On April 9th 2021, the American singer/ song writer Taylor Swift released a new version of her 2nd album ‘Fearless’, which included iconic songs like ‘Love Story’ and ‘You Belong With Me’ as well as new songs like ‘Mr Perfectly Fine’. When the album originally came out in 2008, it was a massive hit, selling 6.6 million copies worldwide and lead Taylor Swift to become the youngest artist to win Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2010. The fact that the album did so well, lead to questions being asked about why she had re-released ‘Fearless’ and had also added (Taylor’s Version) to the title. This article will reveal the truth about why a re-recording was completely necessary for Swift to start to complete her discography.
Ever since 2005, the country/pop/indie singer has been a household name, releasing many hits like ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’ in RED, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ in Reputation and ‘Cardigan’ in Folklore. However, after her contract with Big Machine Records expired in 2018, the recording company still owned the masters to all the songs in her albums ‘Taylor Swift’, ‘Fearless’, ‘Speak Now’, ‘RED’, ‘1989’ and ‘Reputation’. Under her new label, she was allowed to own all her masters from 2018, which includes her albums ‘Lover’, ‘Folklore’, ‘Evermore’ and now ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’.
The issue with ownership came to public eyes when Big Machine was sold to Ithaca Holdings, which is ran by Scooter Braun, who then sold Taylor’s original 6 albums for $300 million to Shamrock Holdings. Within this deal, it was set that Shamrock Holdings could not sell these 6 albums back to Taylor Swift, meaning she will never be able to earn money from her own work. Because Scooter Braun was a bully and manages Kanye West, another person who publicly (and falsely) shamed Taylor, she announced that she would be re-recording all 6 albums so that the masters will be under her control.
Taylor Swift released an Instagram post, saying that her purpose for the re-recordings is because ‘Artists should own their own work for so many reasons… but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work’. Her followers have supported her decision to re-record the albums as they recognise her hard work that she has put in from the age of 16, writing nearly all the songs in her 9 albums. ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ reached 228.1 million streams in the first week of release and sits at number 1 on Top 200 Albums chart.
In answer to the very common query if the songs are all the same as in Fearless 2008, within the songs on her re-recordings, there are very subtle changes to words and emphasis. Long term fans have been able to compare these new details, picking up on the smallest changes, but it is also clear for newer listeners that Taylor’s voice has matured (in the best way possible). So far, the take away from fans is that it is very refreshing to see Taylor Swift’s old country roots be re-incorporated into her newly evolved sound.
Hopefully, this article has explained some confusion on Taylor’s decision to re-record her albums, shedding light on the struggle many artists face. In addition, it also means that any Taylor Swift fans in our community also have 5 more re-recordings to look forward to, as well as more songs from the vault!
Finally, remember to stream ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ instead of ‘Fearless’ (2008) in order for Taylor to receive the appraisal for her hard work instead of money hungry record labels!