Why is Taylor Swift rerecording her old albums?
Whether you love her or loathe her, there is no argument that Taylor Swift’s popularity skyrocketed exponentially since her debut album. In the beginning, she was a young, lesser-known country artist in Nashville, Tennessee, and now, she’s a household name who’s topping the Billboard charts with every release.
Although Swift has had a rewarding career, it has not always been smooth sailing. Rumors about her personal life–specifically her dating life–have been highly criticized because the majority of her early works revolve around her love interests.
However, her most infamous scandal, which broke the internet, was when she announced she would be leaving Big Sound Machine, the record label she had been signed to since she was 15 years old.
While signed to Big Sound Machine, Swift had no ownership over any of her songs’ master recordings. In 2018, when she requested to buy the rights to her master recordings, Scott Borchetta, the founder and CEO of Big Sound Machine, declined but offered them to her if and only if she signed a future 10-year contract, promising six additional studio albums. However, she knew Bochetta would sell the company if she did so. As a result, she left. She is currently signed to Universal Music Group. Once she left, Borchetta sold the rights to the master recordings to Scooter Braun’s label Ithaca Holdings for $300 million.
So, what happens now?
Now that Swift is under Universal Music Group, she has full liberty and control over her more recent albums, Reputation, Lover and Evermore. However, the master recordings of her first six albums now belong to Braun.
In 2019, as she was promoting Lover, she announced she planned to rerecord her first five albums. In an interview with Buzzfeed News, she stated she wants her music to live on and be used in other media, like movies and commercials, but only if she owns it.
As of right now, we know the rerecorded version of her hit album Fearless is set to come out April 9, and it will include six new never-heard-before songs.
To begin her rerecording journey, she recently released a new version of the song that arguably jump-started her career to what it is today. At midnight on Feb. 12 this year, she released “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” and uploaded a lyric video. Compared to the 2008 music video and its Romeo and Juliet theme, this version features a slideshow of her with numerous fans at the time of the original song’s release and clips of her during her first concert tours.
Furthermore, in comparison to the original recording, you can easily hear how much Swift’s voice has improved over her career. In 2008, she was just an 18-year-old singer ready to start her musical career. Now, with over a decade of experience in the music industry, countless hit songs and numerous studio albums, she is a completely transformed singer.
Compared to the original version of the song, Swift’s newly released version has the same fun pop sound. Ironically, although the song is titled “Love Story (Taylor’s Version),” it sounds less like a romantic love story between two people. Rather, from just the raw audio and the lyric video, it feels like a love letter to her fans. The song starts and ends with the phrase “We were both young when I first saw you,” referencing the fans that followed her since the beginning of her career and grew with her over time.
As a kid who grew up in Tennessee, I was in love with Swift. On the way to school, I tuned into the local country radio because it always played her music early in the morning. Many times, instead of paying attention in class, I wrote the number 13 all over my notebook and water bottle because Swift considered it her lucky number. I knew all the lyrics to her songs. The first concert I ever went to was her 2011 concert for the Speak Now tour in Nashville. I was an absolute Swiftie.
Over the years, I gradually lost interest in her music, but her early works still hold a special, nostalgic place in my heart because they remind me of my childhood. When I first heard “Love Story (Taylor’s Version),” I felt as if I was 7 years old again, listening to the song for the first time. Once more, I felt transported back to that same sense of child-like awe and wonder — even though I was listening to the same song with the same lyrics and backtrack. It felt as if I was greeting an old friend.
Although I am no longer a huge fan of Swift, I still admire her music and respect her as an artist. Lastly, with these new rerecordings, I am excited to see where this new chapter in her career will take her.