Taylor Swift Brings Us Back to 2008 With Her Re-Recording of “Fearless”


Andy Colwell

Picture provided from Flickr.com due to Creative Commons License.

Miranda Miller, Sandscript Author

In 2018, Taylor Swift’s contract with Nashville-based label, Big Machine Records owned by Scott Borchetta, expired.  After the contract’s expiration, Swift signed with Republic Records, a label owned by Universal Music Group.  When Swift signed her original contract, she signed away the master rights to her first six albums.  Even though she does not own the master rights to her music, she still owns the publishing rights, which allows her to veto any proposal to use or exploit her music.  

In late 2020, Swift let her fans know that her music had been sold to a private equity company called Shamrock Holdings for upwards of $300 million, without her approval.  However, Big Machine Records does not have to obtain her consent because she does not own those rights.  Swift still obtains royalties from the money made from her music, however, she has no control over what her music is used for.  Following the sale of her music, Swift tweeted a message to her fans, informing them of why she was against this decision.  She explained that she was denied the ability to buy her own music and when she planned on performing her music at the American Music Awards, where she was awarded Artist of the Decade, she was denied until she agreed not to re-record her music to gain full rights.  

In November of 2020, Swift was given the opportunity to re-record her first six albums.  By doing this, Swift would own full rights to her music and dictate what would happen to her music and how it would be used.  Along with owning the rights, Swift’s hope is that her fanbase will stop listening to the tracks owned by Big Machine Records, which will allow the revenue to come to Swift, not her former label.  

In February of this year, Swift announced on her social media that she would be releasing the first of her re-recordings, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”.  Alongside the original 20 tracks, Swift also released six never before released songs “From The Vault” and one remix of “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)”.  “From The Vault” songs, are songs that were written at the time of the original release of “Fearless”, however, these songs were not released with the album.  None of Swift’s fan base has heard these songs, but with this release, they would finally have these songs.  

Reviewing these songs is difficult, due to the fact that they were already released before and mostly sound the same.  However, for hardcore Swifties (Taylor’s fanbase), the differences between the re-recordings and the originals are easy to point out.  The lyrics may be the same, but she sounds more mature and her sound has the essence of her past two albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore”.  The production quality is much higher due to the use of better equipment.  With revisiting these songs, she revisited how she felt during her teenage years when she wrote these songs.  Overall, the album has a new, mature sound.  Her voice is similar to her last two albums, but the overall sound brings you back to her 2008 “Fearless” era, filled with high school relationships and young love.  If you are a fan of her older music, this re-recording is definitely for you. 

Swift has released plenty of albums between the original release of “Fearless” and the re-record, her style and sound have changed along with the years.  She has experimented in at least three different genres of music, making her sound diverse.  Listening to the album not only reminds you of the original release but it shows how much she has grown, just by her tone and even with her initial sound.  A lot of Swiftites are excited because they are reliving their own “Fearless” phase.  I highly recommend listening to the whole album in its tracklist order in order to listen to a beautiful and intriguing cohesive story.  

The first vault song that was released was “You All Over Me (Taylor’s Version)”, which features Maren Morris on backing vocals. Their voices blend so seamlessly together and it is so incredible. I am obsessed with the soft drums and guitar. The lyrics are so touching and make you understand Taylor’s sadness. They bring together the song and the lyrics are ones that will touch anyone who has ever expressed heartbreak.  

The second vault song that was released was “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version)”, which  is an upbeat track that will have you up on your feet, dancing around your room, and screaming the lyrics. This song is confirmed to be about Swift’s former boyfriend, Joe Jonas, from The Jonas Brothers. The song is amazingly written and is a great song to make you feel better when you are feeling down. It is very bouncy and makes the best out of a hard breakup. This is in the top three of the best vault songs that Swift released. 

“We Were Happy (Taylor’s Version)” is a song that will take you back to her “Red” album era.  It has the essence of “All Too Well” and “Begin Again”, which are very depressing and talk about remembering a relationship that sadly did not work out.  Relationships do not always work out even if it seems like it will last forever.  It makes for a beautiful song.  The layered vocals and slow beat make the song something that is pleasing to listen to.  The story told by the lyrics takes you into another world and brings you into the mind of Taylor Swift.  

“That’s When (Taylor’s Version)” is a beautiful song featuring Keith Urban.  Swift has performed with Urban many times before, it was only a matter of time before they finally released a song together.  It is very sad and reminiscent but the lyrics are incredible.  This song is perfect when you are having a bad day.  It is wonderfully written and makes you feel like you are going through exactly what Swift writes about.  Urban and Swift’s voices blend together beautifully and bring the song to another level.  No matter if you are a Swiftie or an Urban fan, you will most likely love this song.  

“Don’t You (Taylor’s Version)” encompasses the hurt that comes from a breakup.  With the layered vocals in between lyrics and the mixed beat helps to bring a very melancholy feel to this incredibly beautiful song.  This song reminds me of something off of her last album “Evermore”.  The sound is almost a combination of “Fearless” and “Evermore” which is absolutely incredible.  This is one of the best vault songs that she released.

“Bye Bye Baby (Taylor’s Version)” is another song that tears at your heart.  The song reminisces about a relationship after you had broken up.  It is very sad but has a good beat and a bridge that you can sing with the windows of your car down.  You can almost hear the teenage version of Swift writing these lyrics and you understand the pain she felt.  

Overall, this re-record is fantastic and it brings back the old country Taylor Swift with a new style.  The production quality is much higher, which makes the sound much stronger than they were on the original tracks.  The new tracks create a fuller story and give the album more life.  An incredible part of Swift’s songwriting is the fact that she can pull the listener into another world and you imagine yourself in the position presented.  No matter what she chooses to write about or how she does it, the story is always relatable and incredible.  In addition, we get some of our old favorites such as “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” and we get to hear new songs and have new favorites.  Swift’s fan base can not wait to hear the re-recording of her other five albums.  One re-record down, five more to go before Miss Taylor Swift is able to officially own all of her music!