Taylor Swift fearlessly begins the process of re-recording her discography


Amber Roldan

Fans continue to play Fearless (Taylors Version) on repeat since its release on April 9th. The 26 track album tells stories of heartbreak, love, and moving on. “My favorite track [on Fearless (Taylors Version) is ‘Forever & Always (Piano Version)’. I’ve had a lot of failed friendships where they’d say they won’t forget about me and they won’t leave but that’s obviously not the case. I’m also a sucker for ballads so I like the piano version more,” NC junior Caroline Anglin said.

Amber Roldan, Features Editor

Grammy winner and international music sensation, Taylor Swift, spent 15 years creating a name for herself within the realm of music. Throughout her career, the distinguished artist seamlessly switched music genres, rising to the top of country, pop, alternative, and indie music charts across the world. The 31-year-old star continues to dazzle fans with the release of her re-recorded award-winning 2008 album, Fearless. Swift released Fearless (Taylors Version) on April 9th after shocking fans with its release date on February 11th with a secret message hidden in an Instagram post.

 “With COVID-19 and everything, nothing about my senior year has really been exciting, but as a huge Taylor Swift fan, her re-releasing Fearless was amazing. It came out originally in 2008 when I was in kindergarten, so her releasing it again 13 years later was crazy given that I’m older now, and I connect to and relate with the songs a lot more,” NC senior Jamie Deutchman said.

Preceding April 9th, Swift’s discography included 10 studio albums. However, the American singer only owns her five most recent albums released after 2019. Swift signed with Big Machine Records at the ripe age of 15 years old. Her musical talent rapidly earned her fame and acknowledgment across the world. The young musician released her first 6 albums: Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation with the record label that appeared to stand by her side. This ultimately proved futile when Big Machine Records headed by Scott Borchetta, took advantage of young Swift. Borchetta sold his independent record label, Big Machine, in June of 2019. Scooter Bruan bought the label and by extension, Taylor Swift’s masters and music. Braun wanted to make a quick buck and decided to once again sell all of the masters to Swift’s old music. While Swift eagerly offered to purchase the masters to the music she poured years of time and dedication into, Bruan declined the offer. Bruan arranged to sell the masters to Shamrock Holdings. Swift found out about the sale of her music when she received a letter in the mail from Shamrock Holdings. The letter disclosed that the private equity company purchased 100% of Swift’s music, videos, and album art from Scooter Bruan. This sale allowed Scooter Bruan to continue to profit from Swift’s first six albums. In a response letter sent to Shamrock Holdings, Swift explained that she would continue the pursuit of re-recording her first 6 albums.

“I feel the need to be very transparent with you. I will be going forward with my original re-recording schedule and will be embarking on that effort soon. I know this will diminish the value of my old masters, but I hope you will understand that this is my only way of regaining the sense of pride I once had when hearing songs from my first six albums and also allowing my fans to listen to those albums without feelings of guilt for benefiting Scooter,” Swift said.

Swift stayed true to her word with Fearless (Taylor’s Version), boasting a 1-hour 46-minute length with 26 tracks. The first 19 tracks feature all 19 tracks originally released on Swift’s 2008 Fearless Platinum Edition album. In addition to re-recording these 19 tracks, Swift included “Today Was A Fairytale” which debuted in the 2010 film, Valentine’s day. Much to the delight of Swifties around the world, Swift included 6 songs “from The Vault” on her latest album. Swift wrote each vault song featured on her latest album when she originally wrote and produced Fearless in 2008. However, after careful consideration, Swift chose not to include the six songs on the original album. The release of these six vault songs thrilled fans around the world providing them with the opportunity to hear new songs written by a younger Swift executed by an older Swift with a matured voice.

As Swift continues the process of re-recording her music, she tackles the prominent issue of artists owning their masters. Over the course of the past week since the release of Fearless (Taylors Version), Swift received high praise from fans and artists alike. Fearless (Taylors Version) became the most popular country album in the first week of its release in the past six years and remains the top release of 2021 so far.  Swift’s fearlessness throughout this lengthy process brings joy to fans everywhere while simultaneously inspiring artists to take action and regain ownership of their masters. Fans speculate that Swift will release the re-recorded version of 1989 next after hearing a preview of Wildest Dreams (Taylors Version) in Dreamworks Animation film’s trailer of Spirit Untamed. Until then, fans embrace the release of Fearless (Taylors Version) and find classic songs including “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” on repeat once again.

 “Because Taylor no longer owned the majority of her albums, she wasn’t getting any benefits from them. I listen to Taylor’s older music pretty often still, and it’s has felt wrong to listen to the albums she no longer owned. Re-recording these albums provided fans with a way to listen to her music, in a way in which she actually owned it. It’s also like hearing the more mature, older Taylor, sort of speaking to younger 2008 Taylor and the growth is really interesting when comparing the tracks on the two albums,” NC senior Jamie Deutchman said.