Taylor Swift is re-recording her music and students and staff are “…Ready For It”

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Anna Claywell

On a trip to the mall, freshman Natalie Lashly views the track list to Taylor Swift’s sixth studio album “Reputation.” In its first week, the album sold over 1 million physical copies, the only one to do so in 2017. “When the re-recordings are out and I walk into a store and see the CDs or Vinyls of them, it’ll be rewarding to know people are buying music that’s permanently hers,” Lashly said.

By Anna Claywell, Parkway West High School

“Baby let the games begin, let the games begin,” pop star Taylor Swift’s backup singers sing as Swift’s silhouette is displayed from the big screens at the Dome at America’s center over the crowd of thousands of excited fans. 

Joining Swift at the ‘Reputation’ Stadium Tour in 2018 was freshman Natalie Lashly. Little did Lashly nor Swift know, this album, and all of Swift’s previous ones, would soon be acquired by Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings LLC, leaving Braun with the rights over her music.

At only 15-years-old, Swift signed with label group Big Machine Records in Nashville, Tenn. founded by Scott Borchetta. Braun, the talent manager of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, was rumored to have gained the ownership of Swift’s first six albums from Borchetta for $300 million. Swift has claimed to have learned about Braun’s ownership over social media and has spoken out against him.

Since Swift’s masters were sold, she has put out three albums through Republic Records: pop album “Lover” and surprise indie albums “folklore” and “evermore”. As for her first five albums, which she could start re-recording in November 2020, and sixth which she can only start legally re-recording in November 2022, Swift has been vocal about her intentions to re-record them. As of right now, Swift has not revealed when the rest of the re-recorded albums will be released.

“When you work so hard for something, and you put your life into that specific thing, you want to own it. That’s why [the re-recorded versions] are called “Taylor’s Version,” because it’s really hers now.”

— Amelia Burgess

“It’s really cool and powerful because it’s her reclaiming [her music]. I think [there] will be a domino effect because she does it [and] then everyone does it, and a bunch of artists are in these record companies and they don’t have a claim on their songs,” sophomore Amelia Burgess said. “When you work so hard for something, and you put your life into that specific thing, you want to own it. That’s why [the re-recorded versions] are called “Taylor’s Version,” because it’s really hers now.”

Her first re-recorded song was “Love Story” which peaked at #4 on the Billboard charts, and was a single off of the album “Fearless.” 2008 “Fearless” is mainly about Swift’s romantic life, but also includes songs like the “The Best Day,” a sweet song dedicated to her mom and dad, and “Change” which, like the name suggests, is speculated to be about making a change in the world. The country album gained Swift many loyal fans and sparked Swift’s first concert tour.

Use this flowchart to find out which Taylor Swift genre represents your personality. (Gabrielle Oliver)

“I have the most memories tied to [“Love Story”], like singing on the porch of my old house and using the karaoke machine with the little CD with her music on it,” Burgess said. “In sixth grade, I really liked “White Horse.” I remember singing it at my volleyball tournaments, and I mean, “Shake It Off” defines all of fifth grade for me. When it came out that was a huge song. [In] the summer, “folklore” was a big thing, like a happy surprise in the pandemic.” 

“Fearless” won Swift her first, out of a notable 11, Grammy, including her first Album Of The Year. Physics teacher Joe Milliano was still in school when it debuted. 

“If we’re being honest, I made fun of my sister for liking the Fearless album back in 2008. That was probably in part because I was an obnoxious middle schooler who felt like it was cool to dislike anything that was popular in pop culture,” Milliano said. “I am very excited. I have high hopes that I’ll love the re-recordings now that I’ll be listening with a new perspective and a new love for T. Swift.”

The highly anticipated re-recorded version of “Love Story” dropped on Feb. 12. Excitingly, the rest of “Fearless” will premiere on April 9 with 25 other songs, six of which are considered from “the vault,” or Swiftie-slang for unreleased songs. Although the record is Swift’s second, this will be her first re-recorded album to be released. 

I am very excited. I have high hopes that I’ll love the re-recordings now that I’ll be listening with a new perspective and a new love for T. Swift.”

— Joe Milliano

“[Listening to “Love Story”] was really neat. I hadn’t wanted to stay up and wait for it because I had school in the morning, so I listened to it before school. It was really nostalgic. It was like hearing it again for the first time and it was really cool that she got to make it her own,” Burgess said.

For Lashly, she stayed up until 11 p.m. to listen to “Love Story (Taylor’s version)” as soon as it was released. 

“I listened to it when I was little, but I don’t remember when it came out, it [was] cool to be able to live it. She was able to make an old song that had been out and that I knew feel new,” Lashly said.

Often celebrated for her songwriting, Swift won Apple Music Awards “Songwriter of the Year” last year. The Grammy-winner has been known to write from her own experiences but has explored non-autobiographical songwriting with her two newest albums, which both came out in 2020, only four and a half months apart from each other. Swift has inspired many artists with her praiseworthy songwriting, including Conan Gray and Olivia Rodrigo.

“I’ve totally been [influenced] by her songwriting. Her lyrics and ability to create visuals in your head really inspires me. I think it’s good that she writes her own stuff, I think that’s what makes her original. It allows you to tell your own story and talk about your life in a more poetic way, separate from other people’s [experiences],” Lashly said.

“Miss Americana,” Swift’s impactful Netflix documentary, which released on Jan. 31, 2020, gave fans a glimpse inside her private life. The powerful documentary told the story of Swift’s fame and all of the positives and negatives that come with it. The film inspired many and, to Burgess, reinforced why she’s a fan.

“Her music has taught me to just be myself. When I think of her music, I think of [it as being] strong and powerful. She’s taught me to not let anything get to me and to be happy with who I am,” Burgess said. “[In] the documentary that she made, her viewpoints are really inspiring. I think her music’s about more than just love and heartbreak, it’s also about empowerment. I think that’s really cool and she’s really inspiring that way, just being unequivocally herself.”

This story was originally published on Pathfinder on April 6, 2021.