I have been a fan of Taylor Swift since the ripe old age of six years old when my friend played her debut album for me for the first time. I own five of her original albums on CD, have the Speak Now concert DVD, have attended two of her tours, and my fair share of album and tour merch. It’s safe to say I love Taylor and have loved her music for a long time but what I have come to realize is that I’m just now finally truly understanding her music.
It’s not like I didn’t know what she was singing about before; I obviously knew what everything meant and could see what she was trying to convey through her lyrics. What’s changed between the original albums of Fearless and Red is 10 to 12 more years of experience. I’ve lived more and grown from everything I have come across and those experiences have allowed me to go from knowing what she’s singing about to really feeling what she felt.
The songs may not necessarily be about the exact thing I went through or have seen but the way she writes her songs to be so universally understood no matter what you have been through means that I can finally find myself in some of her songs. I’ve never been a famous starlet who watched their shine fade as they became jaded by their industry like in “The Lucky One (Taylor’s Version)” but I have seen people try to trade me out for a newer version of someone when what I have to offer is no longer what they want. I’ve had that feeling like I “know everything at 18 and nothing at 22” which she and Phoebe Bridgers sing about in “Nothing New (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)”. I’ve never had a relationship with a guy who demeaned me for tiny things I do like in “Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)” but I have had friends who I dropped because they just didn’t seem to mesh with who I am and started to find new people again afterwards. I just turned 22 and can confirm that it does indeed feel like being “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time” and is “miserable and magical”.
These re-recordings are coming at just the right time for so many Taylor Swift fans because we’ve all finally grown into her music. We’ve all lived more, had crushes, been in relationships, and fallen out with people and come out the other side just like she did. It always seemed like such a far away thought that what she’s been through would ever even be remotely something I would experience but scarily I am now the same age and in the same time in life when she went through all of the events that inspired Red. To be the age Taylor was then now and having her singing these same sentiments as she’s approaching 32 with Red (Taylor’s Version) feels almost reassuring, as if it’s her way of saying “I got through this and look back on it fondly, you’ll do the same too.”