Kanye West, Carrie Underwood, Chris Martin, and Bruce Springsteen played a surprise concert in Times Square last night in honor of World AIDS Day. The performance, orchestrated by (RED) founder Bono and presented by (Bank of America)RED, was “A (RED) Thank You” to America for its leadership in the fight against AIDS.
Last night on The X Factor, Taylor Swift traded the top hat she donned for the MTV European Music Awards last weekend for a fedora; and rather then her go-to as of late, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” she opted to perform Red stand-out “State of Grace.” She stood alone at center stage — looking, we might add, a whole lot like Joni Mitchell, who she is rumored to be playing in an upcoming biopic — for a quiet first verse, while the audience shrieked impatiently. At the first chorus the song blows out into something much bigger, and the lights flashed on behind and she really, really began to sing. There were a few moments where her voice sounded a little shaky, but by the time she got around to explaining that “this is a worthwhile fight” while the lights flickered behind her, we were in full agreement that this just might be her golden age, good and right and real.
“State of Grace” may not be as obviously radio friendly as “Never Ever” or “I Knew You Were Trouble,” but this first live performance of it proved that it’s a sure crowd pleaser. What did you think of Taylor’s Joni Mitchell style? Do you think “State of Grace” could be a single?
Like dropping a cherry on top of her whirlwind release week, Taylor Swift visited Katie Couric at ABC News on Friday night to announce that she is taking her record breaking new album Red out on tour. The tour will kick-off on March 13 (13 being Taylor’s lucky number) in Omaha, Nebraska, and will hit 45 North American cities for a total of 58 shows. And then — good news to great news! — she announced that she’ll be taking VH1 You Oughta Know‘s Ed Sheeran with her.
“Happy to announce that I am special guest on @taylorswift13’s tour of North America next year, cannot wait,” tweeted Ed after the good news broke. The young singer-song writer from England puts on a truly impressive show, and gets along famously with Taylor. If they can make a casual kitchen floor duet sound this good, can you imagine what will happen when they bring their Red duet “Everything Has Changed” to a big stage? We suspect you won’t want to miss it.
Tickets go on sale November 16th, will you be there?
While “Begin Again” is rumored to be about Taylor Swift‘s newest beau, Conor Kennedy, the video gives nothing away. Alas, there are no Cape Cod anchors or Kennedy clan references for us to pore over. Instead, Taylor explores the cobblestone streets of Paris — sipping espresso in a café and doodling pictures of architecture before being approached by a very handsome (Parisian?) beau. A Kennedy he is not, but it seems like he wants to take her photo and she naturally obliges. Ooh la la, c’est romantique!
If you’re looking for inspiration on throwing a French-style wedding, look no further. “Begin Again” is ripped straight from an Anthropologie catalog: complete with flowy violet silk and Taylor’s signature red lipstick. Will “Begin Again” send a slew of teens on a tour of Paris? Probably. Along with her newly-purchased Cape Cod mansion, this Taylor Swift Teen Tour we’re planning seems like it’ll be a lot of fun.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been listening to the newest Taylor Swift album, Red, non-stop. It’s officially out as of yesterday, but Swifties (That’s code name for Taylor Swift fans) and music critics alike have been passing around .mp3s like they were contraband. One song that didn’t hit the web before it hit stores? “22”. An ode to being an adult yet NOT being an adult. An ode to friends (Taylor’s got Ashley Greene, Dianna Agron, Claire Callaway and Selena Gomez, apparently). An ode to spending too much time getting ready to go out. And ode to the effortless rhyming of practically anything to “twenty-two”. Meanwhile, Taylor herself was born in 1989, which makes her actually 22. And for obvious reasons, this makes the song even more potent.
Taylor is “22”, but once she was “Fifteen” — also the title of a popular song off her first album, Fearless. “Fifteen” spoke of high school drama, first love and was so personal to Taylor that it “gets her every time” (thanks Wikipedia). It’s about her freshman year of high school, where she and her BFF Abigail Anderson encountered heartbreak. “Fifteen” is, in fact, written in retrospect — Fearless came out in 2008, and Taylor’s advice to her younger self encapsulated her own high school experience.
So how do the two compare? Has Taylor actually grown up from “Fifteen” to “22”? Does it mean anything that “Fifteen” is written out and “22” isn’t? Would Selena Gomez have hung out with Taylor in high school?
So that thing about Taylor Swiftgoing dubstep? It’s true, and the proof is here. This morning on Good Morning America, Taylor previewed a snippet of “I Knew You Were Trouble,” a song that she says this is one of her favorites on the album, because “It sounds just as chaotic as the feeling was when I wrote it. It’s a song about kind of being frustrated with yourself, because here you are heartbroken, and you knew when you first saw that person, you saw all these red flags and you just went for it anyway.” And that chaos is palpable in even these first twenty seconds of the song, as her gut-wrenching confession gives way to a big ole’, gut-punching bass drop. No shame, Taylor, your dubstep game is so real.
“I knew you were trouble when you walked in, so shame on me know,” she sings, the piano line growing bigger and more industrial until — boom, it all drops and through the quiver of autotune she sings: “Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground, trouble trouble trouble.” This sort of emotionally manipulative drop is something we’ve come to expect from pop stars these days (think Britney Spears‘ “Till The World Ends,” think Justin Bieber‘s “All Around The World”), and while we hadn’t exactly anticipated it from a country princess, it definitely works here to highlight the devastation Taylor was feeling after whichever breakup (Jake? John?).
We will reserve full judgment until the song is made available on iTunes tonight at midnight. But until then, what do you think of Taylor’s dubstep game?
“Then on a Wednesday, in a cafe, I watched it begin again.” Taylor Swift‘s second single “Begin Again” veers away from Red’s poppy lead. Over guitar strings Swift compares the cons of the ex guy to the pros of the new one. Swift debuted the country ballad on Good Morning America yesterday as part of her Red promotional tour. At 22 the girl-next-door singer has received massive praise for her songwriting skills–where stories of heartbreak and love flow from the ink’s pen to paper. This song is exemplary of why that praise is not undeserved. Read more…
Judging by what we know so far, Red will be like Taylor Swift‘s last few albums in that the songs are all sort of lovey-dovey or heart broken. “I ended up being inspired by a lot of zero-to-100 then it hits a wall and explodes type of relationships,” she laughed, during the YouTube mini-summit she held to announce project. She reiterates that point in an interview in this month’s Rolling Stone, explaining, “I went through a few roller coasters.” Taylor will be Taylor, but of course.
Red will also, though, be not like Taylor Swift’s last few albums, most of which she wrote by herself. Taylor brought a team of “singer song writing and producing artist heroes” on board to help with this round, which means there were a lot of new hands working together to turn those oh-so-Taylor emotions into hits, and Taylor says that she “felt like an apprentice” during the process. What’s that going to mean for the album? 100% more womp-womp, apparently! Read more…