Final grade: 11/10
For many years, it was hard to imagine a time when "Red" would be dethroned as Swift's best album.
Now, even knowing that Swift's creativity and ambition seemingly know no bounds, it's still hard to imagine a day when it won't at least land in the top three. It has always held a special place in the hearts of Swifties, and the exhilarating release of "Red (Taylor's Version)" cemented that legacy.
The album is equipped with a not-so-secret weapon: "All Too Well," the single best song Swift has ever released.
Hell, it's so good that both versions — the original as well as its long-awaited extended counterpart — are scored as God-tier in this ranking, earning an extra point apiece. "All Too Well" is a triumph of brevity, a burst of longing that still manages to tell a complete tale, while "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" is a glorious unspooling that reveals additional scenes of hurt and betrayal.
But of course, the power of "Red" isn't drawn entirely from one source. In fact, it's a testament to the album's holistic brilliance that even "All Too Well" can't eclipse its fellow tracks. The vast majority hold their own; only a handful fail to satisfy Swift's promise of "miserable and magical."
And unlike "Fearless (Taylor's Version)," every single vault track is a unique and worthy addition, adding a new layer to the story of Swift's early-20s spiral.
God-tier songs: "State of Grace," "Treacherous," "All Too Well," "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "Holy Ground," "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)"
Worth listening to: "Red," "I Knew You Were Trouble," "22," "I Almost Do," "Stay Stay Stay," "The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody)," "Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran)," "Begin Again," "The Moment I Knew, Come Back... Be Here," "State of Grace (Acoustic)," "Ronan," "Better Man," "Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)," "Babe," "Message In a Bottle," "I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton)," "Forever Winter," "Run (feat. Ed Sheeran)," "The Very First Night"
Background music: "The Lucky One," "Starlight"
Skip: "Sad Beautiful Tragic," "Girl at Home"