As the Dig’s resident Taylor Swift news reporter, I am so excited to finally be able to talk about Fearless (Taylor’s Version) which dropped April 9th 2021.
If you don’t know what it is or why the (Taylor’s Version) is in parenthesis, here is a brief description: In her amazing music career, Taylor Swift has released 9 albums including- Debut/ Taylor Swift (06), Fearless (08), Speak Now(2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014), Reputation (2017), Lover (2019), Folklore (2020) and Evermore (2020). Along with her wide variety of music, Swift has also gone through a tremendous amount of growth through her battle with Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta. Braun purchased Big Machine Records which had previously been Taylor’s record label up until Lover(2019) meaning Braun had ownership over all of her previous music. Swift was unable to perform her old music, and anytime someone wanted a license to Swift’s music, they had to go through Scooter Braun.
This year has been one of the biggest in Taylor Swift history. Not only did she release two albums within five months of each other, but she has been re-recording all of her old music, but this time with her own name on it. Even more exciting in my opinion are the “Vault” songs. The “Vault” songs are songs written for each individual album that either didn’t make the final album list or were never completed. So essentially, we are hearing all new songs from eras that have already passed.
Taylor’s first re-recorded album was Fearless (2008), now Fearless (Taylor’s Version). This album is known for Love Story, White Horse, and You Belong With Me, all classics of my childhood. Love Story (Taylor’s Version) was released early as a single, and as a preview for what was to come. One assumption I would like to address right away is that many people thought that the songs would sound different or new. That isn’t the point. They are still the same songs with the same lyrics, and they sound mostly the same (apart from Swift’s vocal growth over the years.) The point of these re-recordings is for Swift to regain ownership of the songs she put her heart and soul into throughout her career. One thing that makes her so special is her ability to exemplify her growth in her music. Fans refer to her various albums as “eras” because every time she releases one she has grown and learned from her past and taken on a new sort of persona. I have talked to a few people who didn’t fully understand the idea of these rerecordings. They expected modern twists or new sounds. It’s ok to be let down or not as excited for the re-recordings because if you’ve been listening all along, you’ve already heard these songs. I truly believe that the recordings are for Taylor and her team only, and it is cool to relive the releases of these albums. My absolute favorite part of the rerecordings is the “Vault” songs, because they are new to me, just with the old sounds that I grew up with.
As she releases more of her re-recorded albums I’ll go more in-depth with reviewing, but I think for this article it is important to explain what they are and what their purpose is, mostly for future reference. But I will talk about a few songs from Fearless (Taylor’s Version), both Vault and old.
#4 Hey Stephen: I don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion or not but this is one of my all-time favorites. In the Fearless era, it’s pretty rare for there to be this kind of a funny, flirty, almost giddy type of song. They aren’t all sad but Hey Stephen is definitely an outlier. My favorite line is “Hey Stephen I know looks can be deceiving but I know I saw a light in you.”
#7 Breathe (Featuring Colbie Caillat): I was soooo happy Colbie did the rerecording! I love Breathe. It’s so calming and classic Fearless. I’ve always pictured this song in one of those sad romance films where one of them gets sick and dies. (think Fault in Our Stars or Five Feet Apart). My favorite line, ironically, is “Music starts playing like the end of a sad movie.”
#10 The Way I Loved You: This is one of the best sing in the car songs. It wasn’t that popular in previous years but before the re-recordings even came about fans were starting to get into The Way I Loved You. If you like Sparks Fly from Speak Now, you’d like this. My favorite line is “so in love that you act insane, and that’s the way I loved you”.
#22 Mr. Perfectly Fine (From the vault!!): I have no shame in this one. This took me instantly back to listening to the original Fearless in elementary school. I think it is pretty cheesy, but that’s what makes the Vault songs so special. It’s a song being released in 2021 that sounds like 2008. Not to mention now that Invisible String (Folklore) was released with the line “For the boys who broke my heart, now I send their babies presents” about Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, and Mr. Perfectly Fine was written for 2008 Joe Jonas after his split with Taylor. My favorite line is “hello Mr. Casually Cruel, Mr. everything revolves around you,” for the All Too Well reference.
#23 We Were Happy (From the Vault): I love this one because it sounds so similar to Breathe and White Horse, which is what makes it unmistakably Fearless. The Vault songs from Fearless (Taylor’s Version) didn’t excite me too much, I’m probably most excited for 1989 and Red, but I do really like this one. My favorite line is “when it was good baby, it was good baby.”