Taylor Swift’s ‘Fearless’ Re-Recordings Symbolize Reclamation


Courtesy of WEZL Charleston’s Best Country

“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” features old and new collaborations with artists Colbie Caillat, Maren Morris and Keith Urban. Caillat described working with Swift once more as “an instant yes,” according to Insider.

It is 2008. Your curly hair is tucked into messy pigtails, your wrist is wrapped in hundreds of vibrantly colored Silly Bandz, and you are just recovering from the latest release of “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” You lay on your bed — iPod sitting neatly beside you — and the twangy strings of a banjo start to play: it is the first track of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s album “Fearless.”

One awkward high school phase, eight studio albums and a Netflix documentary later, Swift returns to her country roots with her first re-recorded album out of six, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” on April 9 with 26 songs. The album includes six “From the Vault” tracks, which Swift wrote during the “Fearless” era but did not release at the time. 

Although the original songs and lyrics have not changed, Swift and her fan base most definitely have. For those who are not superfans, these re-recordings symbolize more than just an opportunity to showcase the maturity in her vocals and improvements in acoustics: it is her reclaiming ownership of her music, according to Billboard. 

The idea originated after former manager Scooter Braun, from her first record label Big Machine Records, bought the master rights to her first six albums and then sold them to an investment fund, according to the Guardian. 

Later, singer Kelly Clarkson tweeted that Swift should re-record the master versions of her songs that she did not officially own in order to prove a point that musicians are the only people who really know their art, hence they should own it, according to NPR

“I think Taylor re-recording her albums sends a message to her fans about empowering themselves and to not let any male figure tell them what to do in their lives,” self-proclaimed-Swiftie and senior Melanie Lai said. “I feel like she’s especially telling her younger fans to be proud of what they create.”

I feel like she’s especially telling her younger fans to be proud of what they create.””

— Melanie Lai

Swift’s former playful country twang is missing from her re-recordings but is replaced with a rich, developed tone that is the product of more than a decade of both personal and musical growth. For many long-term Swifties, this shift proves that Swift has matured alongside her fans. 

“It feels like I grew up with her since I liked her more than a decade ago,” Lai said. “… her producing this is probably going to be her second-best at this point because everyone was such a big fan of the original, and now it feels like she’s learned from her past and is sending a message that she’s 30 now, and she can still do something she did when she was 18.”

Of Swift’s highly-anticipated “From the Vault” tracks, the most streamed has been “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” which currently has been streamed 32 million times, according to Spotify. The song not only features Swift’s iconic country-pop style, but also includes lyrics from Swift’s previously released songs, including “All Too Well” and “Forever & Always.” 

Now, as Swift’s re-recording of “Fearless” ranks No. 5 on the latest Rolling Stone Top 200 Albums chart, Swift and her fans alike recall the lyrics she wrote to herself at 18 in the album’s second track “Fifteen,” in which she says, “In your life, you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team.”

And she did, but she did it her way — Taylor’s version.