDM crossover that still stands up, the chorus drops hitting like bratty stomps of frustration at her own naivety; We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together is a euphoric cheerleader chant so ingratiating you wonder how nobody came up with it before – and one half schmaltzy stuffing, including collaborations with Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody.

It’s the album on which she embraced synth-pop, presumably making its faithful replication slightly easier than the primarily organic Fearless – simply set the controls and go. The new version is more widescreen than the original, which was by no means a wallflower to start with. But revisiting this earlier material there was always going to be the problem that Swift’s voice is richer and more mature than it was a decade ago. She has often wielded her innocence as a weapon, but nowhere more so than on Red, where she used it to rebuke the older man (widely reputed to be actor Jake Gyllenhaal) who broke her heart at 21. The lack of burn and twang here slightly blunts the rabid, deliciously vindictive edge that fuelled the original’s tumultuous depiction of heartbreak, sketched in appropriately vaulting shades of pop, country, balladry and electro-tooled aggression.

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