Swift dives ‘fearlessly’ into rerecording


Brooke J. Freundschuh

Taylor Swift, named by Billboard as the artist of the decade, has a song that everyone knows. It may not be the same for everyone, but whether it is “Love Story” or “Shake it Off,” one might be hard-pressed to find someone with no knowledge of Swift or her musical catalogue. 

Billie Eilish even made the news recently for not knowing that one of her childhood favorites, “Picture to Burn” was a Swift track.

In 2019, Swift left her long-time record label, Big Machine Records, that was formerly owned by Scott Borchetta. Although she had fought to own the masters to her music, the rights to her first six records were bought by Scooter Braun. Braun has since sold her catalogue to an investment fund, but she is unable to obtain the rights herself. 

As a comeback and a reclamation of the beloved songs that made her the songstress of my generation, Swift is in the process of rerecording her first five albums.

She started by releasing “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” on April 9. 

In this 26 song collection, Swift sings all of the original thirteen tracks from her Grammy award winning album, as well as the bonus tracks that were later released on “Fearless: Platinum Edition.”

As an added bonus, Swift released the her song “Today was a Fairytale” from the movie “Valentine’s Day” as well as six never before heard tracks, which she refers to as “tracks from the vault” or songs she wrote at the time that were never recorded or released. The first of those, “You All Over Me” features Marren Morris and “Don’t You” features Keith Urban, whom Swift opened for at the beginning of the original “Fearless” era in 2008. 

“Fearless” is the first album I ever purchased. I bought the original CD with my Christmas money in 2008, having just turned seven years old. I know the record from back to front, and it was undoubtedly a formative part of my childhood. It goes without saying that this release was very important to me. 

The original 13 tracks sound almost no different, although the listener can definitely hear the way Swift’s voice has strengthened and matured over the last 13 years. As someone who listened to it many times, I notice even the slightest changes in vocal inflection and pronunciation.

“Today was a Fairytale” has always been a favorite of mine and one that I would have to scour Youtube to find as a child, so its inclusion on “Taylor’s Version” made me incredibly happy. The platinum edition song “The Other side of the Door” is another old favorite of mine and I am absolutely living for the rerecorded version. 

“Taylor’s Version” sounds more polished and advanced than the original recordings, but without a Swift-trained ear, the differences are mild. 

As many fans have mentioned, there is a certain youthful charm to her immature voice singing the original recordings, perhaps a sentiment that could have only been captured at that time, however, it is powerful to hear her as an adult singing her work, well, fearlessly. 

Perhaps the biggest head-turner was the vault track “Mr. Perfectly Fine” that Swift released prior to the official album release. “Mr.Perfectly Fine, like many others on the album was penned in 2007 about none other than Taylor’s first famous ex, Mr. Joe Jonas. 

It is clear that Swift and Jonas have long since mended the wounds left by their 20 second breakup phone call. (Yes, this is real. Look it up.) The two were seen together on a group date with their then-partners in 2015, and Swift references sending him presents when his baby girl, Willa, was born in her 2020 track, “invisible string.” 

Sophie Turner, Jonas’ wife shared a screenshot of the song to her Instagram story, captioning it, “its not NOT a bop,” gaining the attention and admiration of many fans. 

My favorite of the newly released tracks is “We Were Happy.” Although simple, this song captures so much of the innocence and the aesthetic of the original “Fearless” era for me. I can close my eyes and be seven years old again, which sometimes I truly need in the busy age of work and finals. 

“Fearless,” is a symbol in my life and I am overjoyed that Swift has reclaimed it as her own, proving further that she is my favorite artist and hero.