In her 2017 hit single “Look What You Made Me Do,” Taylor Swift proclaimed the death of the “old Taylor.” Since her self-titled country style debut album “Taylor Swift,” the artist has gone through a drastic change in her musical career and has now become a pop icon. Although her previous album suggested that she may never go back to her original style, it turns out that maybe the “new Taylor,” contrary to popular belief, misses the “old Taylor.” The artist has decided to release re-recorded versions of her previous albums, starting with the release of one of her most popular songs: Love Story.
The re-release of her songs has definitely brought back nostalgia for many of her fans. After Taylor Swift released the re-recording under the title “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” on February 12, the song has seen millions of streams. Although the song has the same lyrics and composition, the re-recorded version shows how the artist has changed over the years as her voice has become rich and deeper. While the 2009 version tells the love story of a teenage girl, the new 2021 version adds a sentimental sense as if the same girl now in her thirties reminisces about teenage romance. As her fans have grown with her over the years, the matured version of Love Story brings listeners worldwide back to their own teenage years and nostalgia of the ’00s.
However, the re-recording of her old albums goes beyond satisfying her fans and serves as a reclamation of ownership for her songs. After her previous label Big Machine Records was sold to Ithaca Holdings owned by Scooter Braun, the rights to her master recordings to her albums prior to 2018 were sold to the company despite her attempts to buy rights to them. This meant that the commercial use of her songs would be done without her consent as well as the reproduction of master albums of her songs. After a public feud on whether or not her label had deprived her of chances to buy back rights to her own music, Swift decided to re-record her new songs and gain ownership of her original works. This act was a venture against the long standing tradition of the music industry where rights to master recordings usually go to the firm financing the production. Many artists have applauded her decision, supporting her endeavors to protect her artistry against big industry figures.
Regardless, “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” is only the beginning of her journey in re-releasing her five previous albums: “Taylor Swift”, “Fearless”, “Red”, “Speak Now”, and “1989”. Perhaps “old Taylor” has resurrected, opening up a new era for Taylor Swift.
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Li, Shirley. “Taylor Swift Misses the Old Taylor Swift, Too.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 13 Feb. 2021, http://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2021/02/taylor-swift-love-story-rerecording/618019/.
Savage, Mark. “Taylor Swift’s Two Versions of Love Story Compared.” BBC News, BBC, 12 Feb. 2021, http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-56038367.