Taylor Swift performs on stage for the Eras Tour. The country-pop crossover artist announced the re-release of her third album while touring across the country. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Katelyn Auty
Head Copy Editor

On Friday, July 7, Taylor Swift released “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” a re-recording of her third album “Speak Now.” Swift has been re-recording her previous albums to regain ownership of the music she released under her former record label Big Machine Records. Joining “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version),” “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is the third of six albums to be re-recorded. 

In an Instagram post on the day of the album’s release, Swift detailed that “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is an album about “the whims, fantasies, heartaches, dramas and tragedies [she] lived out as a young woman between 18 and 20.”

Swift’s emotional maturity marks a major difference between the original and re-recorded versions. At 32 years old, Swift seems very removed and even healed from the emotions that she experienced and expressed when she made this album at 19 years old.

The lack of shaky breathing in “Last Kiss (Taylor’s Version)” and the almost calmness of “Dear John (Taylor’s Version)” and “Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version)” make it sound more like an adult looking back on her teen years. These differences may disappoint some of the fans, as the appeal of the re-recordings is supposed to be that they sound the same as the original recordings, in order to persuade people to listen to her version and not the version recorded under Big Machine Records (also known as the “Stolen Version”).

Aligning with the performance inconsistencies also comes the controversial lyric change in “Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version).” The lyric was originally released as “She’s better known for the things that she does / On the mattress.” After some criticism for its misogynistic tones, Swift changed the lyric to “He was a moth to the flame / She was holding the matches.” 

I applaud Swift for listening to feedback and making the necessary changes. However, the lyric change sounds too mature. The former lyrics sound like a 19-year-old’s response to having her boyfriend “stolen” from her. The new lyrics sound like a 32-year-old reflecting on when she thought someone “stole” her boyfriend. As a 19-year-old, I feel that the original lyrics were a perfect depiction of a 19-year-old response. 

Again, I applaud her for listening to criticism and changing what she had to, but I wish she would have made a more age-appropriate change.

I also feel it important to note that, although I had many criticiques of the album, I was extremely happy to hear her music again. When I heard the first lines of “Mine (Taylor’s Version),” I could not help but tear up. As those first notes started playing, I was transported back to the good parts of my childhood. I remembered being seven years old and listening to “Mine” while hoping and praying that one day I would find a love like that. Being 19 and hearing “Mine (Taylor’s Version)” knowing that I have found that love brings my inner child so much joy. 

I think it is a truly magical experience to be the age Swift was when she wrote these songs while hearing “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” for the first time. It helps put some of these experiences into a clearer perspective, such as her relationship with John Mayer – which had a 13-year age gap – and her regret over the way she handled her relationship with Taylor Lautner. At seven, I heard “Enchanted” and thought I was enchanted to meet a boy that I now consider my kindergarten crush. Now, I know that I was just a silly little kid, and I know how it feels to truly be enchanted to meet someone. 

I certainly relate to the album at 19 more than I did at seven, and I am beyond thrilled that this album belongs to the Swifties now.