Taylor Swift

Review | “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”: She’s Finally Free

Taylor Swift might be the most proactive person on the planet. After releasing two critically acclaimed albums back in 2020, folklore and evermore, the singer and songwriter announced that on April 9th she would be dropping the rerecorded version of her second studio album, "Fearless". Now, the record is finally here, and we can enjoy all the hits from 2008 alongside six tracks never heard before, which Taylor called “From The Vault”.

Re-recording an album is a very risky move, especially one that made such success back in the day. "Fearless" earned Swift her first Grammy Award for Album of the Year and was responsible for conquering many of the loyal fans she has today. However, 13 years and two more AOTY wins later, what could be a big failure became one of Taylor’s biggest moves in the industry. "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)" has, so far, the biggest debut this year on Spotify, with 50 million streams, and received an 87-point score on Metacritic with 11 reviews.

Taylor’s voice has undoubtedly matured. In some songs, it is visible how much that change in her tone has affected the new version, but in most of them, it works very well. "Forever and Always (Piano Version)" is the biggest proof of that as we can almost sense a similar vibe to some "folklore" songs. "White Horse" and "Breathe" also stand out when it comes to this. To some, this could mean that Swift dropped an improved version of one of her most successful albums.

In other tracks, as "You Belong With Me" and "Hey Stephen", you can notice that the singer tried to reproduce the sonority of the original version to keep the nostalgia. For many, this record was their first contact with Swift’s work. But for some, like me, that was around six or seven years old when "Fearless" was released, this new version is like experiencing the album for the first time. Even if you had already heard it a million times, "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)" creates a new relationship with the record. Some tracks were forgotten with time and now we are remembering how talented Taylor Swift already was at the age of 18.

The “From The Vault” songs are like the cherry at the top of the cake. When announcing the record, Taylor claimed that the reasons why those tracks were left out of the original version did not make sense nowadays, so she wanted the fans to have the whole picture. And we certainly have it, but dropping these songs now permitted Swift to combine the lyrics she wrote at a young age with the kind of production she has today. Collaborating with Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff is one of her many right calls: it works in pop, country, folk, and probably everything else they decide to do.

Overall, Taylor has made an amazing work with "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)". Few can make so many people excited with a set of songs released years ago. This record has the power to make people fall in love with it again and remember how obsessed they were with songs like "The Way I Loved You" and "Fearless" (to say some that I personally cannot stop listening to). Not only that, with the relevance Swift has in the industry today, it will also win a lot of people that had never heard it before and became fans along the way.

Nonetheless, it is important to say that this record is also much more than that. By re-recording her albums, Taylor is not only making a big mark on her career, proving that she can be successful with a record made long ago, but also leaving an important message for new and aspiring artists: you should be able to own your own music. This is the singer’s biggest step in her advocacy for this cause. After her feud with Scooter Braun and Big Records Machine, "Fearless (Taylor’s Version)" is a statement that Taylor Swift is finally free. 

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The article above was edited by Laura Okida.

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