Watching it Begin Again (Taylor’s Version)



LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 01: Taylor Swift performs onstage during KIIS FM’s 2012 Jingle Ball at Nokia Theatre LA Live on December 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Written by Samantha Bradley, Features Editor

It may not be a Wednesday in a cafe, but we’re watching it begin again. Fans know all too well it’s been a busy few years for Taylor Swift, releasing 5 albums in two years. Lover came out in 2019, a bubbly pop album, with the title track “Lover” and “Me!” making it big on billboard music charts. During 2020, Taylor entered her third genre as an artist with her release of Evermore and Folklore. Folklore won album of the year at the grammy’s and it’s song “Cardigan” was nominated for song of the year. You would think Taylor would take a well deserved break, but no, she is busier than ever as she commits to re-record all 5 of her first albums. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was released in April of this year, with the hit single, “Mr. Perfectly Fine” about her ex from 2008, Joe Jonas, making the album take off. This June she announced the next album she will re-record is Red, and in October she released her version of “Wildest Dreams”. 


Why is Taylor re-recording her early albums?

Taylor doesn’t own the masters of her work released before 2019. Her previous record label Big Machine Records was purchased by Scooter Braun. Taylor refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement that would have prevented her from speaking out against Braun. Later on, Scooter Braun sold all of her albums without permission and that was when she decided to re-record her albums to claim them back as her own.



Skipping back, Red originally came out October 22, 2012. It was Taylor’s fourth studio album, and it was the first album where she expanded beyond country and tried out some different styles, such as pop. Coming after the album Speak Now, she completely changed her style from this era, becoming more open to new sounds. The album Red was the gateway to her next album, 1989, a true pop record. Red had some true country songs though, so the album is labelled country because her record label wanted her to stay in that genre at the time. Taylor calls Red a true heartbreak album, with many heartbreaking songs after her public break up with Jake Gyllenhaal, a famous movie-actor, in the message from Taylor featured on the album she says, “Musically and lyrically Red resembled a heartbroken person, it was all over the place, a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow fit together in the end, happy, free, confused, lonely, devastated, euphoric, wild”. Red has fun songs, sad songs, angry songs, and they all blend together to portray the feelings she developed and experienced through her own heartbreak. 


All Too Well

Out of all of the amazing songs featured on the album, the fan favorite has always been “All Too Well”. This song was the first song written for the album, originally ten minutes long, but Taylor and Liz Rose worked together to cut it down to five minutes. The song only peaked at number 80 on billboard charts after its release, but Taylor performed it at the Grammys. Music critics praise “All Too Well”, some say it is her best song. During the re-recording of Red we got three versions of this song; Taylor’s version, the ten-minute version, and the ten-minute- (sad girl autumn version). The sad girl autumn version was produced by Aaron Dessner at the long pond studios, with more of a melancholy tone complemented by piano tone to it. The ten minute version of the song has remained number one on the charts since its release, unbelievable for a song of it’s length. She performed it the night after its release on SNL, helping the song grow even more popular than it already was. The day after Red (Taylor’s version) was released, the All Too Well short film premiered in New York City, in a small theatre where only a small number of fans were invited to attend. Featuring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, the short film has received 41 million views, and it is safe to say that the film exceeded everyone’s expectations. It is not one’s regular music video, the detail gone into it meets the requirements to win an oscar.


Now that you’re caught up, this month on November 12th, Red (Taylor’s Version) was released, including thirty songs, and a music video for “I Bet You Think About Me”. There was no lead single for the album, but the album is still doing really well, breaking her own records in sales, and jumping to the top of music charts. 


What are Vault Tracks?

Vault tracks are what Taylor calls the songs she wanted to put on the original album, but didn’t because of time constraints or other reasons. In honor of releasing her music to claim it as her own, she is releasing it how it was meant to be, putting all the songs that were cut the first time. The metaphorical “vault” where the songs were kept are marked after their title with (From the Vault). 


From The Vault

The album includes ten vault tracks that weren’t on the original album, the list goes:

“Ronan” , “Better Man”, “Nothing New”, “Babe”, “Message in A Bottle”, “I Bet You Think About Me”, “The Very First Night”, “Forever Winter”, and “Run”.

The vault track “Better Man” is a country song that was given to Little Big Town originally, winning a grammy despite it being written by Taylor. 


Jake Gyllenhaal 

Love him or hate him, without him we wouldn’t have this album. The pair dated for only three months, October 2010 through January 2011, two years before the release of Red. At the time Taylor was a young twenty year-old, and Jake almost thirty. We all know he didn’t come to her twenty-first birthday party from the song, “The Moment I Knew” when she sings, “You said you’d be here” and in the ten minute version of All Too Well, “It’s supposed to be fun turning twenty one.”. But what else could he have done so wrong to inspire this album? In “All Too Well” Taylor tells the story about the time she left her scarf at Jake’s sister’s house, but he never gives it back. “I left my scarf there at your sister’s house, and you’ve still got it, in your drawer even now.” then later in the song.. “You keep my old scarf from that very first week, because it reminds you of innocence, and it smells like me, you can’t get rid of it.” Now, it wouldn’t make very much sense for Taylor to be so upset over a scarf, fans speculate the possibility that the scarf is a metaphor for something else he might have taken in their relationship, but it is unknown and understandably personal and far in the past now for Taylor to speak on it.


Not many artists would be able to re-record their music and expect it to gain as much traction as Taylor did. She is making history while also bringing back nostalgic memories of the time the music came out. It feels like a perfect night to stream Red (Taylor’s Version)!