taylor swift: RED.

I've been a big fan of T-Swift since "Tim McGraw." I've loved her music and her lyrics and the way she writes code messages in her liner notes. I've gone to two of her shows (although, technically, the second one was mostly for Needtobreathe). And I've always bought her albums at Target, for the extra tracks. So, yeah. I'm a fan.

But I'll be honest. I wasn't quite sure if I was going to love her new album as much as I love the old ones. Sure, the songs may be fun and catchy. But will I listen to them and think, Oh my gosh. Yes. That.? I wasn't convinced. Things have changed a lot since her first album. She stopped wearing cowboy boots with dresses and included the message I WEAR HEELS NOW in the liner notes for "Begin Again," even though she has been wearing them since before she sang about wearing sneakers in the bleachers. Her hair is never curly anymore, even though she said she learned how to embrace the crazy curls. She sounds more Pop and less Country, even though her album is still technically considered Country & Folk. (Someone please explain that to me.) And her songs are no longer about people no one knows and instead are about people everyone knows. Which isn't a necessarily a bad thing, but now everyone knows about the relationships she writes about, which makes them more critical. Like, how dare she still be sad over that relationship which lasted a week and ended months ago?

Anyway, I went ahead (to Target) and bought the deluxe version, hoping that having the whole album all at once would make all the difference. And it did. Because as I drove around, listening to the whole thing straight through (which is the best way to do it, if you ask me), I realized that, despite the straight hair and lack of cowboy boots and Pop-ish sound, T-Swift still writes relatable music. And yes, she may seem to be stuck at age 15 and writing songs about the same things and one guy she's dated could have three or four or five tracks written solely about him. But if you only read some of the things I write about in my journals. It also can be a bit repetitive and ridiculous and adolescent sounding. Please. I just don't put my words to music for the whole world to hear. (Thank God.)

My favorite tracks from Red include: "Red" | "22" | "I Almost Do" | "The Last Time" (featuring Gary Lightbody, from Snow Patrol) | "Everything Has Changed" (featuring Ed Sheeran)

Also: Here is an article about her liner notes. And her interview with Ryan Seacrest.