The year is 2008. You pop Taylor Swift’s Fearless into your CD player, and you hear the snare drum that commences the album’s titular song.
Flash forward to 2021, and the singer has re-recorded her second studio album after a copyright dispute with her old record label, Big Machine Records. She released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) on April 9. The album artwork features 31-year-old Swift recreating the iconic Fearless hair flip.
The 2021 re-recorded album comes equipped with not only all the tracks and bonus songs from the original album, but also six “vault songs.” Altogether, the album comes out to 27 tracks on two discs. The “vault songs” were written for the 2008 album but did not make the final cut. They include “You All Over Me,” “Mr. Perfectly Fine” (my personal favorite), “We Were Happy,” “That’s When” (featuring Keith Urban), “Don’t You,” and “Bye Bye Baby.” These songs give off the perfect Fearless vibes, featuring the acoustic, country-pop sound that defines the beloved, Grammy-award-winning album.
If you have been listening to Taylor Swift for a while, you would notice the subtle changes in her voice after 13 years while listening to the re-recorded songs. Her voice loses the teenage charm from the original album, yet gains a newfound maturity. Her higher voice on the 2008 album matched the youthful themes of the songs. 19-year-old Taylor sang in the moment, while 31-year-old Taylor reflects back on the life experiences that Fearless takes us through.
Swift has re-re-recorded her other five albums that were released under Big Machine Records—Taylor Swift (2006), Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014), and reputation (2017). By releasing Fearless before her debut self-titled album, it’s obvious that she’s re-releasing her albums out of order. We don’t know which album is next, but fans are speculating 1989 due to some subtle hints she’s been dropping in interviews and on social media.
By re-recording her old music with her new label, Republic Records, Taylor Swift is sending a message to musicians everywhere that they should be the rightful owners of their work.
PHOTO TAKEN by Melissa Badamo