Never in my wildest dreams (sorry, I had to) could I have imagined we would get to revisit the nostalgia of Taylor Swift’s earlier career through the re-recording of her first six albums, much less get to hear unreleased songs from those same musical masterpieces. When the pop star appeared on Good Morning America last week, Swift announced “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” would be coming on Feb. 12 – just in time for Valentine’s Day. She also revealed through a barely concealed code of capitalized letters throughout an Instagram post that “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” would be dropping on April 9. After the dispute over the ownership of her music with former manager and music label, Swift got to work last November to release “Taylor’s version” of each of her award-winning albums.
“I’ve spoken a lot about why I’m remaking my first six albums, but the way I’ve chosen to do this will hopefully help illuminate where I’m coming from,” Swift said in her post. “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.”
Swift’s announcement also revealed the revamped cover art for “Fearless,” which features Swift wearing – what appears to be, but not confirmed – Romeo’s shirt from the 2008 music video for “Love Story,” as if representing she is her own knight in shining armor.
“I’m thrilled to tell you that my new version of fearless is done and will be with you soon,” Swift said in her posts on social media. “It’s called fearless (Taylor’s version) and it includes 26 songs.”
Followers of Swift know the platinum edition of “Fearless” features 19 songs at most. Swift has revealed she will also be including never released songs.
“I’ve decided I want you to have the whole story … let you into the entire dreamscape that is my fearless album,” Swift said. “That’s why I’ve chosen to include 6 never before released songs on my version of this album, written when I was between the ages of 16 and 18, these were the ones it killed me to leave behind.”
Listeners were treated to a teaser of Swift’s re-recording of the 2008 single in a TV spot for Match.com, which starred the appropriate pairing of the devil and the year 2020. Listening to the full version, I was pleasantly surprised by the stripped-back strings in the background that complement the richness of Swift’s matured voice. She captures the transition of a fantastical, wistful vocals of a teen in love to the melancholic musings of one looking back on a treasured romance, without sacrificing the authenticity of the song.
If someone had told me at the beginning of 2020 that Taylor Swift would release two surprise albums within months of each other – the first coming out less than a year since “Lover” dropped – I would have pinched myself. That would seem too good to be true, considering the three year hiatus between “1989” and “Reputation” and the standard two-year span between her other albums. That’s not to mention the surprising indie folk content of “Folklore” and “Evermore,” both being a far departure from the stylistic, electropop of “Reputation” and the dreamy, lyrical pop of “Lover.” However, we should know better than to underestimate Swift at this point. A dynamic artist since the beginning of her career, she and her fanbase feed off each other’s energy; they support Swift throughout her personal and professional changes and cheer on her accomplishments. Swift hints toward an elusive clue embedded in her social media or music and her fans solve and theorize about it mere hours after. Not only are these remastered versions for Swift, but also for her fans – and we are more than willing to revel in her artistry.