Red, Blue, and Dark Gray

Love has many aspects that are nearly impossible to fully explain or even understand. Many artists of all varieties even attempt to capture the idea of love in many different mediums, however, singer and songwriter, Taylor Swift is best at capturing all aspects of love. Specifically in her song Red, from her 4th album, Red. Taylor swift writes this song to explain all the complex side effects of being in love. She begins each stanza with a comparison of an aspect of love to a color or specific familiar moment. She opens up her song by comparing love to a feeling many listeners know all too well. 

“Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street”

She immediately catches the listener’s attention by writing about a feeling most people have experienced before, driving. In many of Swift’s songs she alludes to the feeling of driving, however, in this opening sentence, she intentionally compares that feeling to love. 

In the Chorus of Red, she begins to repeatedly compare complex aspects of love to different colors. Her chorus is repeated three times over in the song. Taylor Swift is sharing her personal experience of love and being in love in this song. Red is released right after she breaks up with her boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal. Jake Gyllenhaal was about 9 years older than Taylor Swift which created many problems as Swift was 21 and Gyllenhaal was 30. Swift uses simile after simile to describe the feelings she felt while being in love with an older man. 

“Losing him was blue like I’d never known

Missing him was dark gray, all alone

Forgetting him was like tryin’ know somebody you never met

But loving him was red”

Lastly, the diction that Swift uses creates a poetic tone in order to address the complexity of love. For example, this complexity is represented through her frequent change in tone from stanza to stanza. The first stanza of her song makes listeners think fondly of love and long to be in love. However, as the song progresses, Swift describes the negative aspects of the love that left her feeling broken and sad. 

“Memorizing him was as easy as knowing all the words

To your old favorite song

Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword

And realizing there’s no right answer”

The big shift in tone here is portrayed through Swift’s lyrics as well as the instruments used in the section of the song.