Back when Taylor Swift pulled the ultimate #GirlBoss move and announced that she would be re-recording her first sixth albums following Scott Borchetta’s sale of her masters to Scooter Braun, Swift’s fans were sent into a feverish frenzy thinking about what could be. Now, we finally have our hands on Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and its time to breakdown the biggest and the smallest changes on the new version.
The Vault Tracks
The most obvious change to Fearless (Taylor’s Version) were the “6 never before released songs from the vault” which Swift announced with the album’s release date back in February. The first track, ‘You All Over Me’ featuring Maren Morris, arrived back in March. Fans who have been with Swift since the original Fearless were quick to point out that it wasn’t exactly never before heard, however it was nice to have an official version. ‘Mr. Perfectly Fine’ dropped just two days before the album and delivered everything fans could have wanted from a vault song. Full of classic Fearless-era Swiftian lyrics and key change, the cut is supposedly written about Joe Jonas (truly the relationship that keeps on giving). Even that wasn’t enough to stop it getting the seal of approval from Jonas’ own wife Sophie Turner.
With the official album, fans got ‘That’s When’ *featuring Keith Urban) and ‘We Were Happy’, both of which veteran fans had also heard before but that doesn’t make them any less amazing. We also got ‘Don’t You’, which, with Jack Antonoff production, slips a bit towards 1989 territory, and ‘Bye Bye Baby’, which feels very Fearless (there is a lyric referencing rain in the first verse – what else do you want from her?).
Production and Vocals
One of the best things about the re-recordings is that the production and vocals all get a refresh, something particularly exciting for the early eras of Swift’s career. The production on a lot of tracks benefit from fuller, crisper production particularly the title track and even ‘Love Story’ (who knew you could improve on greatness?).
If you haven’t noticed, Swift’s vocals have improved ten-fold in the 13 years since Fearless‘ initial release (compare her 2008 Grammy performance with Stevie Nicks to her 2021 Grammy performance and you will see the difference). Some of the songs on the original Fearless, fell victim some weaker vocals, which the newest recording has remedied (‘Tell Me Why’ no has the vocals deserving of its brilliance). Otherwise known for the smash hit that is her duet ‘Lucky’ with Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat returns and gets lucky on ‘Breathe’. Her barely there backing vocals on the 2008 version are upgraded to less barely there here, so you can officially hear her. As the late great Jessica Walters uttered so wonderfully in Arrested Development, “Good for her”!
While Swift has remained as close as possible to the the original in an effort to foil the plans of evil masterminds Borchetta and Braun (the #girlbossery on display is astounding), there are some minor changes between the two versions. Most notably, in ‘You Belong With Me’, Swift changed “I’m in the room” to “I’m in my room”, which is possibly intended to reflect the now iconic music video. before you try to say this is minor, you should try and sing along and feel yourself lose a few brain cells as you sing “the” and she sings “my”. The piano version of ‘Forever & Always’ also offers some changes. “Baby, what happened?” changes to a simple “What happened?” because in case you haven’t heard ‘Mr. Perfectly Fine’, 2008 Joe Jonas is undeserving of being referred to as “Baby”. She also changes some inflections in the second verse, bring her experience from her critically acclaimed performance as Bombalurina in the smash hit film adaptation of Cats. She serves us Broadway theatrics as she ponders “Where is this going?” and Oprah Winfrey-interviwing-Meghan Markle theatrics “Here’s to the silence that cuts me to the core”.
Finally, and possibly most egregiously, Swift’s enunciation has improved in 13 years, and this brings us far to close to the rewriting of history on ‘White Horse’, where her famously inability to properly pronounce “not your princess” launched many a meme about her being a “nacho princess” in the year 2008. However, her enunciation isn’t perfect even in 2021, but its is up to date whether or not Swift avoids blasphemy in this case.
Notice any other changes? Let us know so we can update this article and keep all of our fellow members of the Taylor Swift fandom/pyramid scheme up to date!