On the evening of the release of her fourth album, Red, Taylor Swift pit-stopped at Manhattan's Skylight West to celebrate her partnership with Target for an exclusive deluxe edition that features three bonus studio cuts, two original demos and an acoustic version of album opener "State of Grace."
Throngs of select teenage fans and corporate types mulled about the red-and-white hued space inspecting a dozen booths of Swift's "favorite things," including a candy buffet, photo stations and a CoverGirl makeup bar. Attendees convened at the lip of the main stage in anticipation of the country-pop princess' arrival listening to Red jams, including the sprightly "22" and the Nashville-cured "All Too Well."
Following a brief introduction from TV personality Ross Matthews, the milk-voiced star emerged to greet fans who traveled from as far as Australia and Arizona. Sporting a sharp black cocktail dress and a severe fringe, Swift explained that she settled on the title for Red – which is saturated in tales from the romantic brink, including lead single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" – because it captures the breadth of feelings she experienced during the two years she recorded it.
"Red, to me, is symbolic of really bold emotions, whether they be love emotions or hurt, anger, frustration, jealousy emotions. On either side, you're feeling the most intense amount of emotion," explained Swift, who wrote 30 to 35 songs for the project. "So these are really intense emotions for my songs, and I thought that would be the perfect title for it. I went to my record label and I was like, 'I want to call my album Red.' They shook their heads and said, 'Target's going to love this.' And here we are!"
In the spirit of corporate cozying, Swift fielded questions from Twitter followers, including "What's the one word to describe how you're feeling today?" (Answer: "mystified.") The 22-year-old bopped along to the crunch-pop anthem "Girl at Home" and shed some insight into one of her patented John Doe breakup ballads, "The Moment I Knew."
"That song is about the worst birthday party I ever had," she said. "My boyfriend just decided not to show up. And then we broke up. That's the story! It's going to be fine, I'll be OK."
Referring to songwriting as her at-home therapy, the bubbly blonde waxed melancholy with the bonus track "Come Back . . . Be Here," a lesson in failing to take your own romantic advice. "It's a song I wrote about a guy that I met, and then you meet someone and then they kind of have to go away, and it's long distance all of a sudden," says Swift, who bemoans her intercontinental fling on the mid-tempo cut. "You're like, come back! Be here! It's something I face constantly."
With upcoming appearances on The View and The Late Show with David Letterman, Swift capped the evening with a moment of gratitude. "I didn't think I had a shot at this," she admitted. "But the thing about a song is that it's a little message in a bottle, and you write something and you send it out into the world and maybe, someday, the person that you wrote that about, the person that you feel that about, might hear it. It's kind of romantic."