Taylor’s Version

by Neve Kelley

Renowned pop singer Taylor Swift is wowing fans across the nation with re-recordings of her earlier albums. “Fearless,” originally released in 2008, was re-released on April 9, 2021, this time titled “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” Fans adored this album, feeling nostalgic for the classics and loving the new additions. On November 12, 2021, Swift released “Red (Taylor’s Version).” Fans are not only loving the tribute to Swift’s journey and how far she has traveled as an artist, but are also seeing the “golden age of something good and right and real.”

The distinction of these albums as “Taylor’s Version” is an attempt by Swift to regain ownership of music released earlier in her career (CNN). Swift’s old record label, Big Machine Records, had been sold to music manager Scooter Braun, and with the sale, Braun received the rights to all the master recordings of Swift’s music. This means that anyone wanting to use one of those songs in a TV show, movie, or advertisement had to ask Braun’s permission in addition to paying him a fee (Vox). Swift was devastated. In a Tumblr post she made discussing the situation, Swift said, “All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at [Braun’s] hands for years.” She was given the opportunity to “earn” back her albums one at a time but refused to have her future sold away in such a manner. Since then, she has made it a goal for all of her music to be released on her terms.

“Taylor’s Version” albums do not only include re-recordings of Swift’s old songs but also songs “From the Vault,” that were previously unreleased. Devoted Taylor Swift fans who were already listening to “Fearless” and “Red” on repeat would now have something even more special to enjoy. Since her split with Big Machine Records in 2018, Swift has released five albums—”Lover,” “Folklore,” “Evermore,” “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” and “Red (Taylor’s Version).” Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone Magazine describes Swift as being in her “fiercest creative peak.” Earlier this year, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart; this album also made her the first woman ever to have three number-one albums in less than a year (CNN). Swift’s “Song All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)” debuted atop the Spotify Top 50 Global chart. Given her consistent success, we can anticipate that Swift’s most recent album will achieve similar honors in the coming months. After the release of two major albums and two re-recordings amidst a pandemic, Swift seems unstoppable. 

Fans everywhere have been blown away by Taylor Swift’s incredible work throughout the past year. Her songwriting talents, directorial abilities (as demonstrated by “All Too Well: The Short Film’’), and ambition are awestriking. Those watching are excited to see the next steps Swift will take. They know her journey is far from complete. 

About Neve Kelley

Neve Kelley a senior in the International Baccalaureate Program at Richwoods High School. In addition to being in an academically rigorous program, she is also heavily involved in community and school theatre productions. She takes private voice lessons and has been involved with choir and madrigals at Richwoods. Kelley is the co-editor in chief of her school paper, sits on the executive board of student council, and is in various school clubs. She also spends much of her time working as a barista at Leaves ‘n Beans in Peoria Heights. 

About Qaasaani Little

Qaasaani Little is a freshman at Richwoods High School. Little is a member of Student Leadership Team and Student Council. She has loved art for as long as she can remember, including painting and drawing. Little’s artwork is for sale. She also loves animals, after school activities, and is inspired by her mom for always pushing her to do my best.