Messages from the Vault: Decoding Red (Taylor's Version) Word Search (Full Vault Track List Revealed)
Taylor Swift had us all wide awake this morning when she served up a new vault video, this time with a red tint over it instead of gold. Swifties knew exactly what was happening. As with Fearless (TV), Taylor is giving us an early clue at the vault tracks to come. Instead of a word scramble like before, she gave us a word search row by row. Each line of texts locked together to form 13 rows across and 13 rows down. Also, it's worth noting that this announcement came on August 5th or 8/5 (8+5=13).
Once all the letters snapped into place, Swifties got to searching for the new titles. Even though I am dyslexic and historically horrible at word searches, I managed to get quite a few of the items on this search. The issue with the word search, though, is that beyond the songs we already guessed would be on the album and know exist, it's challenging to put the random words into actual song titles.
So here's what we know so far just in general and with the help of word search. Taylor said that Red would now have the 30 tracks it was intended to when she first created it. There are 16 songs on the standard version of Red, 3 original bonus songs (not counting the original demos that she obviously can't rerecord), and the acoustic version of "State of Grace". Originally, I thought the acoustic track might just be left off, but then I remembered that Fearless included the piano version of "Forever and Always", and 10 bonus tracks would make more sense than 11.
With 10 spaces for possible new songs, there are 4 spaces taken by tracks everyone assumed would be on the record and were confirmed by the word search. We have the duo of "Babe" and "Better Man", both of which we learned were Red era songs when they were later released by Sugarland and Little Big Town respectively. Fans have wanted to hear Taylor's version of both of those songs since they released, so luckily, even though these songs were loaned out, they can find their rightful place on Red. Taylor is friends with both of these bands, and she even starred in the iconic music video for "Babe" and provided backup vocals.
Next on the list of givens is "Ronan". Last week, fans found out that the 2012 charity single would find its home on Red after Maya Thompson shared the story of Taylor reaching back out to her in a blog post. Maya is credited as a co-writer on "Ronan" as Taylor pieced together lines from Maya's blog posts about her son who was battling neuroblastoma into a song. Maya was thrilled to let Taylor add the song to the TV record, and everyone was quite emotional about "Ronan" being brought to the forefront again. Because it wasn't a part of Taylor's main discography and I wasn't a fan in 2012, I never ended up hearing "Ronan". I always meant to look the song up as it's held as one of Taylor's most devastating, but I've decided to wait now and hear it for the first time when Red (TV) comes out in November.
Finally, we have "All Too Well", but not just any version. Fans have been begging for the 10 minute version of the song since its existence was revealed, and Taylor has answered their calls even including in her announcement for Red (TV) that one song was even 10 minutes long. It seems like both versions of "All Too Well" will be on the record to offer fans a variety of listening options. Other interesting "All Too Well" hints unveiled today include Taylor's caption for the vault video ("Level: casually cruel in the name of being honest"), and when the audio of the vault video is reversed, it's hard to make out, but it seems to be "All Too Well" playing. Swifties have had their eye on an August 13th lead single for a while for obvious reasons. The early guess was that she might repeat history and release "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" because the song originally made its debut on August 13th. I'm starting to think now that she might give us "All Too Well", the full version. It might be a strange choice of lead single, and I thought she would hold out on us for longer, but its release would certainly make major waves of music news and set the tone for the rest of the album. It's also worth nothing that now #alltoowelll and #alltoowelltenminuteversion both display red scarf icons at the end when you type them on Twitter. The icons that are added to hashtags tend to be the earliest tells as to what singles or songs are coming.
The only other things we know for sure are the features unveiled for this album. Much like how she announced the features on Fearless (TV), names were hidden in this word search. Ed Sheeran makes an appearance (obviously) as he features on "Everything Has Changed" on the original version of Red. I wonder, though, if he also features on one of the vault songs because Gary Lightbody is nowhere to be found in the word search as far as I can tell, and he featured on "The Last Time". I assume Taylor will be able to get all her old collaborators back for the rest of the record, but his omission from the word search brings up may questions. Chris Stapleton is also in the word search, pointing to another more country rooted song. The final name we know for certain is Phoebe Bridgers. Phoebe has been making the rounds on people's records to provide back up vocals (see Clairo's Slings and Lorde's Solar Power), so it seems only fitting that she's finding a place on Taylor's record as well. I'm assuming she will ultimately receive the Maren Morris/Colbie Caillat treatment.
As for the 6 mystery tracks, your guess is as good as mine. Here are some words I found in the word search: Forever, Note, Message, Bottle, Nights, Minute, First, Things (or) Nothing, You, About, Think. It's difficult to piece together a track list with random words and no context as to what order they're supposed to come in. If I had to guess combinations from these words, I would say we could potentially be getting songs like "First Minute", "Message in a Bottle", and "Forever Nights". All of these sound slightly off (except "Message in a Bottle" maybe). Other suggestions I've seen floating around online include "Nothing New", "Think About It", "First Run", "Winter Nights", and "I Bet You Think About Me". It's hard to know which of our best guesses will pan out. "Nothing New" is likely a correct guess because fans remembered in the Lover journals Taylor wrote a diary entry on March 2nd of 2012 about writing a song called "Nothing New" about how scary it is to change and grow up. Taylor's universe is always full of interconnected Easter eggs.
Hopefully, Taylor will reward us with the actual track list soon enough (probably tomorrow if she continues to follow what she's done for Fearless (TV), but it's always so much fun to watch people scramble to decode her messages. I actually faired better on this word search than any of the ones I had to do for homework in second grade. From the tracks we've seen so far, it seems like the bonus tracks will lean closer to Red's country roots than it's overriding pop sensibility, but it'll be interesting to see how Taylor chooses to produce the unheard songs. Red was Taylor's first foray into pop music, and even her country tracks were heavily pop influenced, so I think there will still be a couple fun pop tracks mixed in.
In addition to the vault videos, fans also found out that the multi-disk Red (TV) CD is now available for preorder. Everyone was confused when Red (TV) was announced without any items to physically preorder, and it seems like her team is going to slowly trickle out the physical music instead of dropping it all at once like they did with Fearless (TV).
Are you excited for whatever is likely coming next week? Any predictions for how Red (TV)'s release will unfold?
UPDATE: And so the saga continues. Taylor just tweeted out "The next clue will be in the spot where you hear Red." This clue isn't nearly as metaphorical as it seems. It just requires visiting redtaylorsversion.taylorswift.com and presaving the album on either Spotify or Apple Music to access The Vault which gives us track numbers 21 through 30 to fill in the blanks and unveil the song and album order.
Here's what I have so far updated as they're unlocked:
22. Better Man
23. Nothing New Ft. Phoebe Bridgers
25. Message in a Bottle
26. I Bet You Think About Me Ft. Chris Stapleton
27. Forever Winter
28. Run Ft. Ed Sheeran
29. The Very First Night
30. All Too Well Ten Minute Version
Once fans unlock the Vault they receive access to a filter that you're supposed to upload an image to and share with #iunlockedthevault to celebrate! Here's mine... didn't quite work out, but I'm mostly just happy to have the vault songs finally figured out.
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