“Taylor doesn’t realize this, but she is making everyone’s year better.”
This is the top comment (as of press time) on Taylor’s new music video released February 12, with over 714 thumbs up. And the commenter, Among us Gaming with DM, isn’t wrong – Taylor is single-handedly saving 2021 with her new (old) music.
Finally re-recording her old music
In 2019 (well over a full year ago now), Taylor shared that she was planning on re-recording all of her older music that she no longer owned the rights to. When I say all, I mean her first 6 albums – Taylor Swift, Fearless, SPeak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation.
That’s… a lot of music. With Taylor being the powerhouse of pop that she is right now, it’s no surprise that we haven’t heard a ton about this project since then. In 2020, Taylor dropped not one but two surprise albums, Folklore, and Evermore.
While Evermore isn’t my favorite T-Swift album to come out, I could listen to Folklore all day, and I like the direction she’s taking. Taylor said that her writing style of pulling from her own life and experiences was unsustainable, and in these new albums, she tries to experiment with storytelling outside of her life or the life of friends.
In short: Taylor has changed a lot since she released her first CD at just 16, and swept the charts with singles like Tim McGraw and Teardrops on my Guitar. Can she re-capture her teen angst now, as an adult?
We’re about to find out – because she has finally announced she started the project in earnest. February 12, Taylor dropped Love Story (Taylor’s Version), and promised that the full re-recorded Fearless album will come out this April.
Why does she need to re-record her songs?
Alright, buckle up, folks – I’m going to offer the condensed version, but this is still a long story. If you’d like a deeper dive, Zoe Jewell wrote all about it here in November of last year.
Basically, because of her record deal with Big Machine Records, her previous label, Swift does not own the rights to her masters. Before she jumped ship from BMR, Swift really wanted to purchase her masters because, well… they are her songs. Swift co-wrote every single one of her songs, and they obviously mean something to her.
BMR would not let Swift buy her masters, so she left without them… and then BMR sold her masters to Scooter Braun, for $300 million. She was never offered the deal Braun got.
“For years, I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my own work,” Taylor wrote in a heartfelt Tweet. “Instead, I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in.”
After Braun got a hold of Swift’s masters, he sold them… but not to her. Despite Swift’s team trying to make a deal with Braun, she was wildly uncomfortable with the terms of the sale, and the masters ended up in the hands of Shamrock Holdings. Swift had no knowledge of the sale.
It’s complicated by the fact that Braun and Swift have serious baggage together.
“I learned about Scoot Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world,” Taylor shared in June. “All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.”
Braun manages some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Kanye West, who Swift has long had a beef with, and Justin Bieber. I’m not going to into the problems she has with these two (including the naked wax figure of her in one of West’s videos), but it’s not great – and it seems like Braun has spurred it on.
The short of it is, Swift was absolutely livid that Braun got her masters, and she believes it was done on purpose to continue to “control” her even after she left the record label.
More about Fearless
I find it interesting that instead of recording the CD’s in order, Swift skipped over her debut album to hit Fearless instead. I’m not complaining, though – Fearless is more mature than Taylor Swift, even though it was still clearly written by a teenager, and it’s got some classic Swift singles.
The biggest thing I’m excited about? In a Tweet, Swift shared that we’re not just getting the re-recordings of the album as we know it, but it’s going to include 6 brand new, never-before-heard songs from “the vault”.
It’s pretty common for singers to record, or write, more songs than what end up on an album. You could write 20 songs for an album, record 18 of them, but only 13 end up making it due to a variety of issues.
This new music from her past is going to be a lot of fun to explore, and I know I’m not the only Swiftie looking forward to seeing what she has in store for Fearless… and Red. Can we get to Red next, please, Taylor?!
Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which is the updated CD name, should drop in April of this year. It will include 26 songs, and you can pre-order to album, in physical, digital, or vinyl, on Taylor Swift’s official merch page.
I’ve listened to Love Story (Taylor’s Version) a few times this morning, and I’ve thought a lot about the differences between the original and the new version. Her voice is obviously more mature, and the feeling she puts into the song is a lot different.
I’m interested to see how her other singles from the album change as well. Fearless gives us singles like the title track, White Horse, and You Belong to Me.
Hopefully this year we’ll get another re-recorded album drop, but for now, I’ll be listening to Folklore on repeat (yes, still) and counting down the days.
Bonus: hidden imagery
As a little bonus, I’d like to include the full promo image Taylor is using for Fearless (Taylor’s Version), and the Love Story (Taylor’s Version) single. You know how much Taylor likes to hide things in her music videos and promotional materials, so this isn’t a stretch.
If you remember from the OG Love Story music video, Taylor’s “Romeo” is wearing a shirt… just like this one.
Is Taylor suggesting that now, as she has aged, she doesn’t need a man – she can be her own Romeo, to save her own self? That as a strong, mature woman, she’s completely capable of ‘saving’ herself?
Gosh, I hope so.