Taylor Swift has been on a roll for the past year, with the release of her first alternative album “Folklore” in August and then with the second release of “Folklore’s” sister album, “Evermore”. That’s not all she’s done in the past year though; she also released a long pond documentary on Disney+ to discuss her album “Folklore”, which also won a Grammy for Album of the Year in March. The success of her new music begs the question: If Swift is doing so well with her new music, why is she re-recording her old albums? The answer: Swift wants to be able to own her own music once again.
Back in August 2019, Swift announced that the masters to her music rights had been sold to Scooter Braun, her former manager, making Braun the owner of her first six albums: her self-titled debut album, “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989” and “Reputation.” After the sale of her music rights, Swift announced that in November 2020 that she would be able to re-record her first five albums, allowing her to have the rights back to her songs. Swift has always been upfront with the media and her fans that she does not like nor want Scooter Braun to own her music, and that she fully intends to get the masters back.
In regards to the re-recorded album, Swift had said she would be keeping almost all lyrics and music the same as the originals, but the maturity in her voice was a common theme throughout the re-records. There were, however, some changes only hardcore Swifties would notice.
You Belong With Me (Taylor’s Version)
In her 2008 version, Swift takes a big gasp in the middle of the bridge in order to have enough air for the next verses, but in Taylor’s version, she doesn’t have to take a gasp. This is an indicator of how much Swift has matured in her singing and expertise within the past 13 years.
The Way I Loved You (Taylor’s Version)
In the original version, Taylor sings the line “I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain, it’s 2 a.m. and I’m cursing your name.” When she says the word cursing in the 2008 version, she whispers it. In her newly recorded one, she does not whisper the word, but sings it wholeheartedly.
Fifteen (Taylor’s version)
Swift was 19 when she first sang the words to “Fifteen” about being a freshman in high school trying to navigate the world of love and loss. Many were excited to hear what she could do with this song, but the perspective that people took gave the song more meaning. At 19, when Swift is singing about high school, she is looking back on her recent teen years. In her newly recorded version, Swift is now 31 and well out of high school. Many people saw the song as her singing to her past self, letting her know that in her life she’ll do “things greater than dating the boy on the football team.”
White Horse (Taylor’s Version)
Saving the best for last, this is the only song where Swift made a lyric change from the original. In the 2008 version, Swift sings “I’m not your princess this ain’t a fairytale, I’m gonna find someone someday who might actually treat me well,” whereas in the re-recorded version, Swift sings “I’m not your princess, this ain’t our fairytale, I’m gonna find someone someday who might actually treat me well.” Although a small change in lyrics, it brings a whole new meaning to the iconic song.
There were not many big changes in her re-recordings because Swift wanted to keep each song as true to the originals as possible. However, you can still hear the maturity in her voice and how much she has grown as an artist over the past decade. Swift now owns four out of her nine albums and has every intention to keep re-recording.