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Home > Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) 2023: A Review 

Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) 2023: A Review 

Taylor Swift Speak Now

Taylor Swift is the Rarest of Awesome Pop Phenomena

Taylor Swift has managed to garner millions of fans over her nearly 20-year career. She decided to re-record her first six albums. Taking her dedicated fan base known as Swifties and the world by storm, the award-winning singer has surprised her fans again with her latest re-release, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).

Why Taylor’s Version

In 2018, the “Lavender Haze” singer let Swifties know that her master recordings had been sold by Scott Borchetta to Scooter Braun for 300 million dollars. Her master recordings at that time included her first six albums. Her self-titled debut Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014), and Reputation (2017). Since Swift left Big Machine Records, she has signed with Republic Records and Universal Music Group.

Pandering to Critics 

Swift’s latest re-record has already garnered massive support from Swifties. However, fans and critics alike have criticized the singer for changing a fan favorite track’s original lyrics. In “Better Than Revenge,” Swift sings about having her boyfriend stolen from her by another girl singing the infamous line, “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.” The lyric in Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) has been changed to “He was a moth to the flame she was holding the matches.” This felt unnecessary, especially since it seems like Swift is pandering to a small group rather than her fan base. She shouldn’t have to rewrite her lyrics to pander to today’s sensibilities.  

Swift is at a point in her career where she will always receive some level of criticism regardless of what she does. She shouldn’t feel the need to change her past work and its narrative. This is especially true since Swift’s 2010 album is best known as her only entirely self-written album. This means that Swift wrote the album without any co-writers. The album is written solely from her perspective without relying on the influence of others. Swift has received criticism over the years for achieving the success she has simply from her co-writers and not from her skill as a songwriter. This makes her decision to change the “Better Than Revenge” lyric much more surprising. As an artist who prides herself on her songwriting skills and having this album be entirely self-written, the lyric change again seems like pandering to a few rather than listening to the core of her fan base. 

Taylor Swift Speak Now

Vault Tracks

The “From the Vault” tracks on Swift’s previous re-records added another layer of intrigue and storytelling to the albums. But, for Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), the “From the Vault” tracks felt like afterthoughts. The “From the Vault” tracks are tracks that didn’t make it off the cutting room floor. Although Swift’s stellar storytelling is evident, with each way painting a clear picture for listeners, the tracks didn’t add to the album’s overall story. Some of the “From the Vault” tracks almost felt as though they could be on a different album entirely. 

Swift has also noted that Speak Now is not an album she considers “sonically cohesive.” Swift seemed to lean into the album’s overall lack of cohesiveness featuring the band Fall Out Boy and Paramore’s lead singer Hayley Williams on the “From the Vault” tracks for her latest re-record. Both of these artists have notably more pop-rock sounds in juxtaposition to Swift’s usual genres of country and pop.  

Speak Now explores various genres, but its tone and esthetic are very clear. At its core, Speak Now focuses more on fantasy and the innocence of relationships. Swift illustrates the innocent early stages of a relationship with songs such as “Mine,” “Ours,” and “Enchanted.” When those relationships end, she pens songs such as “Better Than Revenge,” “Dear John,” and “Back to December.” These songs illustrate her feelings when the fantasy she imagined regarding her relationships ultimately crumbles.

Swift’s voice has also notably matured over the years. In a way, this takes away from the innocence and naïveté Swift tries to portray. However, Swift’s voice having a more mature tone also adds to the appeal of the re-record. She’s essentially taking a walk down memory lane and looking back on past relationships and mistakes as someone who has come out the other side and learned from them. This could be an appealing aspect of her various re-records. Many of Swift’s fans have grown up with her and were much younger when the original albums came out. But, now Swift and her fans can look back at the album, what it meant at the time, and what the re-recorded versions mean to them now. 

Swift’s Storytelling

Overall Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) expertly encapsulates a young woman coming into adulthood and not knowing where or how she fits into the world. Out of all of Swift’s albums, Speak Now is perhaps the most honest and reflective of who she is as a singer-songwriter. Although the album features several different artists and genres, Swift’s impeccable storytelling shines through and resonates with Swifties more than a decade after its initial release.

Ultimately listening to Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) will, of course, benefit Swift herself. This, for many, is better than streaming the versions now owned by a third party. As Swift’s only entirely self-written album, it truly demonstrates her storytelling and that her success is hers alone. 

Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) can now be streamed across all platforms.

Taylor Swift Speak Now

“I Can See You” (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault) (2023) Official Taylor Swift Productions Video

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Freelance Writer