Was Taylor Swift ever really “country?” Maybe a little. But all indications are that her new album leaves the country guise behind entirely, and with “State of Grace” — the latest release from her new album “Red,” due next week — she’s appropriating the stadium rock grandeur of U2. Take a listen:
“State of Grace” — the opening track on “Red” — feels like something of a game-changer for Swift, a big-time, grown-up rock anthem that feels like it’s wrapping its arms around the top row of the cheap seats. It’s like U2′s “City of Blinding Lights,” and utilizes many of Edge’s tech-y guitar tricks; Swift is big enough at this point that she probably should have just gotten Edge to play on the song and call it a day.
The song’s best bit comes in the second verse when the bass drops out entirely, a moment of solemnity as Swift sings, “we are alone, just you and me/ up in your room and our slates are clean.” She’s creating moments of intimacy within the booming sonics of the song, and showing a flare for dynamics we didn’t know she had in her.
“State of Grace” follows the bubblegum dance pop of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and the dubstep-dabbling “I Knew You Were Trouble,” so it’s clear that “Red” is going to be a reinvention for Swift. And after not caring one bit for her first three albums, I’m excited to hear “Red” in its entirety, words I never thought I’d say about Little Miss Swifty.
(Also, shout out to the design team behind the album and single covers on “Red,” which have a sophisticated, arty look that’s worlds away from the fantasy schmaltz of her early albums. Swift is growing up, you guys!)