Oddly Specific Places on Vassar’s Campus to Listen to “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Image courtesy of Pitchfork

The time has come. Nov. 12 has finally arrived, and the world has been left a different place. We have been blessed with the release of Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version),” a re-recording of the classic 2012 album. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is an album packed to the brim with relentless bops, heart-wrenching tunes reminiscent of country pop and memories of a much simpler time. The album slips from matured versions of Taylor’s well-known songs into “From the Vault” tracks––songs written for the original album that never made the final cut. The album concludes with a truly glorious 10-minute rendition of the soul-crushing and exceptionally cathartic ballad “All Too Well,” which Swifties across the globe and even Ms. Swift herself have declared her greatest song ever written.

It is obvious that “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is an innately emotional album for many reasons––in addition to its pure and simple beauty, it is nostalgic and extremely long-awaited. Naturally, the most sensible thing to do when faced with the release of an album as emotionally important as “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is to maximize those emotions to the greatest possible extent. 

This is why I present you with 13 of the 30 tracks on “Red (Taylor’s Version),” each matched with a specific location on Vassar’s campus where the full emotional rollercoaster of the song can be truly felt. I suggest you, dear reader, take my advice and listen to these songs in their niche campus locations. It’s well worth it, I promise. I’ve tested all of them.

“State of Grace” — The balcony of the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences

There is no better location on Vassar’s campus to relish in a song about new beginnings and blossoming relationships than the Bridge’s balcony. You’ll be blessed with the lovely view of Skinner Hall of Music, a fresh breeze in the air and the wonderful atmosphere of STEM kids hard at work. Hold onto the railing and enjoy Ms. Swift serenading you about the possibilities of love.

The balcony of the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences, courtesy of Anna Terry.

“Red” — Skinner Recital Hall

A swift stroll from the balcony of the Bridge will land you in Skinner Hall itself. Enter, take a seat in the audience of the Recital Hall and listen to the title track from “Red (Taylor’s Version).”

“Treacherous” — The ledge facing the waterfall behind Sunset Lake

There is much to be appreciated about this spot and how the sound of the waterfall complements Ms. Swift’s chorus, “This slope is treacherous / this path is reckless / this slope is treacherous / I, I, I like it.” The slope is in fact treacherous. Don’t you dare slip sitting on the side. 

The ledge facing the waterfall behind Sunset Lake, courtesy of Anna Terry.

“22” — The Strong House laundry room

Hear me out, okay? The Strong laundry room has fantastic vibes. And these vibes impeccably match the pure adrenaline rush and overwhelmingly enthusiastic joy that is “22.” The outer space aesthetic and the general ambiance of Strong residents doing their laundry perfectly reflects the freedom, confusion and anticipation of early adulthood. 

“We Are Never Getting Back Together” — Rocky 300, by the windows

This song is a classic in the same way that Rocky 300 is a classic. 

“Holy Ground” — The third floor of the Deece

The third floor of the Deece is an underrated location. The ceiling is beautiful, there usually aren’t too many people there and you can look down on the rest of the second floor. It is also the perfect place to not only listen to, but also flop around to, a song as danceable as “Holy Ground.” 

“Sad Beautiful Tragic” -—The last pew in the upper section of the Chapel, underneath the circular stained glass window

This is a lovely and quiet place. Not only is it dark and hosts the wonderful smell of old wood and history, but it looks out over the rest of the Chapel. This song tells the story of a love affair that has since ended. The feelings of loneliness embedded throughout the lyrics are just that more emotional in the solitude of the chapel’s upstairs. 

“Begin Again” — The bench underneath the very large tree between Noyes and the AULA

A truly beautiful and underrated bench. It’s hidden away from any main path, and thus will give you a sense of privacy as you cry your eyes out to the concluding track on the original “Red” album. 

The bench underneath the very large tree between Noyes and the AULA, courtesy of Anna Terry

“The Moment I Knew” — The bench halfway down the Shakespeare Garden that doesn’t actually face the Shakespeare Garden, but looks back up at the stairs

A song about endings and the tragic true story of how Ms. Swift’s ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal (the album’s antagonist) didn’t show up to her 21st birthday party. Have a seat on this bench, aware of the beauty behind you. Stare up at the stairs before you, conscious of the heights you must climb to overcome the heartbreak.

“Come Back…Be Here” — The third stair down from the top of the staircase between the Vogelstein and the Studio Arts building

There is nothing that evokes the feeling of longing more than this stunning staircase. Take a seat on the third step from the top, gaze out at the pavement below and let yourself feel all of the feelings. 

The staircase between the Vogelstein and the Studio Arts building, courtesy of Anna Terry.

“The Very First Night” — The middle of Noyes Circle

There is nothing more freeing than standing in the center of Noyes Circle and, while I do not promote eardrum damage, cranking the volume all the way up and listening to the anthem of freedom and exhilaration that is “The Very First Night.”

“Nothing New” — The upstairs balcony hallway closest to the front of the library

Nothing like a little stunning architecture and an academic atmosphere to complement this gorgeous duet by Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers. All the burnt-out gifted kids will understand. Brace yourself on the railing and look out at the foliage through the windows. It will be okay!

The upstairs balcony hallway closest to the front of the library, courtesy of Anna Terry.

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” — Lying on the floor in the middle of the Rose Parlor

This song is pure emotion. All-encompassing, immensely cathartic, ebullient emotion. “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” demands a niche location as elegant and, well, red, as the Rose Parlor. But you cannot simply stand in the Rose Parlor and listen, nor can you take a seat on one of those beautifully upholstered chairs. You must lie on the floor, stare into the ceiling, maybe close your eyes for a few minutes and let these ten minutes overwhelm you.  

And now for one last closing note. For those who view the legions of Vassar Swifties as a strange breed of human, I advise three things: first, if you see a young adult with headphones in, walking around campus and crying, give them space. Let them have their moment. Second, take some time to listen to “Red (Taylor’s Version)” yourself. Let yourself cry. Third, make sure you hold onto your scarf. Be sure not to leave it at anyone’s sister’s house. 


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