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The word nostalgia is tossed around a lot these days, especially in conversations surrounding our Pre-COVID-19 lives. Nostalgia is defined as “the pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again.” Nostalgia is a common feeling that comes with growing up. Our lives are constantly changing every day. Whether it be moving away to college or changing apartments, we sometimes long for the experiences that once brought us joy. You might be asking yourself now, “what does this have to do with Taylor Swift?” Taylor Swift has been a massively successful singer for over a decade now. She has been able to find ways to constantly reinvent herself to keep audiences entertained. With the massive success of her albums after their initial release, this begs the question: how can Taylor Swift garner even more success by rerecording the same music? The answer is the power of nostalgia.

Many Taylor Swift fans, myself included, have been fans of hers since we were kids. We grew up listening to her music. So, to see Taylor rerecording the albums, which made us fans in the first place, to gain ownership over her music was something that fans supported. The potential problem with rerecording music that fans loved is that it might not feel the same, that the original version is so deeply tied to a fan’s perception and love of the song that a new version cannot invoke that same feeling. That is what I was worried about before the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), the first re-recorded album. However, I was no longer worried after I listened to the album. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was a complete upgrade from the original album. Taylor’s vocals sound crisper and the maturity in her voice elevates the album as a whole. The album was well received and praised by fans. About six months after Fearless (Taylor’s Version) came Red (Taylor’s Version). Red (Taylor’s Version) was also adored by fans. Taylor Swift is able to capture the original feelings that fans once felt when they listened to the original album years ago. It makes them nostalgic to the era in which the original album was released.

With the re-recordings, Taylor Swift entices her fans with the prospect of music they once loved that is now elevated. But, in addition to the rerecordings of previously released songs, she also released songs from “the vault.” The vault contains songs that were written and produced for the original album but were never released. Songs from the vault demonstrate the ultimate way that Taylor uses nostalgia to her advantage. She rerecords and releases songs that invoke the same feelings that accompany each of her albums but with a fresh new sound for her fans.

Going beyond just the music, Taylor Swift has had several different eras as an artist. Each era, paired with the album of the time, comes with a particular hairstyle, fashion sense, and makeup style. When Taylor re-releases a specific album, she embraces the style paired with that era. This gives fans a sense of nostalgia for a “different version” of Taylor they loved. 

Personally, I am one to embrace nostalgia. I love looking back on times that once made me happy. However, nostalgia can have a bit of a negative connotation. It can be interpreted as living in the past and not the moment. But, I disagree. Our lives are the stories we tell ourselves about the experiences we’ve had so far. Embracing nostalgia can be a way to know what can make us happy in the future. So, as Taylor Swift re-records her albums, I encourage fans to embrace the nostalgia that comes with it.

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Victoria Dodd

U Mass Amherst '22

Victoria is a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a major in communication. When she's not writing, you can find her listening to music, watching too many movies, or meditating. Victoria has a wide range of interests such as pop culture, film, music, history, politics, and health and wellness. You can follow her on instagram @flicksfromvic or @vic_dodd.
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