By Miranda Lin
Despite the toll that the pandemic took on the music industry, pop artist Taylor Swift continued to deliver songs to her fans and community. After releasing two surprise albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Swift took to social media again in February 2021 to announce her next project. Highly anticipated by her fans, she announced her re-recorded album of her first six studio albums, which she has been looking forward to releasing for over a year now.
In June of 2019, the CEO of Swift’s former record label Big Machine Label Group (BMLG), Scott Borchetta, sold her masters to well-known record executive Scooter Braun; however, due to tense relations with Braun in the past, the announcement left Swift in shock. In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Swift recalled that she did not even know about this transaction until it had hit the media.
“I knew he was going to sell my music. I just couldn’t believe who he had sold it to,” said Swift during the interview.
“...many fans have been excited for the songs with Swift’s more mature voice as well as the time when she can finally own all of her music...”
While the issue later seemed to be resolved as she performed at the AMAs and released her documentary with no objections, neither Swift nor her fans easily forgot about this feud. Following the dispute, in November 2020, Swift took to Twitter to let her fans know that her masters had yet again been sold without her knowledge. Through a private equity group, Shamrock Holdings, Braun sold her albums which would still give him rights allowing him to financially benefit from her music even after the reselling. With her fans angered and frustrated, Swift once again reassured everyone that she was already in the process of re-recording and that the songs would be out soon.
The first re-recorded album, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” has 27 songs and was released on April 9. It includes the 20 original songs from the “Fearless” and “Fearless Platinum Edition” albums originally released in November of 2008. It also includes six never-before-heard songs “From The Vault,” which Swift explained were songs that she had written during the Fearless era but had not made it onto the original album. The album included a newer and more mature version of some of her hit songs, most notably “You Belong With Me,” “Fifteen,” “White Horse,” the title track, “Fearless,” and the already released re-recording of “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” among other tracks. In addition to these, Taylor has released “You All Over Me ft. Maren Morris (From The Vault),” and “Love Story (Taylor’s Version) - Elvira Remix,” which is featured as the 27th and bonus track ahead of time. The album will also feature the original collaboration with Colbie Caillat on “Breathe (Taylor’s Version)” and newer collaborations with Keith Urban on “That’s When (From The Vault)” and “We Were Happy (From The Vault).” While opinions differ on whether or not the re-recordings will sound or feel the same as the originals, many fans have been excited for the songs with Swift’s more mature voice as well as the time when she can finally own all of her music.
Reproduced with permission from Wikimedia Commons
Taylor Swift performs in the tour of the original "Fearless" album, which was re-recorded this April with her own spin on the music.
"I am not mad that she’s re-recording her music because I honestly love her songs so it’s nice to hear them like they’re being released for the first time. I do understand why she is re-recording them as well but if she decided not to I would not have a different opinion. I can also see and feel her disappointment when her masters were sold to someone else when she had expressed interest in buying it. I don’t understand why the recording company would sell to another company when the artist has an interest in owning their work.” said junior Briana Dunn.
“I am very excited that she is re-recording her songs! I enjoyed listening to the originals growing up with my sister. Also I think it is great that she is finally going to own the songs she wrote. I really enjoyed the first two songs she released and I can’t wait to hear the rest!” said junior Stephanie Ragusa.
As fans were getting excited and letting this all sink in, Swift took to her Instagram stories to share a snippet of “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” from her incredibly successful "1989" album via a movie trailer. Fans believe that “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is the next re-recorded album she will be releasing. Although many were excited, there was some speculation about whether or not these re-recordings will be eligible for the Recording Academy’s Grammy Awards. With confirmation of award eligibility, this has fans excited about the possibility of more future Album Of The Year success at the Grammys for Swift after her record-breaking win this year for “Folklore.”