Fearless, Taylor’s Version (a review)

Hailin Zhang

On April 9, Taylor Swift dropped a rerecorded version of her album Fearless. Released in November 2008, listening to the album instantly brings a sense of nostalgia. We only felt it was appropriate to include our review of Fearless, Taylor’s Version.

The album features all 19 original tracks on Fearless. Swift added six additional tracks “From the Vault:” “You All Over Me,” “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” “We Were Happy,” “That’s When,” “Don’t You” and “Bye Bye Baby.” “Today Was a Fairytale,” which Swift wrote for the 2010 romantic comedy Valentine’s Day completes the track list.

“From the Vault” simply refers to tracks that Swift’s written over the course of her career. Some were meant for various albums that were cut “for reasons that, to me, don’t really matter now,” Swift said.

Why did Swift rerecord Fearless?

Long story short, Swift lost the masters to her first five albums after leaving BMG for Republic Records in 2018. When she requested to purchase these recordings on her own terms, BMG told her she was out of luck. Unsatisfied, she decided to rerecord her previous albums. Thus, Swifties can look forward to plenty more Taylor’s Versions in the future.

What’s different about Taylor’s Version?

Each track retains its essence and would probably sound the same to a casual listener. Of course, there are some changes, mainly regarding production and vocals. For instance, Swift emphasizes certain words differently and slightly alters tunes here and there. Other tweaks include minor tempo changes and a more modern sound to the instrumentals.

What are the new tracks about?

The first track from The Vault, “You All Over Me,” features background vocals from country singer Maren Morris. It’s a catchy, sentimental ballad about not being able to get over an ex. Swift sings, “The way the tires turn stones, on old country roads / They leave ‘em muddy underneath / Reminds me of you” and “Swore that I’d get out of here / But no amount of freedom gets you clean / I’ve still got you all over me,” implying that everything serves as a reminder of the narrator’s past relationship.

“Mr. Perfectly Fine,” an energetic country pop track, describes the narrator’s complex feelings after getting her heart broken by a player who hides behind empty promises and a façade. Swift sings, “Mr. ‘Insincere apology so he doesn’t look like the bad guy” and “‘Cause I hear he’s got his arm ‘round a brand-new girl / I’ve been pickin’ up my heart, he’s been pickin’ up her.”

“We Were Happy” describes the narrator’s guilt about falling out of love with her boyfriend through lyrics like “When it was good, baby, it was good, baby” and “Oh, I hate those voices telling me I’m not in love anymore / But they don’t give me choices and that’s what these tears are for.”

“That’s When” is a duet between Swift and country singer Keith Urban. The song depicts a couple who decide to part ways but realize that they’ve made the wrong choice. Urban sings, “Then through your phone / Came all your tears / And I said, ‘Leave those all in our past’ / And you said, ‘When can I-I-I come back?’” and Swift sings, “That’s when, when I see your face / That’s when I love you, that’s when.”

“Don’t You” tells the story of the narrator running into an ex who doesn’t realize the pain he’s caused her. Swift sings, “But don’t you, don’t you / Smile at me and ask how I’ve been / Don’t say you’ve / Missed me if you don’t want me again / You don’t know how much I feel I love you” and “So I walk outta here tonight / Try to go on with my life / And you can say we’re still friends / (But I don’t wanna pretend).”

“Bye Bye Baby,” like the title insinuates, is about the end of a relationship. Swift sings, “I’m drivin’ away and I, I guess you could say / This is the last time I’ll drive this way again” and “Then the here and the now floods in / Feels like I’m becoming a part of your past.”

And that’s it for our review of Fearless, Taylor’s Version!. You can check out the lyric videos for each track here.