Taylor Swift is revisiting the era that shot her to international stardom — and she's moving forward head first, fearless!
On Friday, Swift dropped Fearless (Taylor's Version), after re-recording the masters of her smash 2008 sophomore album. The re-release includes all 13 of the LP's original songs, the six additional tracks from the album's "Platinum Edition," and her Valentine's Day single "Today Was a Fairytale," as well as six original, unreleased songs from the vault — and there's also an enchanting remix of "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" by Swedish singer-producer Elvira.
After Scooter Braun bought Swift's former record label Big Machine — and with it, the masters to Swift's first six albums — the singer confirmed she would be re-recording her entire catalog so that she would own her art. (Braun has since sold the masters to a private equity firm but continues to profit off them.)
And in February, Swift announced that Fearless would be the first album she would re-release. Fearless (Taylor's Version) sounds nearly identical to the original, only Swift's vocals are stronger 13 years later. Swifties will appreciate how faithful she remains to the original album — and will enjoy the previously unheard tracks she has unleashed.
Here, PEOPLE breaks down all the new music included on her unprecedented project, Fearless (Taylor's Version), which Swift co-produced with Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner.
“You All Over Me” (feat. Maren Morris)
Swift teamed up with country star Maren Morris for her first vault track.
Swift has long been a Morris fan: She's included her music on various playlists over the years and even invited her onstage at an Arlington, Texas, Reputation Stadium Tour show, where they sang Morris' megahit "The Middle." But "You All Over Me" is their first proper collaboration, as Morris harmonizes with Swift and sings background vocals throughout the track, which is about that all-too-familiar feeling of trying to move on from heartbreak.
Some of the song's lyrics might remind listeners of another Swift track. In "You All Over Me," Swift sings: "Swore that I'd get out of here / But no amount of freedom gets you clean / I've still got you all over me." This Fearless-era cut seems to have been a pre-cursor to her 1989 album closer "Clean" with Imogen Heap, which featured a similar sentiment in its opening verse: "You're still all over me / Like a wine-stained dress I can't wear anymore."
“Mr. Perfectly Fine”
The second vault track, "Mr. Perfectly Fine," also bridges the gap between Fearless and another era: Red.
After a split that Swift clearly took harder than her ex-lover, she calls her heartbreaker "Mr. casually cruel." Any devout Swift disciple knows that phrase from the sucker-punch of a bridge from her beloved 2012 deep cut "All Too Well," in which she sings: "And you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest." Clearly Ms. Swift knew that that line from the unreleased "Mr. Perfectly Fine" was so good she had to hold on to it for future use in what has become her biggest fan-favorite.
As for the identity of the titular cad? Fans think it's Joe Jonas, with whom Swift had a messy public breakup back in 2008. All's well between the exes now, though. He seemingly inspired a line in her 2020 song "Invisible String" ("Cold was the steel of my axes to grind for the boys who broke my heart / Now I send their babies presents"), and Swift is friends with his wife, Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. Turner even gave "Mr. Perfectly Fine" her stamp of approval, sharing it on Instagram, saying, "It's not NOT a bop.""
“We Were Happy”
"We Were Happy" is a wistful ballad in which Swift looks back on a relationship that worked until it didn't.
The production is spare, with Swift singing over an acoustic guitar, with longtime friend Keith Urban providing background vocals (more on their collaborations below).
Sonically and thematically, "We Were Happy" sounds like a cousin of her hit "White Horse," which won the 2010 Grammys for best female country vocal performance and best country song.
Interestingly, famed Nashville songwriter Liz Rose is credited with co-writing both those tracks, as well as 12 others — including "Tim McGraw," "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "You Belong with Me" — on Swift's self-titled debut and Fearless.
“That’s When” (feat. Keith Urban)
Aussie superstar Urban makes his second Fearless (Taylor's Version) appearance on the duet "That's When," which finds two exes reminiscing on a relationship that went south.
Urban was the perfect duet partner to tap for the album because Swift actually served as an opening act on his Escape Together World in 2009 while she was promoting Fearless.
"I'm really honored that @keithurban is a part of this project, duetting on That's When and singing harmonies on We Were Happy," Swift recently wrote on Instagram. "I was his opening act during the Fearless album era and his music has inspired me endlessly."
For his part, Urban has long been a fan of Swift — and he loved her 2019 single "Lover" so much that he covered it in concert.
"Every now and then you hear a song that you love and wish you'd written…. and a HUGE thx to my band as well – we didn't get to rehearse so…. this is us fully winging it," Urban wrote on Instagram at the time. (The two also sing on duet on "Highway Don't Care."
Swift teamed up with her longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff to co-produce several cuts from the vault, including "Mr. Perfectly Fine," "That's When," Bye Bye Baby" — and "Don't You."
With its '80s-leaning production and some Antonoff signatures (synths, drum machine, vocoder), this track is reminiscent of some of Swift and Antonoff's best work together, from "Getaway Car" (reputation) and "Cruel Summer" (Lover) to "Mirrorball" (folklore).
The lyrics, though, are similar to those of her 1989 hit "Style," in which Swift briefly reconnected with an ex, romanticizing their history: "It's been a while since I have even heard from you … I say 'I've heard that you've been out and about with some other girl, some other girl.' He says 'What you've heard is true but I / Can't stop thinking about you' and I / I said 'I've been there too a few times.'"
But on "Don't You," when Swift bumps into an ex, memories from their lost love come rushing back and it's almost too much to bear.
"I knew I'd run into you somewhere It's been a while, I didn't mean to stare / I heard she's nothing like me I'm sure she'll make you happy," Swift sings on the previously unreleased track. "But don't you / Don't you smile at me and ask me how I've been / Don't you say you've missed me if you don't want me again / You don't know how much I feel I love you still."
“Bye Bye Baby”
The sixth and final track from the Fearless era vault, "Bye Bye Bye" includes several of Swift's favorite tropes: storytelling about moodily driving a car, heartbreak, bidding adieu to a former beau—and delightfully extra metaphors (see: "The picture frame is empty / On the dresser, vacant just like me").
“Love Story (Taylor’s Version) [Elvira Remix]”
Okay, this one isn't from the vault, per se. But this soaring dance remix of classic Swift canon breathes such a new life into "Love Story," it sounds like a new song — except you already know all the words.
Swedish pop star Elvira Anderfjärd (of Max Martin's MXM Productions) produced the update, which deserves to be on heavy rotation all summer
The remix also teases how successful Swift could be should she ever decide to toy with an EDM project. After all, she proved her chops writing Rihanna and Calvin Harris' 2016 banger "This Is What You Came For" (as Nils Sjöberg).
Who knows what direction Swift will head in when she comes out of the woods from her cottage-core fantasy land of folklore and evermore — but she'd fit right in on the dance floor. But hey, she still has five more albums to re-record!
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