Review: Taylor Swift is truly Fearless: Taking Back Her Album By Re-recording It, “Taylor’s Version”

It’s official! Taylor Swift has released her first re-recorded album for her sophomore album Fearless, with six brand new songs, “from the vault.”

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Courtesy of Republic Records

The album cover for Taylor Swift’s newest re-release of her second studio album “Fearless.”

by Alexandra Will, Staff Writer

Fans have been blessed with two surprise albums from Taylor Swift in the past year, and now get to go through all the emotions again with the re-release of “Fearless,” which includes all 19 songs from “Fearless Platinum Edition,” bonus song “Today Was A Fairytale,” and six new songs “from the vault.” 

These were songs Swift recorded at the time of her 2008 edition of “Fearless” but didn’t make the album, and she has now re-recorded them for “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” 

We now get to relive the feeling from when we were children and jamming out to “Fearless” (personally I was eight when it first released and am now 21), but the meaning is completely different. We’re now 12.5 years older and have been through heartbreak, career struggles, and rough days—so it’s a unique feeling to listen to this album again for the first time having experienced so much more of life and being able to relate to the songs.

This decision to re-record wasn’t monetary. In August 2019, Taylor announced she would re-record her first six albums after hearing her masters were sold to Scooter Braun, a record executive and manager, who had allegedly bullied Taylor throughout the years. She talked about how she had been trying to gain ownership of her old recordings but ultimately decided to leave the Big Machine Records label and sign with Universal Music Group. 

Big Machine had said she could only earn the rights to her masters if she signed a new contract with them and could earn back one old album at a time with each new one she turned in. Taylor was infuriated by the fact that the recordings were sold to Scooter, and claimed “he knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever” (you can view her post here). 

In November 2019 she was awarded artist of the decade at the American Music Awards but claimed that the old label told her that she wasn’t allowed to perform her old songs and upload them online, which they denied ever happened. Her contract allowed her to re-record the first five albums after November 2020 – with her needing to wait until late 2022 to re-record her sixth album, “Reputation.” By re-recording her albums, she would now own those new recordings and have the freedom to do whatever she wishes with them.

In her 2020 Netflix “Miss Americana” documentary, Taylor talked about how growing up she was told to be silent about a lot of issues to protect her career, but she started voicing her opinion and views in the 2016 presidential election and Tennessee midterm election. From there on, Taylor said she’d speak up about issues of importance to her because she didn’t want to be silenced, following the title of her album – “Fearless.” 

She’s an independent and strong woman who is very inspirational to young girls, not only because of the extreme success she’s had following her dreams and her creativity, writing all her songs. She shows this by standing up to big male business executives who have walked all over and taken advantage of their artists for too long.

With this album, there is an emphasis on how it is “Taylor’s Version.” All these albums have (Taylor’s Version) added to the title, representing how Taylor now owns all the rights and is free from being owned by big music executives who had not respected her in the past. The new songs “from the vault” include “You All Over Me” featuring Maren Morris, “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” “We Were Happy,” “That’s When” featuring Keith Urban, “Don’t You,” and “Bye Bye Baby.

In “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” her voice is more mature and refined. Her vocals have improved and are smoother, but we will still always love the country twang Taylor put on the original “Fearless” and the true emotions you can hear in her voice. While the album is the same for the most part, there are subtle changes in the old songs in her tone, key changes, and stronger instruments.

Mr. Perfectly Fine” is personally a favorite of mine as it’s an upbeat breakup song, the type I will definitely be screaming in the car. She did a surprise release of this song the day before releasing “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” and fans believe it is about Joe Jonas who broke up with her in a 25-second phone call in 2008. They are on good terms now, but fans loved when Sophie Turner, Joe’s wife, threw shade at a younger Joe by posting the song on her Instagram stories and calling it a bop.

It’s also great hearing Taylor sing these songs about heartbreak again, given that she is now in a healthy and strong relationship with Joe Alwyn, with who she wrote some songs off “Folklore” and “Evermore” in quarantine. She’s singing these songs from when she was young and vulnerable, but fans are happy that she’s now been in a happy relationship with Alwyn for more than four years.

Taylor has one of the strongest fan bases and the album is doing extremely well in its first days, even though fans have already heard the original. “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” reached the spot of the number one album in the US on the iTunes charts in less than five minutes. She’s breaking records as her new album reached number one on the U.S. Apple Music charts on its release day, making Swift the first female country musician to top the streaming service’s rankings. 

The album is dominating the Apple Music country charts, which fans get a kick out of after she received hate for leaving country music in 2013, and she was even disrespected in December 2020 when she was replaced on the Tennessee “Legends Corner” mural with Brad Paisley. With nine of her ten albums, she’s the artist with the most albums to sell more than 500k copies in their debut weeks.

With the first re-release out, fans are anxiously awaiting the re-records from five of her other albums – “Taylor Swift,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989” and “Reputation. The most exciting part is that fans will get to hear never-before-heard songs “from the vault” in the style of each of her old albums and eras. Given that Taylor is known for being the “queen of bridges,” I’m most excited to hear vault bridges from 1989 and “Reputation” and hope that we’re blessed with the secret 10 minute extended version of her hit “All Too Well” from “Red,” which is arguably one of her best songs because of the raw-emotion in the bridge.

Taylor is known for leaving lots of Easter eggs for her fans and left a coded message hinting that this album would release April 9. Swifties have gotten really good at decoding these messages and are already working to figure out what album Taylor will release next.

I know that I will be listening to “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” on streaming services to support her as an artist and her decision to re-record, but will still appreciate the original recording too. So jump right in and listen to her new album, “head first, Fearless.

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