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“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” Review

Wanting to own her music after her song catalogue was bought by Scooter Braun, Taylor Swift re-recorded her second album, aptly naming it “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).”

Although Braun, a record label manager with whom Swift has publicly feuded with in the past, no longer owns Swift’s original content library, he still profits from streaming numbers and uses in advertisements. The extensive new master recordings allow Swift to take in all the money from licensing and millions of streams.

Clocking in at an hour and 46 minutes, Swift’s latest release contains a whopping 26 songs. Along with the expanded 19 tracks from the 2008 platinum edition, “Taylor’s Version” also includes six previously unreleased songs “from the vault.”

As a recent Swiftie convert, I’m not familiar with the original “Fearless” album outside of its big hits like “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me.” That said, I enjoyed finally getting into what some people have been jamming to for 13 years.

From a visual standpoint, the album cover —  combining the flowing hair of the original with Taylor’s current vintage aesthetic — made for a spiritual unity connecting several of her albums.

The visuals aren’t the only similarities between “Fearless” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” Sophomore history education major Gloria Rousseau was surprised by the lack of differences in the musical backing.

“I thought I would be able to tell the difference between the old and new versions, but I can’t at all,” Rousseau said. “I’m amazed by the lengths she went to in order to stay as true as possible to the original sound.”

“Taylor’s Version” is full of nostalgia as it looks back wistfully at the past with the wisdom of experience while the original is swept up in the unabashed vitality of youth. 

No song benefits from the update quite like “Fifteen.” Already a trip down memory lane, the maturity of Swift’s voice lends itself to reflecting “I didn’t know who I was supposed to be at fifteen.”

Fellow sophomore history education major Lia Znaneicki believes the “Fearless” re-record outclasses the 2008 original because of how Swift has grown as an artist.  

“I like Taylor’s version better than the original,” Znaneicki said. “You can tell how much her voice has matured and the vocals on all of the tracks, even though they’re almost identical to the original, have much more depth because her voice has matured.”

As for what’s next for Swift, the future remains bright. Avid fans have dissected her recent appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” for clues on which album is on deck for an update. While the Swifties at ELLE believe “1989” is due for the “Taylor’s Version” treatment, my money’s on her throwback hit with T-Pain, “Thug Story.”

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