Taylor Swift announced yesterday, via a mildly creepy live fan chat/“G+ hangout”/fake-slumber party, that she’s dropping a new album on October 22. It’s called Red, but that does not mean it’s a full-album tribute to Bruce Willis’s 2010 old-people-assassins sleeper hit of the same name. Rather, Swift made clear, with Red she’ll be continuing on her stated trajectory of melodically airing out every nook and cranny of her fraught, charged, highly publicized romantic adventures. Taylor explained, “All the different emotions that are written about on this album, they’re all pretty much about the kind of tumultuous, crazy, insane, intense, semi-toxic relationships that I’ve experienced in the last two years … There’s nothing beige about any of those feelings, so I called the record Red.” Sounds great!
By way of first taste, Swift has already dropped a single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” It was produced and co-written by coldblooded radio-hit mercenaries Shellback (Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” Britney Spears’s “I Wanna Go”) and Max Martin (every song ever, more or less) and it sort of sounds like some mid-2000s emo gold (what is good, The Starting Line). Yes, it is super catchy.
Bringing in Class-A co-writers is a change of pace for Swift, who has mostly flown solo to the top of the charts. So has she run out of magic Space Jam songwriting juice? Or is she just looking to even more epically dominate the game? More important: What famous dude has Taylor Swift just put on blast? 2010’s Speak Now, Swift’s last album, was a magical cornucopia of celebrity confessionals dramatically headlined by “Dear John,” a.k.a. the John Mayer song. With the key phrase “an indie record that’s much cooler than mine,” some have speculated that “Never Ever” is Mayer again getting the chop (if true, this would again make John Mayer very sad). Others are looking to noted ex Jake Gyllenhaal, who does seem like the kind of guy who would have a record collection cooler than Taylor Swift’s (especially if he’s borrowed any from his sister Maggie and her dude Peter Sarsgaard. Bet Sarsgaard’s got some serious Fania salsa vinyl stacked somewhere). For now, let’s not try to dig too deep on “Never Ever” and rest easy that Red will almost certainly have both more tracks about Mayer and all new joints on Gyllenhaal, plus any number of barbs and hooks dedicated to the rest of the all-star Swift “semi-toxic relationship” lineup.
Look out for a track about Arnold’s son Patrick Schwarzenegger: He and Taylor spent a big Fourth of July doing a lot of hugging. There’s no doubt that her current fellow, RFK Jr.’s kid Conor Kennedy, will get on there somewhere. Sure, things seem to be going well, but she just bought a house across the street from him! That sounds like great fodder for an ugly breakup. And you can be sure that whoever decided not to cast Taylor Swift in Les Misérables is going to get some shine as well.
Also, while Red will be out in only a few months, surely that’s enough time for Swift to get dumped by a few more famous people and then write songs about it? How about Prince Harry? Perhaps Meek Mill? Or what about newly minted 90210 star Ryan Lochte? He should be back from London by now.