Taylor Swift turned 23 right before Christmas. A lot is made of how, at that age, she "should" be acting more like a woman, less like a girl, and the new video for Red's bouncy "22" won't allay such criticisms — hell, in her introduction for the clip's Good Morning America premiere, the singer-songwriter reveals she still has a lucky number (13, by the way — today's date). But the video, which Swift said she shot last month in Malibu, California, with her real-life best friends, doesn't need to impress haters.
Swift has already sold more than a half-million copies of her excellent late-2012 album, but the song and its visuals have the butterflies-tinged mix of joy and confusion that many will recognize from that post-collegiate age. Rather than couch this feeling in the knowing irony of a show like HBO's Girls (did you catch the John Mayer in the background when Hannah visited her hometown in season one?), Swift seizes the chance for some of the whimsy her fans love and her detractors find risible. She wears heart-shaped sunglasses, lounges by the beach, throws a dance party wearing an animal-ear headband, and, yes, has to deal with "cool kids" who ask, "Who's Taylor Swift, anyway?" Who doesn't know who Taylor Swift is, anyway?
"22" is also one of a couple of Red songs — the more manic-sounding "Stay Stay Stay" is another — that bring to mind a radio-ready gloss on the kind of indie records that were always meant for a bigger audience than those cool kids: specifically, the earnest Swedish singer-songwriter Annika Norlin's overlooked 2005 Introducing Hello Saferide. Bring that one along in the car when you catch Swift on her tour, which starts tonight in Omaha, Nebraska.
Watch the "22" video here.