"RED" is the fourth studio album by Taylor. It was released on October 22, 2012, by Big Machine Records, as the follow-up to her third studio album, "Speak Now". The album title was inspired by the "semi-toxic relationships" that Taylor experienced during the process of conceiving this album,
which she described the emotions she felt as "red emotions" due to their intense and tumultuous nature. "RED" touches on Taylor's signature themes of love and heartbreak, however, from a more
mature perspective while exploring other themes such as fame and the pressure of being in the limelight.
The album features collaborations with producers and guest artists such as Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran and is noted for Taylor's experimentation with new
musical genres. She completed "The RED Tour" in support of the album on June 12, 2014, which became the highest-grossing tour of
all time by a country artist, grossing over $150 million.
"RED" was well received by critics and earned Taylor GRAMMY Award nominations for "Best Country Album" and "Album of the Year". It debuted at number one on the
US Billboard 200 chart, giving Taylor her third consecutive chart topper in the US. Its first week sales of 1.21 million was the third biggest debut in history for a female artist
and became the fastest-selling album in over a decade. It made music history for claiming the biggest first week sales of all time by a country act, the record previously held by Garth Brooks.
"RED" is just the 18th album in United States history to sell one million copies in a single week. It was also a huge global success, becoming Taylor's first chart-topper in the UK, and also
topped the album charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand while charting in the top ten in every other major market including China.
"RED" has sold over 7 million copies in the US and 14 million worldwide as of December 2018. It was Taylor's third consecutive US top-seller and the second best-seller overall across
all genres despite being out only for two months. This makes the fourth time Taylor has an album ranked in the year's top three sellers.
BACKGROUND AND RELEASE
On August 13, 2012, Taylor gave a live webchat to over 72,500 viewers, in which she answered fan questions, previewed the lead single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together",
and announced her fourth album's title as "RED", as well as its release date. During the live webchat, she also revealed that she wrote more than 30 songs for the album, of which she included 16
for the album and expressed that dysfunctional relationships can provide a lot of inspiration.
Contrary to her previous self-written album "Speak Now" (2010), Taylor enlisted the help of several of her favorite songwriters. In an interview with Parade Magazine in 2012, she revealed:
"Making a musically diverse album was something I really wanted to do this time around, and I wanted to do that by pushing myself. My comfort zone had become writing songs alone and working with
the same producer I’d always worked with, and although those things were really working and I’m so proud of the last album I did, I knew that you cannot do the same thing over and over again. So
I felt like, okay, there are these songwriters and producers I’ve admired from afar and been influenced by, but I’ve never had the courage to sit in a room and make music with them. Walking into
a studio with Max Martin or Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol or Ed Sheeran—it was such an exciting rush." -- Taylor Swift
She also told MTV News that the album "is interesting because each song stands on its own. It's this patchwork quilt of different sounds and different emotions, and I don't think anything on the
record sounds like "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together".
Taylor previewed songs from the album on Good Morning America every Monday, beginning on September 24 until October 15. She performed on October 22 for the album's release, and the next
day, she performed a live concert on the same show.
According to the singer she had spent over two years with the recording process, writing and preparation for the album. Sarah Barlow shot the album's cover, which shows Taylor's face,
particularly her red lipstick. The standard and deluxe versions of the album were released on October 22, 2012 in Italy, New Zealand, the United States, among others. The deluxe edition of the
album comes with a second disc with three new tracks and the original demo recordings of "Red" and "Treacherous" along with an acoustic version of "State of Grace." A karaoke version of the album
was also released on February 5, 2013 on the iTunes Store, which includes the instrumental version from all tracks of its standard version.
Taylor stated her reason for naming the album "RED" as:
"All the different emotions that are written about on this album are all pretty much about the kind of tumultuous, crazy, insane, intense, semi-toxic relationships that I’ve experienced in the
last two years. All those emotions — spanning from intense love, intense frustration, jealousy, confusion, all of that — in my mind, all those emotions are red. You know, there’s nothing in
between. There’s nothing beige about any of those feelings." -- Taylor Swift