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ALBUM REVIEW: Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

RATING: ★★★ / ★★★★★

You probably don’t need to be reminded of why Taylor Swift has decided to release re-recordings of her previous albums, starting with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) last year and now with Red (Taylor’s Version). However, if you somehow missed one of the biggest music controversies in recent history, here’s a quick summary: in 2019, talent manager Scooter Braun acquired the record label Big Machine and as part of the deal acquired ownership of the master recordings for the first six studio albums by Taylor Swift. Swift has been trying to buy the masters to her songs for years but she’s been offered nothing but unfavorable conditions — therefore, as a countermeasure, she is re-recording all of her six albums and so far has released two.

It’s a bold move on Taylor’s part, but lucky for her, the re-recordings have done incredibly well especially with the re-recording of her 2012 album Red. On its first day of release, Red (Taylor’s Version) has broken two Spotify records: one for the most-streamed album in a day by a female and another for the most-streamed female in a single day both in Spotify history.

It’s hard to review an album like this when Red (Taylor’s Version) is, for the most part, just a recreation of the songs of Red. There are new songs, of course, but the majority of the tracks are simply re-recorded versions of her already existing songs. The Immaculate Collection by Madonna, this isn’t — save for All Too Well, there are no new instrumentals or parts of the song here, just plain re-recordings of her previous songs.

Unfortunately for Taylor Swift, some of the songs don’t really benefit from being re-recorded. The original version of We Are Never Getting Back Together, for instance, while far from Swift’s best song at least had the energy and emotion you’d expect a bitter break-up song like it to have. In the new version, Taylor Swift just sounds lifeless and bored, especially when it comes to her spoken lines.

It’s difficult to blame her when she’s expected to still give convincing performances of experiences she’s had over a decade ago. How do you expect a singer in her 30s to sing a song about how excited she is to be 22 and still make it sound as convincing as she made it when she was actually 22?

That being said, some of the songs also benefit from being re-recorded. There’s a sense of nostalgia added to many of these songs. Taylor Swift sounds older and, in a way, that adds even more emotional depth to some of her tracks. And for anyone not wild about these songs simply being re-recordings, Swift has six new “From The Vault” tracks which should be enough to tide you over.

All in all, Red (Taylor’s Version) doesn’t always work, but for Taylor Swift fans, it’s a way to listen to versions of her songs that are hers. It’s why the “(Taylor’s Version)” at the end of these songs are so important and it’s great to know Taylor Swift finally has versions of the songs she wrote which she can call hers.

Entertainment

Netflix Originals coming this 2022

The year has begun and there are exciting series coming back soon with new seasons.  These are some we look forward to watching on Netflix:

Bridgerton Season 2 … March 2022

 

Stranger Things Season 4 … mid 2022

 

The Witcher: Blood Origin …  starring Michelle Yeoh.

 

 

 

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Fantastic Beasts 3: The Secrets of Dumbledore

The Secrets of Dumbledore

Fastastic Beasts 3: Watch the trailer as Jude Law reprises the role of a younger Professor Dumbledore and Mads Mikkelsen replaces Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. “The Secrets of Dumbledore” hits theaters in April 2022.

 

 

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Entertainment

5 Best Board Games to Play During the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching and you know what that means — your calendar’s about to be filled with Christmas parties and family gatherings! What better way to liven up a gathering than with a game? Board games are so much more than just Scrabble, Chess, and Monopoly — there are tons of great games to play that are funny, exciting, and sure to put everyone playing in a great mood. Here are our top 5 picks for the best board games to play with your family or friends during the holidays:

1. Codenames

In this game, players separate into two teams. Each team has a spymaster and the spymaster’s responsibility is to get the rest of the team to guess correctly which words on the chosen cards belong to their team. However, they need to be careful because if their teammates guess the words of the other team, the points go to the other team instead! Codenames is an absolute blast of a word game. The entire party is sure to have a great time as the spymaster struggles to come up with the perfect clues and the other team members struggle to figure out what words the clues refer to!

 

2. Dixit

Dixit is the most beautiful game you’ll own, with 84 cards of nothing but gorgeous illustrations. The game is great as well — on an active player’s turn, they pick a card from their hand and come up with a clue to describe it. The possibilities here are endless — your clue can be a word, a phrase, a sentence, a poem, or even a song! Once you’ve given your clue, everyone gives a card from their hand they think matches your card. The cards are all revealed and now all other players need to guess which card is yours. It’s a fantastic game that’ll really challenge the creativity of everyone playing it!

3. Cluedo

A classic for a reason, Cluedo is the murder mystery board game where someone is murdered and everyone needs to figure out who did it, what weapon they used, and where the murder took place. The first person to figure out all three wins the game. Was it Colonel Mustard with a knife in the library? Or was it Miss Scarlet with a pistol in the lounge? Everyone playing will have tons of fun as their deduction skills are put to the test! (There’s a great film based on this game as well which we highly recommend watching after playing!)

4. Cranium

Another team-based game, Cranium will test how well your team works together. In this game, everyone gets to shine!With four different categories, Cranium has got something for everyone — really into performing? Star Performer is for you! More into reading and writing? Test your word skills out with Word Worm! Consider yourself something of a trivia lover? Data Head’s your category! Love drawing and sculpting? Creative Cat’s got the challenges for you! Cranium is a game everyone will love and enjoy, especially because you’ll all find yourself laughing like crazy when playing it!

5. Telestrations

Terrible at drawing? Then you’re perfect for this game! Telestrations takes the game Telephone and turns it into a drawing game. Each player gets a drawing notebook and a word they need to draw. Once everyone’s done drawing, each player passes their notebook to the side and now has to guess the word of the drawing they currently have in their hands. Guess what they drew, then draw what they guessed, and see how funny the changes get. Everyone playing will be in tears laughing at the end of each round, wondering how someone started by drawing a bagel and ended up with the final guess Rapunzel!

 

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