Fans Have a ‘Love Story’ with “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”

Alycia Wong, News Editor

When I was five, I always played “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift on Guitar Hero, screaming the lyrics I had internalized in the microphone. Thirteen years later, I belt out the same words to a familiar, yet matured voice in the driver’s seat of my car following the release of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”

“Fearless” was Swift’s No. 1 record back in 2008 and the re-recorded version was met with the same success, debuting at the top of Billboard’s charts instantly. “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” includes all 19 songs from her original deluxe album, a song from 2010 and 6 “Vault” tracks (songs she wrote, but hadn’t released). As the only re-recorded album to ever take the top spot, the new record sold 291,000 album units in the U.S., making it the biggest first week for any 2021 album and the biggest week for a country album since 2015.

But why is Taylor Swift re-recording her albums? In 2005, record executive Scott Borchetta signed Taylor Swift to Big Machine Records. However, under this contract, she didn’t own her work’s master (original) recordings, so she didn’t have the rights to make, sell or distribute copies of her songs. Borchetta eventually sold Big Machine Records to Scooter Braun of Ithaca Holdings, who refused her ownership of her masters. Now signed to Universal Music Group, Swift controls her recent music but is currently re-recording her old work to gain rightful ownership.

Updating 17,000 TikTok followers about Swift, Bailey Houghton has shared why she thought “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” was such a hit. (Note: she’s been a Swiftie since the very beginning 2006 debut album).

“I think that it’s been successful for two reasons – older swifties like myself are excited to relive and revel in the nostalgia of the release, and younger swifties that were too young to really revel in it when it was initially released feel like they’re experiencing it for the first time,” she said.

Personally, I experienced a little bit of both. Taylor’s Version of “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me” brought me back to blissful elementary school days, while the production quality of “Tell Me Why” and “The Way I Loved You” gave me a newfound appreciation for the songs as I replayed them.

Some fans have stated that they still prefer to listen to Swift’s younger voice; however, both Houghton and I disagree with this sentiment. Houghton summarized it best when she gave her thoughts on the matter: “The fact that Taylor owns this work and that she has been so excited to put it out and remaster it all outweighs the nostalgia of the older versions” she argued.

Swifties are extremely eager for the release of the re-recorded versions of the other five albums, through which they can relive their past and hear each song in a new light.

Personally, I absolutely loved “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” While I wasn’t a huge fan of the Vault Tracks (except Mr. Perfectly Fine), the entire album was masterfully created and sentimental. Overall, I’d rate the album a 8.5/10.

Now at eighteen with a job, I’m looking forward to buying all the merchandise I wasn’t able to purchase as a kid and revisit the times when I only listened to Swift’s album “Red” for months or made “Blank Space” my ringtone in middle school.