By Maxim Mower
After leaving a trail of breadcrumbs throughout her recent music videos teasing the new release, Taylor Swift at long last confirmed that her latest album to have been re-recorded is Speak Now.
Speak Now (Taylor's Version) has now been made available, and - as has become tradition - the project excitingly features six bonus songs pulled up ‘From the Vault’. It's be 22 songs in total, along with the additional ‘Surprise Announcement (Taylor's Version)’ track at the end.
Although ‘If This Was A Movie’ appeared on the originally released Speak Now deluxe version, Swift already dropped ‘If This Was A Movie (Taylor's Version)’ as part of Fearless (Taylor's Version), so this unsurprisingly does not feature on the new project.
Speak Now (Taylor's Version) follows in the footsteps of Red (Taylor's Version) and Fearless (Taylor's Version), as the ‘Lover’ hitmaker continues to work her way through re-releasing each of her albums, due to her previous label selling her back catalogue of records to a private equity firm, Shamrock Holdings, in 2020.
Swift is re-recording the six albums released under Big Machine Records, so that she can own the masters. This will enable her to use the music as she pleases, rather than being at the behest of her old label when it comes to issues such as advertising rights.
The official tracklist for Speak Now (Taylor's Version) includes all the original songs that featured on the much-loved 2010 album, such as ‘Mine’, ‘Mean’, ‘Back to December and ‘Better Than Revenge’.
Interestingly, the latter features a pointed lyric change, with Taylor replacing “She’s an actress, whoa / She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress, whoa” with “She's an actress, whoa / He was a moth to the flame, she was holding the matches”. Some commentators accused the original lyric of being an instance of slut-shaming and sexism, which presumably provoked the update. Others have suggested that Taylor should have stuck to the previous line, given the fact that it was a genuine expression of how she was feeling at that point in time.
Speak Now holds a special place in Swifties’ hearts, with both ‘Sparks Fly’ and ‘Ours’ hitting No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, while ‘Mine’ and ‘Back to December’ surged into the Top Ten on the prestigious US Billboard Hot 100. The album also received a Grammy nod for Best Country Album, in addition to breaking the record for the highest number of sales by a solo female country artist.
Ahead of the release of Speak Now (Taylor's Version), Swifties were hoping she would recruit some more big-name acts to appear on the project. Thankfully, they weren't disappointed, with Hayley Williams and Fall Out Boy guesting on ‘Castles Crumbling’ and ‘Electric Touch’ respectively.
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