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Taylor Swift “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” Album Review

Taylor Swift returns with "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" as she continues the incredible journey to claiming her masters.

Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift

  • Genre: Country
  • Date: 07 Jul, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Track(s): 22
  • ℗ 2023 Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift &Quot;Speak Now (Taylor'S Version)&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, September 23, 2023

Taylor Swift, the most hardworking woman in the music industry, has once again released her hit album Speak Now, which has already sold over 12 million copies. This release is a part of her mission to reclaim the master recordings of all her previous works by re-recording them from scratch. This project is just one of many creative ventures that Swift is involved in, including her Eras Tour, her latest album “Midnights”, and numerous other projects. Her efforts have inspired other artists to follow suit, although none have succeeded like Swift. In Speak Now, Swift takes a subtle approach, preserving the original character of the songs while adding a more mature perspective. Fans will notice slight pronunciation, production, and performance differences, but the tracks remain warm and lush. Swift’s voice captures a new tone while staying true to her original works.

Taylor Swift began re-recording her first six studio albums in November 2020, following a dispute over the ownership of her masters. The latest release is Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), announced during her Eras Tour show in Nashville on May 5, 2023, and set for release on July 7. The re-recorded album includes all the tracks from the original Speak Now album, as well as two exclusive ways and six previously unreleased “From the Vault” songs. Notably, two of these songs feature American rock acts Fall Out Boy and Hayley Williams, both of whom influenced Swift while writing the original album. This latest re-release is part of Swift’s ongoing efforts to regain control of her music from Scooter Braun and his associates.

Announcing “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” on social media, the Pennsylvania star wrote, “I first made Speak Now, completely self-written, between the ages of 18 and 20. The songs that came from this time in my life were marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions, and wild wistfulness. I love this album because it tells a tale of growing up, flailing, flying and crashing… and living to speak about it.”

Album Art

Taylor Swift &Quot;Speak Now (Taylor'S Version)&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, September 23, 2023

The artwork adorning the album is breathtaking, showcasing the magnificently attired Taylor in a glorious purple gown with an almost-charming feathery look. Standing poised before the camera, she exudes an air of confidence and self-assurance, seemingly eager to convey her tale in a manner that is uniquely her own. Against a sad background, the image is a striking contrast, further emphasizing the serenity and grace emanating from the artist.

Tracks And Features

This 16-track album is a reimagining of the 2010 version. While “Mine” initially embodied youthful naivety, hearing an adult Taylor Swift sing it may be a shock. Her current, more mature voice doesn’t quite capture the same innocence as the original lyrics demand. Nonetheless, upon closer inspection, it does come close to replicating the original’s sound.

The track “Sparks Fly” is unique, but it left us heartbroken. Although it sounds similar to the original, the emotional depth seems lacking. Could it be that the sparks have fizzled out? “Back to December” has more emotion than in the previous tracks. However, the instrumental is a bit too bright and chirpy, which contrasts with the more subdued backing of the original. It makes us yearn to go back to December 2010. The title track, “Speak Now”, is a personal favourite for many, and fortunately, the backing instrumentals were left primarily untouched. Despite a slight loss of Taylor’s intonation on a couple of words, “Speak Now” still gives fans plenty of nostalgic flashbacks. Additionally, her cheeky “Don’t you” remains unchanged.

Taylor’s re-recorded album, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” showcases her evolution as an artist. The guitar takes a backseat compared to “Dear John,” and Taylor’s vocals are more composed and seasoned. Her songwriting skills remain exceptional, and her delivery is impressive, solidifying her status as one of the most beloved female artists to date. It’s clear that Taylor has honed her talents and progressed over time.

Taylor Swift’s “Mean” is arguably her most country-sounding song. The melody stays faithful to the original, but country music fans may notice the absence of the traditional twang and banjos in the background. Taylor’s ability to tell love stories through her music is impressive. Do you remember pretending to bump into an old flame at the library while a pop band and electric guitar played in the background? The instrumentals on “The Story of Us” track from Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) have a more pop rock vibe than country pop. Nonetheless, some fans feel like the twang and angst are lacking.

