Congratulations to Taylor Swift! The singer, whose album ‘Red‘ hits shelves today (Oct. 22), made both the cover of Billboard and history on its charts.

On the cover, Swift keeps it simple, if not necessarily flattering, in blue clam digger pants, a white striped sweater and unfortunate brown oxfords, with her blond hair in a bun. Anyone else sort of miss the ultra-glam Swift? We loved her curls, too — we could see more of her face that way! Not that she looks bad by any means, since that’s pretty much not possible when you have that kind of genetic material to work with. She poses with an old guitar, a testament to her sound and her maturity.

Speaking of that maturity, Swift told the mag, “For me, being 22 has been my favorite year of my life. I like all the possibilities of how you’re still learning, but you know enough,” she said. “You still know nothing, but you know that you know nothing. You’re old enough to start planning your life, but you’re young enough to know there are so many unanswered questions. That brings about a carefree feeling that is sort of based on indecision and fear and a the same time letting lose. Being 22 has taught me so much.”

Swift says that her age played a big role in her lyricism for ‘Red,’ as well as her outlook on life. “It’s all the different ways that you have to say goodbye to someone,” she said of the record’s themes. “When you’re experiencing the ups and downs of a relationship, especially when you’re 22 years old, they all strike you different ways. Every different kind of missing someone, every kind of loss — it all sounds different to me. When you are missing someone, time seems to move slower and when I’m falling in love with someone, time seems to be moving faster. So I think, because time seems to move so slow when I’m sad, that’s why I spend so much time writing songs about it. It seems like I have more hours in the day.”

That explains why, other than ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,’ most of Swift’s breakup tracks on ‘Red’ are slower songs: Because that’s how time is going when you’re down and out on love. One of those sad songs is particularly meaningful for Swift. “‘Sad Beautiful Tragic’ is really close to my heart,” she revealed. “I remember it was after a show and I was on the bus thinking about this relationship that ended months and months before. The feeling wasn’t sadness and anger or those things anymore. It was wistful loss,” she sighed. “And so I just got my guitar and I hit on the fact that I was thinking in terms of rhyming; I rhymed magic with tragic, changed a few things and ended it with what a sad beautiful tragic love affair. I wanted to tell the story in terms of a cloudy recollection of what went wrong. It’s kind of the murky gray, looking back on something you can’t change or get back.”

On a brighter note, Swift is planning to tour in support of ‘Red,’ and she’s promising big things for it. “I know it will be theatrical, but different than the Speak Now tour,” she said. “It felt like we put on a play every night.” In terms of what songs you’ll hear, Swift promises also to include old favorites with new ones. “I like when I go to a concert and the artist respects what the people’s favorite songs are. I’m going to be playing ‘Love Story’ for the rest of my career because the fans really like it. If I ever get sick of it, I would continue to play it at my shows,” she assured. “You have to, as an artist, remember your experiences as a fan. And as a fan you heard the song in your bedroom, you played it over and over again, you know where the fiddle part is, you know where the banjo part is and you like the way it is sung on the record. I don’t see me altering the way my previous work sounds live because people want to hear it the way they heard it on record,” she explained.

Still, there will be some tricks up Swift’s sleeve. “That being said, we’ve done some fun mash-ups,” she said. “Sometimes it’s fun to weave someone else’s song into your song as a surprise. I’m always balancing — how much new material do people want to hear, how much old material — and at the end of the day I’m trying to put on a show that accurately represents where I am now.”

Where she is now happens to be in the record books. After a mere six years on the Billboard charts, ABC News reports that Swift has her 50th — yes, five-zero — charting song on the Hot 100, an achievement few could even dream of, let alone accomplish. ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ pushed Swift over the edge, landing her in elite company with Connie Francis, Aretha Franklin (who has the second fastest record for 14 years, six months and three weeks), Madonna and Dionne Warwick. However, it’s important to note that part of Swift’s speedy success is due to her charting of unofficial singles, something the other ladies didn’t have on their sides. Still, it’s something to be proud of.

Something else to smile about? ‘Red’ is predicted to sell between 900,000 and 1 million copies in its opening week!

Watch the Taylor Swift ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ Video