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Why You Should Stream Fearless (Taylor’s Version)

 

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a die-hard Taylor Swift fan. My obsession started with the classics, like “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” when I would ask my mom to turn the volume up as it was playing on the car radio. With the release of her album Red in 2012, I turned into a full-out Swiftie. I vividly remember sitting in my childhood bedroom, putting my Red CD into my hot pink CD player, and reading the lyrics to each song off the little pamphlet that came in the CD case. Then I was lucky enough to go to both her 1989 and Reputation tours when she came to Philadelphia, and my little T-Swizzle heart grew when she came out on stage. I have t-shirts, mugs, ticket stubs, posters, and my most used Spotify playlist is the one full of only Swift’s music. So, yeah, I guess you can say that I’m a fan. 

I think it can go without saying that when she announced she was rerecording her earlier studio albums, starting with Fearless, I was thrilled. And when she said she would be releasing songs that didn’t make it on the original album, I was even more thrilled. Some more angsty teen songs about Joe Jonas breaking her 18-year-old heart over a 27-second long phone call? Yes, please! But, a lot of people who weren’t following Taylor as closely were confused about her plan to re-record the older albums, and many saw it as just another cash grab. There is an intricate history present with Taylor and her old stuff, though, and I think it’s important to share this so people understand her motives and make a more conscious effort to listen to her rerecordings. 

It all starts with the beginning of Taylor’s music career. Big Machine Records (founder Scott Borchetta) had her sign with them in 2005, and she stayed with that agency until 2018. When she signed with Universal’s Republic Records after her contract expired, Big Machine kept the masters (original recordings) of all of the albums she made with them, which is a common occurrence when artists switch labels. Taylor said that she always knew that Scott Borchetta would sell her masters, but never imagined they would be sold to Ithaca Holdings, owned by talent manager Scooter Braun. 

Braun and Swift have never had a good relationship in the business world. In a blog post on her Tumblr account on June 30th, 2019, when Taylor found out about the business deal, she explained the troubling past she has had with Braun and his clients. Taylor Swift fans will know the history of Kanye West, under Braun’s business, incessantly bullying Taylor in multiple situations – going up on stage and interrupting her acceptance of a 2009 VMA, his wife Kim Kardashian leaking a phone call between Kanye and Taylor regarding the “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex” line in his song “Famous,” and in the music video of that song including a naked body mirroring Taylor’s, just to name a few. His other client, Justin Bieber, posted a screenshot of West, Braun, and himself over Facetime with the caption “Taylor Swift what up.” After Taylor’s Tumblr post went up, countless of Braun’s other friends and clients name-called her on social media, calling her a liar, fake, and a bully. 

When Swift found out that Braun now had the ownership of her songs, she was extremely upset. Especially since Scott Borchetta, her former manager, was aware of the way Swift was treated by Braun. She said there were multiple times he had witnessed her crying about Braun and his client’s belligerent attacks online. She had had an offer from Big Machine Records earlier that said she could earn each album back, by creating a new album for each old one. But Taylor was not content with this offer.

Taylor Swift was being controlled by two middle-aged men because they couldn’t deal with the fact that a woman could be successful in the music industry. And Taylor had had enough. 

In a Good Morning America interview in 2019, Swift announced that she would start to re-record her albums in November of 2020 when she was contractually allowed to. She made it clear that, from the beginning, she had wanted to own her own work and was passionate about an artist knowing the right way to express their art. Fans speculated for months about which of her first five albums (Debut, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989) she was going to re-record first, but in a coded message on her Instagram account expressed that April 9th was the date Fearless would be released. Since it’s coming out into the world just a few days ago, it became a hit among new and old fans alike and rose instantly to the top of the charts. 

I can understand why a lot of longtime Swifties would be worried about the re-recordings. There’s a lot of nostalgia accompanying the old Fearless album, as fans grew up on it or discovered Swift listening to these earlier songs. I saw a few Tik Toks that expressed the worry some felt about even the slightest of differences between the old and new versions of the songs, such as the way Taylor breathes between words. But, I believe that real fans of Taylor would understand her reasoning for doing this and support her by listening to the re-recordings. She is proud of her work and deserves to have her name on the titles, not just for money purposes, but for self-satisfaction. She is a hardworking artist that has done so much for her listeners – as fans we owe it to her to support her in these artistic endeavors. 

So, stream Fearless (Taylor’s Version) for clear skin, good grades, and the sense of pride for women in the music industry fighting for their voices and their work. 

 

Some articles in case you want to know more:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/taylor-swift-scooter-braun-scott-borchetta-explainer-853424/

 

https://taylorswift.tumblr.com/

 

https://time.com/5949979/why-taylor-swift-is-rerecording-old-albums/

Hi! I'm Molly, a current Media/Communications and Politics Major at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC! I love baking, taking pictures, and adventures in the city!
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