After having the rights to her albums stolen (mhm Scooter Braun), Taylor Swift decided to take the only rational course: re-record her stolen albums and consequently become bigger than ever. However, not everything stayed the same with her new albums as Swift gave her fans a special surprise by adding new songs that were contenders for the original albums, the “Vault Tracks”. These tracks have grown to be some of the fan favorites and in my personal opinion, some of her best songs. These decisions were very difficult, but in no particular order, here are my top five Vault tracks:
- “Mr. Perfectly Fine”
When Taylor Swift released her first re-recording, she was gracious enough to release this absolute banger, “Mr. Perfectly Fine”. The album was first released while Taylor was a teenager and this song perfectly re-captures that angst, where a relationship you might have thought was serious ends in a minute. Something about this song’s melody and lyrics really scratches my brain right every time and gets me pumped no matter the place. Now I understand that the song is inherently sad and Joe Jonas may be one of the worst boyfriends alive, but I will say, Taylor made a good thing out of a bad situation here.
- “Nothing New” (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
Nothing captures the feeling of being a girl like “Nothing New”, and the fact that it features Phoebe Bridgers makes it all the more iconic. From the time it was released, this song has really resonated with me because of how clearly it calls out society’s hypocritical expectations of young women. As women, it seems that society finds a way to judge our every move. This feeling is captured through her lyric “Shoots you down and then they sigh, and say/She looks like she’s been through it.” She portrays how people love to tear down women and suddenly become sympathizers when they break. Sadly, Taylor may know that feeling better than anyone else, hence her ability to perfectly express it.
- “All Too Well” (10 Minute Version)
This list would hold no validity if I did not include everyone’s favorite ten-minute song. The ability to write a song of this length is impressive in itself, however, Taylor did not miss and provided the most beautiful lyrics. The desperation in the lyrics makes it seem as if she is trying to convince herself that the relationship is real and she did not imagine the love she believed they both felt. Coming from someone who has never been in a relationship, this song breaks my heart for absolutely no reason. As a songwriter, Taylor Swift has been able to convey some of the most difficult emotions and “All Too Well” just adds to her portfolio of mastered lyricism.
- “Is it Over Now?”
Now, when I say Taylor Swift did not come to play with the 1989 Vault Songs, I really mean it. Her Vault songs are topped off with “Is it Over Now?” which might be one of the catchiest songs I have ever heard. The beauty of this song is that it fits so well with the rest of the 1989 discography, almost seeming like an extension of “Out of the Woods”. I would like to personally award the Buenos Aires attendees as the luckiest people in the world for getting to hear that mashup. Since its release, the songs have been continuously on repeat and might be the only thing that I have listened to in the past month.
- “Forever Winter”
If you have not noticed by now, yes, the Red Vault songs were definitely my favorite. Even though “Forever Winter” was not released until 2021, this feels like one of those songs I have been listening to my whole life. In this song, you can feel Swift’s heartbreak and inability to fathom that someone she loves could have been suffering so deeply in silence. The reminiscing of everything she would have done differently depicts the love and guilt she feels for not being able to help them. I could argue that this is Taylor’s most heartfelt song as her lyrics are so heartbreaking. Being criminally underrated, I think it is time that we give Forever Winter the recognition that it deserves.
Taylor Swift’s ability to channel her emotions into her music can be felt worldwide, which is evident from the popularity of her live shows. As an artist, Taylor has made young girls around the world more comfortable with expressing their feelings and showed them that their reactions are not overly dramatic. These Vault songs are no different as they challenge to be some of Swift’s best work. Now, as we wait for the last two re-recordings, there is no doubt that the Vault tracks will be absolutely amazing.