Taking control of her own narrative, Taylor Swift has made one of the biggest power moves in music politics history. Deciding to re-record all of her albums released under Big Machine Records so she can own the royalties and rights to them, this will see the de-valuing of the original recordings that were bought by Scooter Braun from behind her back. It’s a big task to undertake, but with a global standstill on touring due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, she has some time to really dive into it.
Giving an incentive to fans to listen to the new recordings, she’s opening up the vault to unveil some unreleased songs that didn’t get to have their moment on the original album. The first record to get the ‘Taylor’s Version’ treatment is the breakthrough album ‘Fearless’, and there’s never been a better time to be a Swiftie.
Recapturing the innocence and euphoric feeling that the original record embodied, ‘Taylor’s Version’ has that youthfulness injected right back into the album 13 years later. Her vocals have clearly matured as she’s gotten older and she’s become a stronger vocalist through the six albums she’s done in the meantime. But she still taps into that freshness that this record was so brightly centred around.
Title track ‘Fearless’ is still a clear standout as well as the coming of age ‘Fifteen’, the anthemic ‘You Belong With Me’, and the emotional ‘The Best Day’ and ‘Forever & Always’. But with all these re-recording’s the most exciting part of the new listening experience is hearing the previously unreleased songs and where they fit within the narrative of the original album. So here are our first thoughts on the songs from the vault.
‘You All Over Me’ featuring Maren Morris
‘You All Over Me’ is a classic Taylor Swift break up song. It’s romantic, emotional and retrospective, and will have you missing someone even if you don’t actually have anyone to miss.
Teaming up with Maren Morris to bring this song into a new sonical perspective, they deliver light country-pop melodies that nostalgically feels like classic ‘Fearless’ era and simultaneously ties in to the recent folk experimentation behind ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’. Morris’ vocals intertwines so beautifully with Swift’s, and it feels like such a natural collaboration.
‘Mr. Perfectly Fine’
WHAT A SONG! ‘Mr. Perfectly Fine’ is a track that will leave you immediately devastated that you’ve had this song hidden from you for 13 years. It’s a classic Taylor Swift banger, and one that you’ll scream with every bit of teen angst inside of you even if you are in your late 20’s now.
Reflecting on a breakup where you’re left picking up the pieces, you watch your ex move on looking unfazed by it all and question why. And that is a RELATABLE mood. “Cause I hear he’s got his arm ’round a brand-new girl, I’ve been picking up my heart, he’s been picking up her. And I never got past what you put me through, but it’s wonderful to see that it never phased you” she honestly sings.
‘We Were Happy’
With a melody that is reminiscent of ’Teardrops On My Guitar’ during the verses, ‘We Were Happy’ is a retrospective track that is all about the guilt of falling out of love with someone.
“When it was good, baby, it was good, baby. We showed ’em all up. No one could touch the way we laughed in the dark” she candidly sings. It’s a track that will have you thinking of your ex in a happy light, even if you don’t want to, or haven’t thought of them in a long time. So if you fall into that category, then, thanks Taylor.
‘That’s When’ featuring Keith Urban
If baby Taylor could’ve had a Keith Urban feature on this album then I feel like she may have exploded from excitement. So seeing him placed on this track is so wholesome and exciting. It’s also an immediate highlight from the new songs with its soft and warm melody. It’s a super cute and comforting track that really embodies the essence of ‘Fearless’.
Revisiting the pain of a break-up after running into your ex, ‘Don’t You’ is a song that is going to have a lot of fans confiding in for comfort. It’s another perspective of the storyline of ‘Mr Perfectly Fine’, and it takes more of an emotional approach. “Don’t you, don’t you, smile at me and ask me how I’ve been. Don’t you say you’ve missed me if you don’t want me again”. This is a slow burner, but definitely a favourite after a few listens.
‘Bye Bye Baby’
‘Bye Bye Baby’ is the only song from the vault selections that I felt like could’ve remained being unreleased. It just feels really immature and of a lesser quality of the other tracks. But I guess that is the whole concept of this release as it’s a rediscovery of a moment in time. But yeah, this is my only skip track.