by Grace Whitman ’22 A&E Staff
Her country twang might be gone, but Taylor Swift sent millions of fans back to 2008 with her latest release. You may have laid awake excitedly waiting for midnight to listen to Taylor Swift’s re-recorded version of the entire platinum edition of her second album, Fearless. By remaking some of her most famous songs, like “Love Story” and “White Horse,” Swift brought her classic album not only a more mature sound, but an improved production quality as well. Her voice has become much more polished since 2008, but the entire album sounds nearly identical to her original release, even keeping a subtle giggle in “Hey Stephen.” The remade album stays true to the original but possesses evidently smoother and stronger vocals than ever before.
Adding “Taylor’s version” to the album title and each song is a nod to how Swift has full creative control and ownership over her music since her contract with Big Machine Records and Scooter Braun expired in 2018. Swift’s music is timeless, and her decision to re-record her songs has fans loving her art even more. In addition to the re-recordings, Swift also put out six unreleased songs “from the vault” originally written in 2008.
The first song from the vault, “You All Over Me,” features Maren Morris singing backup vocals. This soft country ballad perfectly blends Swift’s Fearless era story with the sound of her new albums folklore and evermore.
Next, “Mr. Perfectly Fine” is the first breakup song that listeners have heard in years from Swift. Flashing back to her life as an 18-year-old, “Mr. Perfectly Fine” refers to her ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas, whom she dated in 2008. Including lyrics like “Mr. Never Told You Why, Mr. Never Had to See Me Cry,” Swift seems to be making a reference to how Jonas allegedly broke up with her in a 27-second phone call. The subtle rock tones accompanied by upbeat drums is catchy to the ear and makes anyone want to sing along.
“We Were Happy” may have the word happy in the title, but the storyline will put listeners in an emotional state as Swift sings about how she fell out of love with someone she saw herself marrying one day.
The fourth song from the vault, “That›s When,” features Keith Urban. Including one of country music›s sharpest voices, this song is the perfect duet to be included on Fearless. Over a decade after Swift opened for Urban on his 2009 Escape Together tour, the two artists collaborated to tell a story from both sides of a romantic relationship that fell apart.
“Don’t You” did not make the final cut on Fearless but perfectly complements her current discography, as it is the combination of Fearless-era country Taylor Swift and modern-day pop Taylor Swift. With electric guitars and drums heard in the background, this song showcases Swift’s musical growth since the original album was released.
The 26th (13—Swift’s lucky number—times two) and final song on the album is titled “Bye Bye Bye.” If included on the original album, it would have been a perfect radio song. But even today, you will find this catchy song stuck in your head.
Overall, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the beginning of Swift finally taking ownership of the art that she made and telling her story without censorship and need for management approval. Re-recordings from five of her other albums like Speak Now and Red will be slowly released over the next two years.