The latest rendition of “Never Grow Up” possesses a unique charm that surpasses the original. Perhaps it’s because Taylor has matured, and the song demands a more mature perspective. Her vocals blend seamlessly with this version, especially after singing slower, softer songs in August and Evermore. “Enchanted (Taylor’s Version)” is strikingly similar to the original, which is a plus. The chorus features more robust vocals that enhance the overall experience.

Regarding “Better Than Revenge,” which was brought back for this edition, it’s clear that Taylor made some lyrical changes. There’s a moment where the new rhythm doesn’t quite match the backings, but the new instrumentals sound sharper and more robust. Overall, “Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version)” is superior to the original.

The track “Innocent” on Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) doesn’t seem to deviate much from the original. However, Taylor’s growth and maturity are evident in her delivery, as she captures the essence of the song’s message with the appropriate tone. On the other hand, the newly released version of “Haunted” is genuinely haunting and unforgettable. Taylor’s dramatic flair remains intact, and her fuller voice accentuates the powerful, shouty notes. The emotional finale still evokes strong emotions in us.

The song “Last Kiss” has just the right amount of melancholy, making it the perfect choice to listen to and shed a tear on rainy days. It sounds even better now, especially after Joe Alwyn’s breakup. The instrumental backing is more transparent, and we are thankful for that. “Long Live” is a lovely song that lifts listeners out of the melancholy mood following “Last Kiss.” Taylor’s voice sounds happier, and the chorus has a more significant impact.

The instrumentals in the new version of “Ours” are more upbeat, but the chorus lacks the charm of the original. Additionally, the forced and awkward giggle is noticeable. However, “Superman” is a moving track that resonates with listeners and will be a welcome addition to their music library. It shares a similar vibe with “Long Live,” but with an even more heartwarming quality.

Swift’s album offers a delightful surprise with its “From the Vault” section that features some of her rare and unreleased tracks. The section includes collaborations with famous musicians such as Fall Out Boy on “Electric Touch” and Paramore’s Hayley Williams on “Castles Crumbling.” Patrick Stump’s heartfelt and passionate vocals blend perfectly with Swift’s, creating a harmonious melody. Despite Fall Out Boy’s emo roots, the track retains Speak Now’s style and sound, pleasing the fans.

In “Castles Crumbling,” Williams delivers a moving vocal performance. She and Swift have shared the stage in the past and are currently touring together. However, this marks their first collaboration on a recorded track, and the outcome is truly impressive. The song is elegantly simple, allowing both singers to showcase their talents.

“I Can See You” is a refreshing bluesy indie rock track that brings new energy. The mid-tempo rhythm is perfect for dancing, and the fuzz-tone guitars add an extra layer to the music. The final two ballads, “Foolish One” and “Timeless,” showcase Swift’s authentic and sincere approach to music, which defined her career then. It’s hard to find any flaws in an almost-perfect album.

The song “Electric Touch” may not stand out compositionally as much as the other tracks. It lacks the unique and memorable lines typical of a Taylor Swift song. However, there is a subtle tension created by the conflicting themes of chance and predetermined loss. The piece suggests that even those who lose might get lucky sometimes.

Meanwhile, “Foolish One” starts with the strumming of an acoustic guitar. Although some drum programming kicks in later, it remains true to the musical style of the early 2010s. The song similarly explores the possibility of a positive outcome in a relationship but ultimately lands on the side of unrequited love destined to fail.

Dessner retakes the co-reins on “When Emma Falls in Love”, but this time he leads with a gentle piano melody that gives the song a whimsical, childlike feel. Like “Betty” is one of Swift’s endearing songs about fictional girls, where she takes on a third-person perspective.

