Taylor Swift has notched up her fifth UK number one album in less than three years.
In hitting the chart summit today (November 19), ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ follows in the footsteps of 2019’s ‘Lover’, 2020’s indie folk-inflected ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’, and April’s ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’. Swift set a UK chart record with the latter three when they all hit number one in under 12 months.
‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ is Swift’s eighth UK number one album overall – no other female artist has as many this century. It has surpassed the first week sales figures for the original ‘Red’, with 72,000 compared to the 2012 version’s 62,000. The critical response has been strong, with Rolling Stone UK’s Mark Sutherland calling it “the most beautifully reconstructed pop record of 2021” in a five-star review.
The new ‘Red’ comes as part of Swift’s ongoing re-recording project, which was sparked by the sale of her original masters to businessman and manager Scooter Braun. Earlier this month, the biggest radio network in the United States, iHeartRadio, announced that it would only play Swift’s new versions in future, dealing a blow to Braun.
Swift has tweaked ‘Red’s original compositions to include new lyrics – including some on a 10-minute version of ‘All Too Well’ which appears to confirm it was written about her break-up from Jake Gyllenhaal.
It also features new collaborators, like Chris Stapleton, Ed Sheeran and Phoebe Bridgers, who revealed last week that she became emotional while recording her contribution.
Other new entries this week include the first album of Little Mix’s post-Jesy Nelson era, ‘Between Us’, which is in at 4. Also a new entry at 5 is the latest from Rod Stewart, ‘The Tears of Hercules’, which becomes his 37th UK top ten album. Idles third album, ‘Crawler’, was the week’s best-selling vinyl release, landing at number 6 on the overall chart.