In 2019, Taylor Swift announced that in order to own her music outright, she would have to re-record her first 6 albums. After what felt like an eternity of waiting, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was released on April 9th .While the album mostly consisted of closely replicated Fearless songs, 6 previously unreleased “vault” songs were also included. This album marks the beginning of the re-recording process: and thus, the beginning of Swift reclaiming her past.
Most of the re-recorded songs have very subtle differences from their old versions, like richer vocals and production changes, but a few stood out.
“The Best Day” was written for Swift’s mother Andrea in 2008. While it was a tearjerker back then, it’s even more emotional now that Andrea has been dealing with cancer since 2015. The lyric video is filled with home videos and old photos that had me sobbing in my dorm room.
“Change” was originally about Swift’s success with then brand-new record label Big Machine, which is the company that ended up failing her. The lyric “fight for what we’ve worked for all these years” is a powerful reminder that Taylor is now fighting for the music she has worked for since she was 13.
All of the vault songs were exciting to hear, especially considering the fact that they were written when Swift was between the ages of 15 and 18. Mr. Perfectly Fine, an obvious critique of Joe Jonas, is the kind of country-pop song that the Fearless era is known for. The bridge’s closing lyric “and someday maybe you’ll miss me but by then, you’ll be Mr. too late” followed by a triumphant key change set this song apart as an anthem of moving on.
“You All Over Me” (ft. Maren Morris,) the first vault song that was released, is a lyrically beautiful country ballad. Many fans see the song as a sort of prequel to 1989’s song Clean, because the lyric “no amount of freedom gets you clean” contrasts the later Clean lyric “I think I am finally clean.”
“That’s When” (ft. Keith Urban) is definitely the most country out of the bunch and employs the duet to describe a couple debating getting back together. Swift singing “When you were gone, did you ever think of me?” in the bridge does the best job of summarizing this tumultuous relationship.
“We Were Happy” tells the sad story of a relationship turned sour. The specific details and imagery Swift is known for really shine through in this song. The lyric “we used to watch the sun go down on the boats in the water” is such a simple detail that adds so much to the overall story and message of the song.
“Don’t You” is my personal favorite vault song because it is the kind of heartbreaking ballad that I love. This song describes Swift running into an ex and reminiscing about their painful past. “Sometimes I really wish that I could hate you”
Lastly, “Bye Bye Baby” is yet another sad country song about letting go. “Bye bye, to everything I thought was on my side” describes how Swift feels betrayed by someone who was previously in her life.
This album was an exciting start to the re-record process. Hopefully the summer will be full of more re-recorded songs and vault songs- Swiftie detectives are already predicting 1989’s release in June! Stay tuned…