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cheek by jowl

Red vs. R.E.D.: Taylor Swift and Ne-Yo Have a Lot in Common

Last month, a little album called Red was released into the world and promptly sold 1.2 million albums, making Taylor Swift your 2012 Pop Music Champion. This week, in what surely cannot be a case of poor promotional timing, another album named R.E.D. hit the shelves. Ne-Yo's version is technically an acronym — it stands for "Realizing Every Dream" — but the two titles are not a coincidence. Red is a statement color; Red means the same thing to both Taylor and Ne-Yo, and their albums share more than you might expect. Look, we made a chart to prove it.

 
Taylor Swift

Ne-Yo
What is the album's title again? Red R.E.D.
Got it. What is that color supposed to represent? The artist's intense commitment to being in love (and also maybe synesthesia). The artist's intense commitment to making love (and also making dreams a reality, etc.)
Is the artist singing to anyone in particular? Her exes, for the most part. His exes and soon-to-be-exes.
Does he or she have any regrets? Oh god, so many. She wishes she had known better; she wishes she'd worn high heels; she wishes Jake would just return her scarf already. He wishes he hadn't spent 40K in the club that one time. (He's also a little bummed about a couple break-ups.)
But was all that the artist's fault, or the ex's fault? Yeah, definitely Jake Gyllenhaal's fault. From "She Is": "Ask me who's responsible for this, she is." And from "Forever Now" : "Everything you said we would be / all the things you said we'd do." Her fault!
How is he or she dealing with the pain? By going on coffee dates with other dudes. By going to the bedroom with other ladies.
Is there a country influence? Yes. (Though less than you'd expect, coming from Swift.) Why yes, there actually is (in the form of a duet with Tim McGraw.)
How about sex? Any sex on this album? Do you count the lines "I'll do anything you say / if you say it with your hands" ? Then yes. Uh, yeah.
Tell me about their beverage choices. Maple lattes. Chardonnay.
Do people use their phones responsibly? No. Lots of post-break-up calls. No. (The woman in "Carry On" keeps calling and calling.)
But will our heroes give up on love? Never! (Ever!) See: "Begin Again." Never! See: the slowjam half of this album.