re-recorded single, “Love Story (Taylor’s Version).” The album cover fits in with her current aesthetic from “folklore” and “evermore.” In this updated sepia-toned cover, Swift tosses her hair back, which is reminiscent of the original “Fearless” cover. However, her look is stripped-down, with simple makeup and a cotton top that is similar to the one that her love interest wore in the original music video.
Yes, the re-recording of “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” sounds pretty much like the original, with the exception that Swift’s voice is more mature as she’s learned how to control it. This makes listening to the re-recording a wonderful experience, especially for a fan like myself. It becomes a nostalgic experience, which is something apparent in the way that Swift sings. There’s also a special quality about this single since it means Swift has greater control over the music she wrote.
Swift announced her decision to drop the single on Good Morning America and released a line of merchandise for the re-recording of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” Swift is also adding six new songs from “the vault,” as she put it, to give her re-recorded album an extra boost and to give fans an incentive to stream an album that they have already been able to listen to for years.
The reason that Swift has to re-record her first five albums is because of the contract that she initially had with her old record label, Big Machine records. This contract was sold to Scooter Braun, who now owns the masters of all of Swift’s songs created before her album “Lover.” Swift, however, owns the publishing rights to her songs. This means that she can veto Braun’s decisions to use her music in media and has the ability to re-record her old songs since she owns the publishing rights.
The idea behind this decision is that once Swift re-records those albums, the original songs will lose their value and hurt Braun, who is now the owner of those recordings. If “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” is any indication, this decision will be in Swift’s favor since her re-recorded single has gained over 5 million streams on the first day of its release, according to the Billboard charts.
Although I didn’t expect Swift to lean into this project as much as she has, it makes sense. She has a massive fan base, and they are willing to support her, especially since she has been vocal about the distress she feels over the fact that she can’t own her own masters. Her fans might also be yearning for the past. I know quite a few people who used to really enjoy Swift’s older music; the sense of nostalgia that will undoubtedly be a part of each of her re-recorded albums, as well as the chance to hear music written during different eras of Swift’s musical career for the first time, is a good incentive for fans, both old and new, to give these re-recorded albums a listen.
I’m interested to see how well more recent albums like “1989,” “Red” or “reputation” will be received. Will fans be as eager to stream re-recorded songs from these more recent albums? It is also worth asking how Swift is going to tackle songs that are more problematic now, like “Better Than Revenge”, which essentially pits women against other women and includes lyrics that are openly shaming other women for their sexual encounters. What about songs that have complicated histories, like “Bad Blood,” which was allegedly about Katy Perry?
Swift has been slightly more outspoken about feminism, particularly in the context of the music industry, in the past two years. She seems to be more socially aware now and definitely avoids controversial pitfalls in most of her newer songs. Will she change the lyrics in some of her problematic songs? Or perhaps she’ll include a note explaining the context of the song and choose to keep the lyrics the same.
Although Swift’s popularity has changed over the years, she still has considerable power as an artist and a large fan base willing to support her musical endeavors. It will be most interesting to see what her approach will be like for each album, and how well each one will perform and be interpreted by fans. If “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” is any indication, then Swift will continue to push her re-recorded albums as entities of their own, complete with new visuals, merchandising and even new songs that were never released with the original albums. It’s a fun, if bittersweet, time to be a Swiftie.