Taylor Swift re-records Fearless


Allie Nichols, Layout/Design Manager

Singer/songwriter, activist, and actress, from time to time, Taylor Swift released her latest album on April 9. It is an important day not because of any particular event, but the numbers of the date (4/9) add up to 13, Taylor’s self-proclaimed lucky number. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) consists of the original 13 songs the earliest album Fearless released in 2008 (13 years ago) as well as the six additional songs from the platinum version, the single “Today was a Fairytale,” all re-recorded, and six completely new songs, never-before-heard labeled “From the Vault,” a total of 26 songs. 


Many similarities and differences appear between the two albums in sound, but the visuals of the album covers create an almost-near mirror image of each other. On the original cover, Taylor faces left with her hair flying and arms by her side, but in the new version, she faces right. Her hair still blows behind her, but now her arms are raised like wings spreading as if to say “I’m free” or “I’m over the past.” 


Even though the lyrics remain the same, there are subtle differences in the instrumental and voice part of the songs as well as sonic quality. The guitar in the first release is “brighter/lighter” in tone while the latest one is deeper. Taylor’s voice got lower as she aged, but she maintained her heart; however, there’s a lack of “country” which Taylor moved away from in 2012 with the album Red. She completely abandoned it with her release of 1989 in 2014. This was her first transition of music genre seeing she now identifies as an “indie-pop” artist with the albums Folklore and Evermore compared to her old pop. 


Taylor’s laugh in “Hey Stephen,” which can be heard at the time stamp 2:54, sounds very different, less “school-girl” but is still lovable. As a now 31-year-old woman, Taylor sounds like she’s talking to her past self in “Fifteen” rather than singing about her experience as the young girl walking into high school. “Change” also seems more like a reminiscence of time than a look into the future. Furthermore, “Forever & Always” doesn’t quite sound the same since the 18-year old that sang about heartbreak grew up and is now happily dating British actor Joe Alwyn. 


“Fearless,” the song, could be applied to the relationship even though she wrote it at 18. She sings lines like “And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance in a storm in my best dress,” pure love. It’s the opposite of “White Horse” in which she sings about how she isn’t a princess, and this isn’t a fairytale. One could argue it’s odd how the lines “I’m gonna find someone someday / Who might actually treat me well / This is a big world, that was a small town” deliver now she’s grown up, famous outside of Tennessee, and dating a good guy. 


Moreover, the way Taylor sings the lines “with a girl like that” and “driving to my house” in the popular song “You Belong With Me” has almost become New York-ish, particularly “like” and “house.” Even though she is in a healthy relationship, never before heard “Mr. Perfectly Fine” sounds just like another one of the young Taylor’s classic breakup songs even without the country accent and with the adult voice. It matches the energy of the known “You’re Not Sorry” and “Tell Me Why.” Both of which are about heartbreak.


“The Way I Loved You” is the revenge piece with belted lines like “And it’s 2 a.m. and I’m cursing your name” equivalent to “Picture to Burn” from Taylor’s first album, very country-esque. While these songs naturally lean country, “Jump Then Fall” and “The Other Side Of The Door” stand out the most with the very defined guitar and drums without the electronic noises. “Untouchable,” “Come In With The Rain,” and “Superstar” go back to a quieter sound full of spirit and emotion. 


USA Today also notes a minute change in the emphasis syllable when she sings “mama” and “so close to your eyes” from “Fifteen” and “Love Story.” They continue to state the song “The Best Day” hits just a little harder now because it is about her mother. Andrea Swift suffered from cancer in 2015, something Taylor acknowledges in her song “Soon You’ll Get Better” from Lover. It seems even more heartfelt now. 


As much as Swift wanted to stay “very loyal to the initial melodies,” she also wished to make everything better saying, “if there was any way that we could improve… we did.” Many become dedicated to pointing out every little altering detail from song to song. From inflection of voice to beat differences, people are posting about it. The variations sound very minuscule, almost unnoticeable, when not really tuning into the song but listening to the tracks back to back puts it into perspective.


Colbie Caillat can still be heard in the gentle song “Breath,” but she’s not the only featured artist in the album. Maren Morris, an American pop-country singer, joins her in “You All Over Me,” and Australian singer/songwriter Keith Urban duets “That’s When” with Taylor in the unexplored songs from the “vault.”  These songs are ones Taylor just couldn’t leave behind. She wrote them way back when but is just now releasing them to the public. Ones not mentioned previously include “We Were Happy” and “Don’t You.” Entertainment/news website eonline.com speculates the last song “Bye Bye Baby” almost seems like not just a lyric or song name but a closing of the Fearless chapter. 


While the original music videos still exist, Taylor has also newly released lyric videos. They include many easter eggs in natural Taylor fashion. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is available to listen to on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and some other services. Even though there are changes and new songs, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) will still have fans singing along and feeling all the feels.