Taylor Swift is back with some new — and old — music that will have you time-traveling.
On Friday, Swift released a new version of her sophomore album “Fearless.” This time, it’s “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and it includes all of the original songs of her album but rerecorded. And it includes a number of rerecorded songs that didn’t make the original cut of the album.
This is another new Swift album to help you make it through the pandemic, and it comes with a wild backstory. But as much as this album focuses on the past, it also has a sense of making us understand our present and where we’re heading next.
What is ‘Fearless (Taylor’s version)’ exactly?
Swift said back in November 2020 that she would rerecord all of her earlier albums so she could own the rights to her own music, as the Deseret News reported. This came after her former record label sold all of the master records of her first six albums — “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989” and “Reputation” — to Scooter Braun’s investment holdings company Ithaca Holdings. To make matters worse for Swift, Braun resold the masters to Shamrock Holdings for $300 million.
So Swift, who no longer holds the master copies of her music, decided to rerecord her first five albums. Per Entertainment Weekly, her contract allowed her to do so beginning in November 2020. In the future, she’ll get the chance to rerecord her album “Reputation,” too. Swift currently holds the master records from her recent albums “Lover,” “folklore” and “evermore.”
Back in February, Swift announced she had finished rerecording her Grammy-winning album “Fearless” and that it would be “coming out soon.”
She later revealed the album would come out April 9 with a bunch of rerecorded songs and some new ones, which she labeled “from the vault.” These songs were written and recorded at the time of “Fearless” but cut from the original version of the album.
‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ is an escape
The first thing that hit me with “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” was a weird feeling that I was in 2008 again. That’s when the album was first recorded and when many of the songs started to hit the charts. I remember specifically “Love Story” playing at my 2009 high school cotillion dance, and many of us remarking that the moment of the night was when the song played (shoutout to Ryan Davis).
For millennials, many songs from “Fearless” defined the love story of our own lives. “Fifteen” — a song about being 15 and trying to work your way through the minefield of love — helped us understand our own relationships. “Hey Stephen” made us reconsider who we had feelings for. “You Belong With Me” could not make us pine anymore for our crushes. “Breathe” and “The Way I Loved You” had us all pining for those we loved. “Love Story” defined a generation of heart-filled teenagers of the late-2000s.
But now we’re 30. Those lovely days of high school and early college are over, and we are now adults living in the real world getting vaccine shots in a pandemic. The wistful beauty of “Fearless” doesn’t feel as real as it did back then. Listening to the album — 12 years removed from that 2009 cotillion night — feels like I’m seeing through the looking glass. Using rose-colored glasses at a past that didn’t really exist. Our crushes, love lives and relationships are never what we expected them to be.
For me, my high school love life was defined by crushes. So many crushes. And because of that, I could identify with Swift. She pined for a boy she might never date. I crushed for girls I would never date (shoutout to — well, I’ll leave her name out). I tried to understand love, but never really knew what it meant.
Hearing Swift now, it makes me think about those old crushes and the hopeless romanticism of a high school teenager. It’s a time we never forget because we’re fearless as we seek out the hearts of those we want. There’s so much optimism for a romantic life, a world full of relationships and dates and beauty. We don’t understand any of it when we’re young, and yet we carry on fearlessly into the day.
If anything, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” will make you escape to the days when you were walking through the high school hallway with your Envy 2, hoping you’ll get a movie theater date with the boy or girl next door. You’ll meet them at the mall. You’ll have a night of pure bliss.
And that escape feels right.