Like many other Taylor Swift fans, I’ve been waiting for the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) for a very long time. In order to finally own her music, Swift is re-recording all previous albums that Big Machine, her old record label, refused to allow her to buy the masters for. One of the best things to come from the absolutely horrible mess is the new songs it has allowed us to hear. Along with the re-recordings of the original songs on the album, Swift is releasing “vault songs” with every new Taylor’s Version album.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which was released on April 9th, gifted us with six never-released songs written at the time of the original release of Fearless in 2008. Each one was left off the original album for one reason or another (likely for being too slow, or for not wanting the album to have too many breakup songs), but fans now get to hear these snippets of 2008 finally sung in 2021. All the vault songs are great in their own ways, but here’s my ranking, from least favorite to favorite.
- "Don’t You"
This song seems like a slower, more boring version of “Mr. Perfectly Fine.” Both are about an ex moving on from a breakup more quickly than the narrator of the song, but “Don’t You,” while a bit more lyrically advanced, just isn’t that interesting.
Best lyrics: “But 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”
- "Bye Bye Baby"
Maybe this song is cursed by taking the last place spot on a 26 song, 1 hour 46 minute album, but something about it is just a bit forgettable. It gains points for including allusions to rainy weather like a lot of other songs on Fearless.
Best lyrics: “It wasn't just like a movie / The rain didn't soak through my clothes, down to my skin."
- "You All Over Me (featuring Maren Morris)"
This might be the best vault song if I was judging them only lyrically. I love Maren Morris’ backup vocals, and I love the way the opening line alludes to the opening line of the song “Fearless.” On “Fearless,” the song opens with the lyric: “There’s something ‘bout the way / the street looks when it’s just rained” and “You All Over Me” begins with: “Once the last drop of rain has dried off the pavement.”
Best lyrics: “You find graffiti on the walls of old bathroom stalls / You know, you can scratch it right off, it's how it used to be / But like the dollar in your pocket, it's been spent and traded in."
- "We Were Happy"
Oh boy, this song emotionally ruins me. “We Were Happy” is a nostalgic song in which the narrator reflects on having to end a good relationship because they’ve simply fallen out of love. It’s heartbreakingly sad, and while that makes it a great song, it also makes it really hard to listen to.
Best lyrics: “Oh, I hate those voices telling me I'm not in love anymore / But they don't give me choices and that's what these tears are for."
- "That’s When (featuring Keith Urban)"
This song is a bop, and I love what Keith Urban’s vocals add to the track. It only loses points for the lyrics being a bit confusing to understand.
Best lyrics: “I'll be waiting at the front gate / That's when, when I see your face / I'll let you in."
- "Mr. Perfectly Fine"
Honestly, I can’t tell why this song wasn’t included on the original Fearless tracklist. It’s so much fun to sing, and although it’s a breakup song, it’s a classic, upbeat, the-lyrics-don’t-match-the-tune Taylor Swift song (similar to some of my favorites, including “right where you left me” on evermore and “Forever and Always” on Fearless (Taylor’s Version). If you’re going to listen to only one of the vault songs, pick this one.
Best lyrics: “And I never got past what you put me through / But it's wonderful to see that it never phased you."