It’s no secret that Taylor Swift is recording all of her albums that are owned by her former record label Big Machine Records. Her reasons for this have been discussed time and time again. The first re-record “Fearless” came out this spring and as a long-time, die-hard Taylor fan it was everything I could have hoped for. The album featured all the original tracks, bonus tracks, unreleased “from the vault” songs, and the one-off track “Today For A Fairytale”. A few weeks ago Taylor announced that her next re-release would be 2012’s “Red”. “Red” will be released on November 19, 2021.
It can be assumed that the album, which will feature 30 songs, will share a similar format as “Fearless”. The standard album featured 16 tracks and the deluxe album had 6 additional tracks, although 3 of those were demo recordings of other songs on the album so those may be omitted. A widely talked about 10-minute version of the fan’s and critic’s favorite song “All Too Well” is all but confirmed to be on the album as well. Fans also speculate that two songs Taylor wrote but were recorded by other artists, Little Big Town’s “Better Man” and Sugarland’s “Babe” will be included. But now we have confirmation that another track will be included. And if you weren’t a die-hard fan during the Red era it is a song you may not have ever heard of. The track is called “Ronan” and it is one of, if not the most, heartbreaking songs Taylor has ever recorded.
Taylor wrote the song after reading the blog of Maya Thompson, a mother who documented the journey of her 5-year-old son Ronan and his battle and ultimately his death from neuroblastoma, a form of brain cancer. The song, which Thompson has writing credit on, tells Ronan’s story as well as Maya’s heartbreak. It was performed at a 2012 Stand Up To Cancer Event and all proceeds from the song were donated to cancer research. The song is beautiful, but also tragic and somewhat painful to listen to. Since the song was performed during the original Red era fans wondered if it would be included in the re-release. After teasing the subject in a few social media posts recently Maya confirmed today on her blog “RockstarRonan” that the song would be a part of the project.
In the post, she details how Taylor’s publicist Tree Paine called and left her a voicemail ultimately wanting to confirm her email address for Taylor to reach out. She posted an exert of that email on her blog:
“I’ve recently completed the re-recording of my 4th album, Red. It’s really exceeded my expectations in so many ways, and one of those ways is that I thought it would be appropriate to add ‘Ronan’ to this album. Red was an album of heartbreak and healing, of rage and rawness, of tragedy and trauma, and of the loss of an imagined future alongside someone. I wrote Ronan while I was making Red and discovered your story as you so honestly and devastatingly told it. My genuine hope is that you’ll agree with me that this song should be included on this album. As my co-writer and the rightful owner of this story in its entirety, your opinion and approval of this idea really matters to me, and I’ll honor your wishes here.”
She says it took a while for everything to sink in, but once it did she called Tree back and gave her permission for the song to be included.
“I told her of course, Taylor had my permission to put ‘Ronan’ on Red. I tried my best to articulate how much this meant to me through my tears, but there are not enough words in the English language that will ever be able to appropriately convey my feelings about this.”
Hopefully, the inclusion of Ronan on Red Taylor’s Version will bring even more awareness to the horrors of childhood cancer. Red Taylor’s Version will be out everywhere on November 19th.