Taylor Swift’s fourth album “reaches for importance and occasionally touches it,” said Randall Roberts in the Los Angeles Times. Not only is there a new maturity in her diary-like lyrics, but Red’s more varied sound suggests that the 22-year-old megastar is “striving for something much more grand and accomplished” than her previous light-country hits. Borrowing a page from Katy Perry and Britney Spears, she enlisted Swedish producer Max Martin to work his magic on a few tracks, and all stand out as sure hits, said James Reed in The Boston Globe. A typical couplet from the title track—“Losing him was blue like I’ve never known/Missing him was dark gray, all alone”—tells you that Swift hasn’t yet become Bob Dylan, but her songwriting here is “leagues ahead” of where it was just two years ago. Even so, her young, female fan base won’t feel abandoned. “The story songs that have made her so relatable” still get pride of place.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
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- Mike Huckabee's head-scratching advice to Christian voters
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- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
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- The Tea Party has its own immigration problem: Cuba
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
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