In 2012 I was 12 years old, entering middle school, sporting a side part and listening to a lot of Taylor Swift.
The first concert I ever attended was in the nosebleed seats of the United Center for Swift’s “Fearless” tour in 2010 (see t-shirt 12-year-old me is wearing). Her music videos were on repeat on my family computer and her music resolved many disputes between my teenage sister and I about which CD we would play in my mom’s car.
This week, Swift released “Red (Taylor’s Version)” which originally came out in 2012. As I’ve spent the last few days relistening to the album that played in my headphones as I entered middle school, I’ve realized what a gift she gave us by allowing us to re-experience these songs 9 years later.
I remember gasping when she said “hell” in “The Lucky One” and belting out the lyrics to “We Are Never Getting Back Together” with my best friend after she broke up with her first boyfriend in seventh grade. Now, the messages about relationships and growing up in songs like “22” and “Come Back… Be Here” resonate more with 21-year-old me than they ever would have with 12-year-old me.
Swift seemed to know what she was doing, making her fans reminisce on their youth. The 10-minute version of “All Too Well” takes a more mature perspective on her relationship with an older guy when she was 21, and “Nothing New” hits the nail on the head with the line, “How could a person know everything at 18, but nothing at 22.”
The album is filled with references of Swift at 21 and 22 — the age I currently am and the age I’m turning — giving me not only birthday Instagram captions, but some nuggets of wisdom as I continue through my 20s.
Thank you, Taylor. Stream “Red (Taylor’s Version).”
This week in news, a guide for students on how to get home for the holidays and a look into the university’s COVID-19 committee. Sports features Maya Chandler, the reigning women’s basketball MVC freshman of the year and a look into the team’s non-conference opponents. In A&E, more “Red (Taylor’s Version)” content and a brand-new Tea Bar in Andersonville owned by a Loyola alum.