Taylor Swift + Pizza = Synergy? Ordering Red From Our Local Papa John's
Overall, the album is a lot like the pizza: cheesy, a little too sweet, and then unexpectedly saucy. I'd heard all of the pre-released singles, but the album as a whole was still a surprise. We were one-third of the way through the sixteen-song album before we heard anything that sounded even remotely country. Swift does seem to be expanding her sound, but not her topics. It's all love, love, love, but I'm not sure why I expect something else from her, even at this point. What do I want her to do now? Write a political song? No. Hell no. I don't know. I just want her to be more subtle, I think, but it's all right there.
The song styles and artwork are both varied to the point of schizophrenic, so the long album stays interesting. The pictures inside the booklet all look straight out of an Anthropologie catalog, and each song has a different photo of Swift to accompany the mood. The lyrics are all there, too, but with (annoying) seemingly-random letters capitalized. I'm sure the Letters contAin some kind of secret Message, but I can't be arsEd to decode it. In addition to the light twang she's known for, one song sounds like U2 ("State of Grace"), one song sounds like Jason Mraz ("Stay Stay Stay") and yet another sounds just like a dreamy Mazzy Star tune ("Sad Beautiful Tragic").
Of course, chances are you know this already, because you already own Red. The album's sold 1.21 million copies in its first week, which makes it the fastest-selling album since Eminem's The Eminem Show sold 1.32 million more than 10 years ago.
Like all Swift albums, I have both my instant favorites ("We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together") and songs that I immediately dislike ("The Last Time"). Still, the magic of Taylor Swift usually prevails, and even the songs that I'm not into always seem to grow on me after repeated listens. But do you know what I won't be repeating? Eating a freakin' Papa John's pizza. Gross. Papa John's, we are never ever getting back together. Like, ever.