Taylor Swift Red re-release: ‘It was the soundtrack to my own break-up’

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Taylor's Red album gave her a string of huge global hits

What were you up to nine years ago? That might be a bit of a hard question to answer when it's often tough to remember what you had for dinner two nights ago.

But for Taylor Swift fans, it's probably quite easy – they were listening to her then-new album Red, her first country and pop crossover.

The album has become a talking point again because it's been re-released this week as part of Taylor's efforts to regain ownership of her own music, which she said was sold without her permission.

Taylor is currently in the process of re-recording all six albums she released while signed to her former label Big Machine, which was bought by Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun in 2019.

He then sold her masters, the name given to original song recordings, to an investment fund for an estimated $300m (£227m).

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And that's the reason two new versions of Taylor's albums – Fearless and Red – have been re-recorded and re-released in 2021, so that Taylor has control of where her songs now end up.

She's hoping fans will stream and buy her new versions in the future, instead of the older ones.

'A sense of nostalgia'Image source, Josh McLeanImage caption, Josh considers himself a lifelong Swiftie

It means fans like 28-year-old Josh McLean now have a chance to listen to Red with fresh ears and reflect on what their lives were like in 2012.

"I was just starting my second year of university and had just moved out of my parents' and into a house with some friends from uni," Josh tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

If you're not a big Swiftie and need your memory jogging – this album featured some of her biggest hits like We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and I Knew You Were Trouble.

"It was really apparent that Red was a heartbreak album and I think at the time, for me, it was also an album that was talking about all the emotions I was experiencing after a break up.

"It was weirdly comforting to know that somebody else out there was going through something similar," he says.

And it looks like Josh isn't the only one.

just finished #RedTaylorsVersion and i’m at a loss for words i can’t lie pic.twitter.com/IeBlmHsp8w

— jade 🍂 (@thetaylight) November 12, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Sorry, I can not be held accountable for my actions after listening to #RedTaylorsVersion.

— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) November 12, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

taylor swift broke spotify with red taylors version
HER INFLUENCE !! pic.twitter.com/XZfmeigN4P

— cal ! (@foggycal) November 12, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Red was a big moment for Taylor Swift, it experimented with EDM and had big-name feature tracks with Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody.

'We've both grown up' View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

"Her album was a lot more pop, a lot more mainstream and the songs and themes of the album definitely spoke to a lot of people my age," Josh says.

"22 came out and I was a few years younger but it was all about going out with friends, having fun and I think a lot of the emotions on there, I had experienced at some point."

Image source, ReutersImage caption, Taylor Swift was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year

Josh says a lot has changed in both his life and Taylor's, so it's given him a lot to reflect on when listening to the re-release.

"We've both grown up a lot – the songs are exactly the same lyrically but the sound and production feels more mature," he says.

"It's a great album that's stood the test of time and listening to the songs now, I've remembered why I fell in love with it in the first place."

'Artists should own their own work'

Taylor has been open about why she's gone to such lengths to re-record her music and why these releases mean to much to her.

"I've spoken a lot about why I'm remaking my first six albums, but the way I've chosen to do this will hopefully help illuminate where I'm coming from," she wrote on Tumblr in February this year.

"Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work," she added.

The first of her albums to be re-released – 2008's Fearless – included six new songs written in the same era. This time around she's added nine new songs to Red.

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