Emerging victorious from the vicious stampede of beasts trying to trample her, Taylor Swift takes control and reclaims her voice with the re-recording of her musical masters.
Move over, Beyoncé—to the left, to the left—there is a new crowned queen of surprise drops.
After pulling the rug from underneath all of us in lockdown and isolation amid the persistent pummeling of the pandemic with folklore (including its many extensions) and evermore, to which we our hearts are still barely recovering from, Taylor Swift has managed to pull a fast one on us again. Following the long-drawn out and emotionally exhausting battle for her masters, which Scooter Braun through his blockbuster acquisition of Big Machine Label Group, cannot in good conscience and kind heart seem to let go off, Taylor Swift is reclaiming what is rightfully hers with the decision to re-record all her music.
Bold and brave, choosing to step away from the unceasing crossfire and unrelenting he said, she said is turning out to be the best thing for the pop star, because as it stands, she is fearlessly finding the voice that was unjustly taken away from her. This is her love story, as it was, is, and forever should be.
By Taylor Swift
“When I think back on the Fearless album and all that you turned it into, a completely involuntary smile creeps across my face,” muses Taylor Swift in a letter she posted on her social media channels. “This was the musical era in which so many inside jokes were created between us, so many hugs exchanged and hands touched, so many unbreakable bonds formed. So before I say anything else, let me just say that it was a real honor to get to be a teenager alongside you.”
An album that she best describes as “full of magic and curiousity, the bliss and devastation of youth,” Fearless has in effect become that diary once tucked away as a chapter of the past, now resurfacing to be revisitied with a trove of life’s experience and a more mature point-of-view to her name, as well as ours. “With every new crack in the façade of the fairytale ending she’d been shown in the movies, I’m thrilled to tell you that my new version of Fearless is done and will be with you soon,” she announces in the same note stylized in mostly lowercase words with specific letters capitalized for later emphasis.
“The way I’ve chosen to do this will hopefully illuminate where I’m coming from,” continues Taylor Swift. “I’ve decided I want you to have the whole story, see the entire vivid picture, and let you into the entire dreamscape that is my fearless album.” In this particular re-recording, which is part of a pursuit of passion for her first six albums, she is opening up the vault with six never-before-heard tracks that will complete the true Fearless experience as it was written.
A Love Story
In this exercise of musical time travel, Taylor Swift kicks things off with the release of Love Story (Taylor’s Version). A stroke of smart timing, as it pre-dates Valentine’s Day, because what can be more fitting to however you want to celebrate it—holding the hand of your significant other or nursing a drink in your hand—than this enduring classic?
With the familiar guitar strums that begin the song, there is an almost immediate brimming of warmth that only nostalgia can compel. “We were both young when I first saw you / I close my eyes and the flashback starts,” and so sings Taylor Swift. Suddenly, it hits different. From a story of young unrequited love that paralells the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet, it has now evolved into something deeper in meaning. There isn’t anything new to the lyrics or arrangement, both still aspirational and gleaming respectively, but with the emotional intelligence that has been shaped and carved over time, Taylor Swift now breathes new life to the song, making it shockingly appropriate beyond just the red letter day.
“Don’t be afraid, we’ll make it out this mess / it’s a love story, baby, just say, yes,” she croons. While it still is an overarching retelling of romance, listening to it in the headspace that we’re in now, the earnest yearning of an elusive love presents itself as a journey of feelings with pockets of introspective considerations. “’Cause we were both young when I first saw you,” the song trails off. Suddenly, the possibility creeps on you—could it this be a story of self-love, too?
It wouldn’t be surprising, especially since Taylor Swift is known to not only get into the narrative of her songs, but she also enjoys hiding messages for sleuthing fans to uncover. While no release date has been announced by Taylor Swift, the strange capitalization in her note spells out, April 9th, which could be when Fearless (Taylor’s Version) becomes ours, just as it is very much hers now.
Faithful as it is to the canon of Taylor Swift, Love Story, and perhaps Fearless as a whole is a full departure from the innocence of her youth. As impressionable and incomparable as this imprint was to her and her fans, this re-recording (in the midst of the pandemic, no less), is timely as it is necessary. Here, she finally tames the beasts desperately trying to trample on her in a vicious stampede, and emerges victorious. Finally, Taylor Swift is in control.