Is Taylor Swift Teasing a Chris Stapleton Cameo on ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’?
“Casually cruel in the name of being honest” is how Taylor Swift describes her latest new music teaser. On Thursday (Aug. 5), the singer posted a short video of a red vault with scrambled letters coming out, line after line — clues for fans to decode and learn details about her next album, Red (Taylor's Version).
Swift did something similar prior to releasing Fearless (Taylor's Version) in April. Whereas that version was a word scramble, fans quickly figured out that the Red vault clues were a word search, likely revealing the full tracklist and some collaborators. Among the words fans found are the names of indie rock artist Phoebe Bridgers, pop singer-songwriter (and good friend of Swift's) Ed Sheeran and country music's own Chris Stapleton.
Other words fans discovered include "Babe" — the title of a Red-era Swift song eventually released by Sugarland — and "Better." The latter could refer to the song "Better Man," which Swift wrote and Little Big Town later released.
Swift's fans also report finding "All Too Well (Ten Minute Version)" among the word search. Swift had previously teased the release of the extended version of that song, which has become something of a mythical creature among her followers.
Originally released on Oct. 22, 2012, via Big Machine Label Group, Swift's original record label home, Red was Swift's final not-explicitly-pop album. The now-seven-times-platinum project spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 — her third consecutive album to spend at least six weeks at the top of that chart, a feat never before accomplished by a woman. Red also received Album of the Year nominations at the ACM Awards, CMA Awards and Grammy Awards, as well as a Best Country Album Grammys nod.
"Musically and lyrically, Red resembled a heartbroken person. It was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow all fit together in the end. Happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild, and tortured by memories past," Swift says. "Like trying on pieces of a new life, I went into the studio and experimented with different sounds and collaborators. And I’m not sure if it was pouring my thoughts into this album, hearing thousands of your voices sing the lyrics back to me in passionate solidarity, or if it was simply time, but something was healed along the way."
Red originally contained 16 songs — among them, seven singles, including "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Swift's first all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper — and a deluxe edition brought the tracklist to 22 songs. Red (Taylor's Version) will be fans' first chance to hear all 30 songs meant for the record.
Red (Taylor’s Version) is due out on Nov. 19. Digital copies are available to pre-order now on Swift's official website.
Swift is re-recording Red and her five other albums from her BMLG days following her split from the label — after the completion of her original record deal, she signed with Universal Music Group in 2018 — and a very public battle over her master recordings. BMLG is now owned by celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun, whom Swift says has been a bully to her over the years. She also says that she was not notified of the label's sale ahead of time, and was never given a fair chance to acquire her masters or purchase the label itself.
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