“I Can See You” is bound to become a fan favourite with its infectious groove. Jack Antonoff joins the team for the first time on the revamped album. You may have to recall “1989’s” “Style” to find another Swift song that profits as much from the uncomplicated electric funk of a skillfully executed rhythm guitar.

One of the bonus tracks on this new edition stands out for its organic, natural sound. It features a ukulele and flute in the background, accompanying the acoustic guitars and organs. The ballad, called “Timeless,” could have easily been a closing track on Swift’s “Speak Now” album instead of the upbeat “Long Live.” This one is different from most of the lyric videos on YouTube, which typically have static or circular screen-saver visuals. It showcases a collection of photographs of Swift’s grandparents, depicting a love story that she believes could have happened in any era. While the song doesn’t necessarily endorse reincarnation, it suggests true love transcends time and space.

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 Mine (Taylor’s Version) 3:51
2 Sparks Fly (Taylor’s Version) 4:21
3 Back To December (Taylor’s Version) 4:54
4 Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) 4:02
5 Dear John (Taylor’s Version) 6:45
6 Mean (Taylor’s Version) 3:58
7 The Story Of Us (Taylor’s Version) 4:27
8 Never Grow Up (Taylor’s Version) 4:52
9 Enchanted (Taylor’s Version) 5:53
10 Better Than Revenge (Taylor’s Version) 3:40
11 Innocent (Taylor’s Version) 5:01
12 Haunted (Taylor’s Version) 4:05
13 Last Kiss (Taylor’s Version) 6:09
14 Long Live (Taylor’s Version) 5:17
15 Ours (Taylor’s Version) 3:55
16 Superman (Taylor’s Version) 4:34
17 Electric Touch (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) [feat. Fall Out Boy] 4:26
18 When Emma Falls in Love (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) 4:12
19 I Can See You (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) 4:33
20 Castles Crumbling (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) [feat. Hayley Williams] 5:06
21 Foolish One (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) 5:11
22 Timeless (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) 5:21

Popular Tracks

The “Speak Now” album was supported by six singles released between August 2010 and December 2011. The singles include “Mine,” “Back To December,” “Mean,” “The Story Of Us,” “Sparks Fly,” and “Ours.” For “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” the multiple Grammy-winning artist released a re-recording of “If This Was a Movie” as a promotional single. She also included it on a Fearless (Taylor’s Version)-themed streaming compilation in March.

Barely two weeks before the album dropped, Taylor teased a snippet of “Mine (Taylor’s Version)” on social media (the song became her biggest debut ever on US Apple Music, surpassing “Lavender Haze”). She also featured a short preview of “Back to December (Taylor’s Version)” in the official trailer for the second season of Amazon Prime Video’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” Hours after the album dropped, “I Can See You (From The Vault)” debuted at number 2 on Apple Music’s playlist “Today’s Hits.”

Album Summary

In the latest rendition of Taylor Swift’s album, Speak Now, Christopher Rowe is credited as her co-producer for the 16 recreated songs, taking over from Nathan Chapman. Interestingly, Swift teams up with her mainstays, Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff, for the six Vault Tracks, who stay true to the original’s organic pop-rock band sound from 2010. This album holds a special place in the hearts of Taylor Swift fans and is a venerable work that captured a unique moment in time. The new version maintains fidelity to the original work without any major overhaul. A bonus is access to the masters, and Swift is pleased to have them at her disposal. Indeed, this is “Better Than Revenge”!

Fans were finally thrilled to see Taylor take counteraction on her 2019 masters’ dispute by legally re-recording her albums. “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” was released as the third re-recorded album after 2021’s “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version).” The album’s release coincides with Taylor’s ongoing “The Eras Tour,” projected to gross over a billion dollars globally. The star proves yet again that she can do it all without breaking a sweat. The new album is already earning praise from fans and critics. There’s a note of maturity evident in the album that makes it even more interesting than the original.

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