Taylor Swift’s long-anticipated campaign to re-record and reissue her first six studio albums began tonight with the release of a new version of “Love Story,” now conspicuously named “Love Story (Taylor’s Version).”
The version plays essentially identically to the original. Swift didn’t change the music or lyrics, making the most obvious difference her vocal strength (compared to her teen years). Her voice has more range (she can go softer) and more mature now, adding slight intonations and holding notes longer than before. She’s successfully retained the energy that inspired her to write the song in just 30 minutes after her parents criticized a boy she had introduced to them.
The album rerelease, now Fearless (Taylor’s Version), will include new recordings of all 13 tracks from the original album, the six from the “Platinum Edition,” 2009 single “Today was a Fairytale,” and six bonus tracks pulled “from the vault.” In an accompanying letter featuring special coding lifelong Swifties will find all too familiar, a release date of April 9 was revealed. (For those that aren’t lifelong fans, the lyric booklet in her first albums capitalized seemingly random letters that, when compiled, would give new hints into the song’s inspiration.)
In an Instagram announcement, Taylor Swift explained, “I decided I want you to have the whole story, see the entire vivid picture, let you into the entire dreamscape that is my Fearless album.”
Since June 2019, Swift has been embroiled in a feud with music manager and businessman Scooter Braun, who acquired Big Machine Records (and her music catalog) in a deal with Scott Borchetta, who signed her in 2004, she she was 14. Calling the purchase the “worst-case scenario,” since she’d pressed to purchase the master recordings of her first six studio albums before departing to Republic records, she then announced she would re-record the music in an attempt to devalue and retain a sense of authorship over her work.
The effort begins with Fearless, her sophomore album that she released at 18. The album catapulted her to worldwide fame, winning her four Grammys, including Album of the Year; becoming the youngest winner at the time. It stayed at No. 1 for 11 weeks and has been certified 10-times platinum in the U.S. She embarked on her first world tour and set the standard of what it meant to be a country songwriter on the pop charts.
The Fearless era began bringing out the pop performer Swift would soon become. She literally wore her heart on her sleeve by writing lyrics on her arms for shows, weaving her lucky number, 13, into her work, telling stories of Romeo and Juliet and being the awkward girl on the bleachers. The era brought the infamous over-the-phone breakup with Joe Jonas and the seemingly never-ending feud with Kanye West. That’s when West ripped the microphone from her hands at the MTV Video Music Awards.
The album is filled with essential Taylor Swift. Singles “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me” dominated country and pop radio, sold millions of copies each and are still go-tos at shows. “White Horse” won two Grammys, “The Best Day” depicted her and her mother’s affectionate relationship while “Fifteen” introduced fans to her childhood best friend and the perils of freshman year. Inspired by the breakup with Jonas, “Forever and Always” has remained a fan favorite. The title track so effectively encapsulates awkward feelings of fear and freedom experienced at the onset of adulthood.