AUDIO JUNKIE: ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’: Young perspective benefits from experienced execution

Published April 10, 2021, 10:50 AM

by Punch Liwanag

What’s the difference between this album and original version of Taylor Swift’s “Fearless?” Apparently, a lot.

While fans will automatically hail this album as their idol’s best effort since “Folklore” and “Evermore,” this album are for those who are just coming around to the idea that Swift is the real-deal, a pop tunesmith-artist of caliber.

I’m talking about those who weren’t ready yet to accept Swift when she was a rising teen pop star that expertly straddled the line between country and pop with actual singer-songwriter chops that wrote a solid pop hit in “You Belong With Me.”

Those who were past their first love’s story and can’t relate to the syrupy yet earnest way that Swift delivered “Fifteen” more than a dozen years ago.

To those that refused to be dazzled by Swift’s meteoric rise into pop music stardom when her first single “love Story” hit the charts and eventually dictated the tenor of how the following singles would perform on the charts.

If you weren’t there the first time. Then this album is for you.

And there’s more reasons. All 27-tracks of them that is.

High points include Intense “That’s The Way I Loved You,” rockin’ country pop “Change,” and  the acoustic driven simplicity of “White Horse” that sounds even more complete now. Perhaps it’s the depth of Swift’s delivery, who have gone through her fair share of experiences since. Thus, giving said songs a palpable honesty.

And there’s more than a handful of new to bite into too. Six unearthed songs: the just released singles “Mr. Perfectly Right” and “You All Over Me.” The former a country pop rocker and the latter a rootsy country ballad (that features Maren Morris). Modern pop “Bye Bye Baby,” electro-tinged “Don’t You” and folky, lullabye-like “When We Are Happy” are Taylor songs culled from around the same time the original “Fearless” album was recorded. Also, the noir-like feels of “That’s When,” that feature Keith Urban.

Those who follow Taylor’s story would know that the release of “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” is in part, due to the singer’s frustration over the current ownership of her catalog. The fuel being the animosity between Taylor and Scooter Braun, the businessman turned publishing mogul who bought the master recordings of Swift’s first six albums (from Swift’s then music label Big Machine). Braun then sold said masters to an investment fund company for a rumored whopping 300 million dollars. Well regardless of amount, Swift didn’t like the idea that she’s lost control over her early catalog. Enter “Taylor’s Versions,” that hopefully aims to bring back a semblance of control over Taylor’s babies so to speak. Time will tell if Swift’s efforts will pay off.

But regardless of reasons why this album came to be, the recorded performances of the songs from this version of “Fearless” benefits in the most obvious way: the young, wide-eyed perspective of a songwriter benefits from experienced execution.  

Simply put, it’s Taylor Swift very much in her prime. 

 
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