Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Swift Speaks Again - Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)

After much anticipation Taylor Swift has released ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’, retrieving the ownership of yet another one of her albums.

 This is the third re-recorded album of Swift’s, following ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ following a dispute with her old record label Big Machine Records.

‘Speak Now’ was initially released in 2010, her third album, and the first that was solely written by the singer-songwriter. It became the first album since 2008 to sell over 1 million copies in its first week, as well as debuting at Number 1 on the US Billboard 200 Chart. 

The achievements don’t stop there, since ‘Speak Now’became the fastest-selling album by a female country artist in the United States. She won 2 Grammy awards for the song ‘Mean’ (Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song) Also, since Swift embarked on her monumental Eras Tour, the album made its way back onto the UK’s Top 40 since its initial 2010.

Back in 2019, shortly after leaving Big Machine Records for Republic Records, Taylor Swift and the owner of the former, Scooter Braun, came into conflict over the ownership of Swift’s music. Braun had acquired her first 6 albums upon her departure from the label, meaning he essentially owns her work, the only way to get it back was to re-record it, and she did so in style.

In May 2023, during the first Nashville show of The Eras Tour, Taylor announced the July 7th release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ sending the crowd (and the internet) wild. Following from her own lead, she also added several unreleased tracks from The Vault – ‘Electric Touch (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault] (Ft. Fall Out Boy)’, ‘When Emma Falls in Love (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]’, ‘I Can See You (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]’, ‘Castles Crumbling (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault] (Ft. Hayley Williams)’, ‘Foolish One (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]’ and ‘Timeless (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]’. 

Fans predicted all the way back in October 2022 with the release of ‘Midnights’ and the ‘Bejewelled’ music video that ‘Speak Now’ would be the next album re-released by Swift, and they were correct. One of the many specialties of these re-recordings is hearing Taylor’s matured vocals, a reminder to her fans of how far she has come since the beginning of her career.

Swift wrote on her Instagram that the album is, “about the whims, fantasies, heartaches, dramas and tragedies I lived out as a young woman.” She also stated, “the memories it brough back filled me with nostalgia and appreciation. For life, for you, for the fact I get to reclaim my work.” The mixture of pop rock and country on this album is reflective of the ferocious manner in which she is taking back what is rightfully hers. 

One of the most talked about moments of the album is the lyric change in the song ‘Better Than Revenge’; what used to be “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress” is now “He was a moth to the flame/ She was holding the matches”. This comes amidst the regret Taylor expressed a few years ago about the original lyrics which have been labelled as misogynistic, by changing these lyrics, it makes this album all the more powerful. 

Taylor Swift is currently in the American leg of her Eras Tour, and recently announced her international dates. Upon the release of ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ fans are speculating what album she’ll be re-recording next – ‘Reputation’? ‘1989’? ‘Taylor Swift’?



Sienna Norris


Image: ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ Official Album Cover


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