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Review: Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)

By Kathryn Taleporos | August 21, 2023

In 2010, the singer Taylor Swift released her first self-written album, “Speak Now,” and in 2023 she re-recorded and re-released this album, adding six new tracks, creating “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).”

When Swift released “Speak Now” in 2010, the album represented life. From scathing break up songs like “Dear John”, to songs about navigating adulthood like “Never Grow Up,” “Speak Now” was written by Swift, for Swift. And now, 13 years later, this album is finally her’s once again.

The reason that Swift has re-recorded this album is because of her old record label, Big Machine Records. Scooter Braun, the owner of Big Machine Records, sold Swift’s masters, (her first six albums), so that Swift no longer owns those albums. The re-recordings give Swift back her albums, which is why the re-recorded albums all say “Taylor’s Version” in parentheses.

One thing about the re-recorded albums that makes them so special is hearing how Swift’s vocals have changed throughout the years. In the song “Mine (Taylor’s Version),” the growth in her vocals is heard prominently throughout the song. When listening to this album, the range is evident.

While most of the original songs on the album sound similar to the ones recorded in 2010, Swift makes some subtle changes in her vocals to showcase the maturity in her voice. She also made some not so subtle changes to her song, “Better than Revenge (Taylor’s Version).” Originally, the lyric in the song was, “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.”

However, this line was heavily criticized and Swift was accused of being anti-feminist with this lyric. For the re-recording, she changed the lyric to be “He was a moth to the flame, she was holding the matches.” This new lyric is different because it shifts the blame from the “other girl” to the guy, and it makes more sense for the environment we are in today. But, the original lyric I think better captures the rage Swift was feeling when she wrote this song, rage that many of her listeners can relate to.

Something else new on the album is the six “From the Vault” tracks. These tracks are songs that Swift wrote and recorded in 2010, but did not end up making the album. The best from these tracks is “Foolish One,” it perfectly captures how sometimes we are delusional, and reminds us that “you are not the exception.” The harsh truth and bluntness in this song is what makes it so relatable to listeners.

Another two favorites among the “From the Vault” tracks are the songs “Electric Touch” and “Castles Crumbling.” “Electric Touch” perfectly captures the 2010 vibes with its Fall Out Boy feature. The song “Castles Crumbling” also features singer Haley Williams from the band Paramore. William’s voice perfectly balances Swift’s voice in the song and makes this collaboration incredible.

Overall, this long-anticipated album not only met, but exceeded expectations. The album represented her life as a young adult in 2010, and now in 2023, that album is not only a symbol of navigating adulthood, but a nostalgic album that brings us all back to a chaotic time. Like all of her re-recorded albums, Swift transports her listeners back to when the album was written.


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