Rare 2012 Interview With Taylor Swift Reveals How Love Inspired 'Red'
Long before Taylor Swift was singing about her "red lip, classic" in 1989's "Style," there was Red, her wildly successful fourth album that dropped on October 22, 2012 — precisely five years ago as of this Sunday. The LP hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and spent a cool 145 weeks on the chart, proving Swift was more than capable of turning her country music roots into radio-ready pop tunes.
Hit songs like "I Knew You Were Trouble" and title track "Red" were practically inescapable back then, but first, Swift had to craft the Grammy-nominated album. MTV News sat down with Tay in January 2012, nine months before Red's release, to talk about what was inspiring her music at the time. To celebrate the LP's fifth anniversary — and because Reputation is right around the corner — let's see what was going through her head while she was writing Red.
"Love is always going to be a huge theme in what I write about, just because there are no two similar relationships," she told MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway. "There are no two times that you feel love the same way, or hurt the same way, or rejection the same way, or frustration. It's all different, and I'm fascinated by that, as is kind of shown throughout my albums."
"I really love to go back to human interaction," Swift continued, "and the way we make each other feel. But, you know, that at 22 is different than it was at 18 and 19 when I made my last album [Speak Now] and 16 and 17 when I made Fearless."
These aren't empty words; you can see her emotions evolve through her music. For example, "Fifteen" from Fearless feels like a time capsule of a high-school crush: "When you're 15 / And somebody tells you they love you / You're gonna believe them." Five years later in Red's "All Too Well," Taylor's flipping her hair at the Grammys, singing about the intimate moments and conversations that make (and break) a relationship. Something about the line "You call me up again just to break me like a promise" still hits you in the gut, no matter how much time has passed.
On a lighter note, Red also gave fans plenty of light-hearted jams like "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "22." Plus, memes and viral videos were definitely on the rise in 2012. In that spirit, let's all revisit the infamous goat remix of "I Know You Were Trouble," which Taylor herself once called "brilliant."