Courtesy of Republic Records

April 21, 2021

Taylor Swift Brings Out the Nostalgia With Her Re-recorded Version of “Fearless”

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Taylor Swift revives all the emotions and pop-country feel of her old sound in her newly released, Fearless (Taylor’s Version).

Swift dropped the new album after much anticipation on April 9. This follows the release of the re-recorded version of “Love Story” along with two new tracks from the vault for fans to enjoy in anticipation of the full album. The idea for a remake came after her previous label was sold to Scooter Braun, along with her master recordings. Swift decided to revisit the songs independently, allowing her to make her own profits.

Fans were certainly not disappointed with the re-recorded album, as all of the songs are just as they remembered them from 2008. The new versions brought waves of 2000s nostalgia and pop-country vibes to Spotify and Apple Music listeners worldwide.

The album included 26 tracks, with 20 re-recorded songs and 6 never-heard-before tracks. The re-recorded songs brought a whirlwind of emotions as fans were able to experience the Fearless album for the first time all over again.

The most notable difference between the original and Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is that her voice has changed and matured quite a bit. Swift’s voice showcases more depth and an expanded  vocal range. With an increased vocal range, she can utilize her voice to not overexert herself in the tracks, making the sounds on the album seamless.

Swift also has a lot more vocal control than when she first recorded the album, so she makes a point to hold back on some of her lower notes as to not take away from the sound and effectively enhance the lyrics. Many artists are not able to execute this trick in their songs — Swift utilizes this skill to her advantage in the re-recordings. This effect is done particularly well in “Fifteen,” where you can tell that she has a lot more control over her voice and she uses it to make the song sound that much stronger.

It’s almost unmistakable that she has made some tweaks to the tracks in the re-recording process. There’s the same pop-country and eclectic vibes but with subtle adjustments that, honestly, strengthen the songs. Examples of these customizations are clear in “You Belong With Me,” as the sound has a bit of a different vibe but holds onto the same pop-country sound. It seems like Swift sat down and analyzed which specific elements in the songs needed to be perfected and tweaked each accordingly. For hardcore fans, the adjustments can be noticeable at some points, despite being so subtle, but for fans not as familiar with the original album, the two versions of the song sound almost identical.

Listeners can better hear the southern twang in Swift’s voice on Fearless (Taylor’s Version) than in her more recent music, which is a nice change. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is an impressive re-recording of her old music with subtle changes that give the music a more modern spin. 

One of the most beautiful extensions of her changes to the new versions is broader harmonies using multiple overlays of her voice. These harmonies boost the sound of the vocals while helping to maintain a balance with the  instrumentals. Everything is more balanced without making the tracks seem completely different or overwhelming.

The most impressive renditions of  old songs are “Forever & Always” and “The Way I Loved You” because of the new musical elements introduced to them that intensify the tracks, as well as the new stylistic vocal choices that Swift chooses to implement.

The new songs complement the re-recorded old tracks on the new album. By giving listeners new songs in the same style as the old sound, we are able to experience a different side to the album while remaining in the era of 2008 Taylor Swift. “Mr. Perfectly Fine” and “Don’t You” are some nice, notable additions. However, it seems that the new tracks almost get lost in the excitement of the old songs. The emphasis isn’t necessarily on the new songs, and they don’t stand out as much compared to her beloved songs from the 2000s.

Nevertheless, fans will be delighted to relive the heartbreak and emotions of Fearless all over again nearly 13 years after its initial release. The album is worth listening to because it’s a source of pure nostalgia, but also because it’s a genuinely great rendition of the original album. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is a perfect example of how an artist can reminisce and recreate their glory days while also implementing some welcome improvements. 

Maddy Remington is a Freshman in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at mer293@cornell.edu.