Listening to Taylor Swift’s “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” is like opening a time capsule from 13 years ago. The feelings connected with the songs on this album come flooding back, especially when a more grown-up Swift is singing them.
Swift, the queen of saving her fans during the pandemic, released the re-recording of her second album on April 9. The 26-track album features six new songs, deemed “From The Vault,” that didn’t make it onto the original “Fearless” album.
This album is the first of five — potentially six — albums she is re-recording. Swift does not own the original master recordings to albums one through six because Ithaca Holdings bought her first label, Big Machine Records. Swift had left to join Republic Records, and in doing so, she had to give up the masters of her first six albums.
However, according to the National Public Radio article, since November 2020, Swift has been able to start re-recording her first five albums in accordance with her contract with Big Machine Records, so she can own her music.
“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” is the first to be released, and features the return of singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat, as well as the new additions of artists Keith Urban — whom Swift was the opening act for during the original Fearless era — and Maren Morris.
Swift surprise-released “Mr. Perfectly Fine” two days before the rest of the album. Along with “That’s When” and “Bye Bye Baby,” listeners can bop to the upbeat rhythms of these new songs. The notes Swift sings in “Mr. Perfectly Fine” bring a serotonin rush like no other, especially with the vocal jumps on the word “my” in the two verses. This song gives any listener a spring in their step and the confidence to swear off any guy who doesn’t give them the attention they deserve.
My personal favorite of the new songs to debut on the album is “That’s When.” Urban’s smooth voice slides in on the second verse, and paired with Swift, the two harmonize and give listeners the tragic, yet refreshingly happy, song about a break in a relationship. This song highlights the highs and lows of love with a drum line that makes the song both upbeat and mellow at the same time.
“Don’t You” transports listeners to the moment when they run into a past love. This newly released track perfectly encapsulates the joy of speaking to them again and the pain of realizing they no longer love you. With the lyrics “Don’t you say you’ve/missed me if you don’t want me again,” listeners feel the pain of those casual conversations with someone who used to hold them at their worst.
Swift is known for her story-telling lyrics, and “Bye Bye Baby” is no exception. When she sings, “And all the pages are just slipping through my hands, and I’m so scared of how this ends,” listeners can picture the loss of control depicted in the lyrics. The repetition of the letter “B” engrains the melody and makes it a memorable song from the album.
“You All Over Me” and “We Were Happy” don’t match the younger style of the rest of the album because of how serious the messages of these songs are. However, a 31-year-old Swift singing these two songs resonates better than her teenage self singing them did. The mature themes of these songs, such as still feeling someone’s touch after a breakup, shine through lyrics like “No amount of freedom gets you clean” and “But they don’t give me choices and that’s what these tears are for.” These songs take a deeper look into the physical and emotional downfalls after a relationship.
The song “You All Over Me” parallels the album's title track “Fearless,” with lyrics about rain on the pavement starting both songs. However, the two songs are also opposites.
“Fearless” is a song listeners can dance around to, while “You All Over Me” is more ballad-like. Even though “You All Over Me” didn’t make it on the original album, having both songs now gives listeners the chance to enjoy the start of a relationship with “Fearless” and cry about the aftermath of heartbreak to “You All Over Me.”
The re-recorded classics — like “You Belong With Me,” “Fifteen” and “Love Story” — rejuvenate one’s young, Swiftie soul. The subtle differences from the originals, like the word change from “the room” to “my room” in “You Belong With Me” and an opening featuring less country twang in the re-recorded “Love Story,” give these timeless songs the new Swift sound while still recalling all the memories. The familiar stories and melodies Swift sings on these tracks resonate just as much now as they did in 2008.
Fans can indulge their inner child, dramatically singing along to heartbreak with their hairbrush in hand, all while knowing they are supporting Swift as the rightful owner of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version.)”