Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the first re-recorded album by American singer and songwriter, Taylor Swift. The album is a re-recording of her second studio album, Fearless. Released April 9, 2021 through Republic Records, the re-recording is the first of her first six albums she has planned to release to regain ownership of her original work through Big Machine Records after Scott Borchetta, then president of the record label, sold the label, along with the ownership of the master recordings to Swift’s early work through Big Machine after she left in 2018 to sign on with Republic Records, to Scooter Braun for $300 million. Swift publicly condemned the selling of the label via social media explaining she had been trying to buy the masters for years only to be offered unfavorable conditions and denounced Braun as an “incessant, manipulative bully”. In August of 2019 Swift revealed her intentions on re-recording her old music as soon as she was allowed to. With Swift also being the publisher of the music due to her being the main songwriter to all her songs she released through Big Machine, this allowed her, per the artist-label agreement that stipulates the artist cannot re-record a song for a fixed period of time, to re-record her music any time she wanted if she so chose to. By re-recording, Swift is technically covering her own songs into new sound recordings, resulting in new masters that she fully owns, which would enable her to control the licensing of her songs for commercial use, bypassing the owners of the older masters and subsequently devaluing them.
In October 2020, it was announced that Braun had sold the masters, artwork and music videos to Shamrock Holdings for $405 million. Swift later revealed that Braun had offered her a chance to bid on her work on condition she signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding her public statements against him in an attempt to try and gag Swift from making any further public remarks against him, an offer she refused. Swift also revealed, upon being reached out to by Shamrock Holdings, that Braun had put a non-disclosure agreement on the company to not say a word to Swift about the purchase until it was completed. Swift attempted to become an equity partner with Shamrock Holdings but would decline upon learning that Braun would still continue to profit off of her work and in November 2020 Swift returned to her original plan and began working on re-recording her first six albums.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) retains the nineteen tracks that were featured on the Platinum Edition of Fearless but instead puts the original thirteen tracks of the album back in the original track order and the remaining six songs from the Platinum Edition as tracks fourteen to nineteen. The re-recorded album also includes Swift’s soundtrack single from Valentine’s Day, “Today Was a Fairytale”. As an incentive to get fans to buy her new recording of the album, Swift also went back into what she deems as “The Vault” and released six new songs that were original supposed to appear on the original Fearless album but were cut due to, as Swift publicly stated, “don’t want too many break up songs, don’t want too many down temp songs, can’t fit that many songs on a physical CD.” This brought the grand total of songs for Fearless to 26. A 27th bonus track was included on the physical deluxe edition of the album which contained a remix of Taylor’s version of “Love Story” by Elvira. US Target versions of the album also contained an exclusive foldout poster instead of a traditional lyric booklet.
Commercially, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) did well debuting at number one on the Billboard 200, making Swift the first artist to ever have a re-recorded album to top the Billboard 200. This also broke Swift’s previous record of most number one albums in a short period of time, a record previously held by her album, evermore, with four months between the two albums. It also topped the Hot Country Albums chart at number one.
To promote her re-recording of Fearless, Swift released one song from the album to radio and two as promotional singles. Swift’s version of “Love Story” was released as a lead single off the album on February 12, 2021. The new version was well received by music critics and peaked at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart, making Swift the second artist since Dolly Parton to have the original and re-recorded version top the chart. On March 26, 2020, Swift released “You All Over Me”, a song featuring Marren Morris and one of the six “Vault” tracks as a promotional single. Two days before the re-recordings’ release, Swift via Twitter, announced the release of another vault track, “Mr. Perfectly Fine”, along with a lyric video stating:
Me in 2020: life is chill, writing songs based in fiction to avoid drama, feeling pretty grown upTaylor Swift via Twitter
My 2008 music from the vault, in a goblin voice: “REELEEEEEEASE MR PERFECTLY FIIIIIIINE”
The song peaked at number two on the Hot Country Songs chart.
|1. “Fearless”||Hilary Lindsey, Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:00|
|2. “Fifteen”||Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:54|
|3. “Love Story”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||3:55|
|4. “Hey Stephen”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:14|
|5. “White Horse”||Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||3:54|
|6. “You Belong with Me”||Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||3:51|
|7. “Breathe” (featuring Colbie Callait)||Colbie Callait, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:23|
|8. “Tell Me Why”||Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||3:20|
|9. “You’re Not Sorry”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:21|
|10. “The Way I Loved You”||John Rich, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:02|
|11. “Forever & Always”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||3:44|
|12. “The Best Day”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:04|
|13. “Change”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:38|
|14. “Jump Then Fall”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||3:56|
|15. “Untouchable”||Cary Barlowe, Nathan Barlowe, Taylor Swift, Tommy Lee James||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||5:11|
|16. “Forever & Always” (Piano Version)||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:27|
|17. “Come in with the Rain”||Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||3:56|
|18. “Superstar”||Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:23|
|19. “The Other Side of the Door”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||3:57|
|20. “Today Was a Fairytale”||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Taylor Swift||4:01|
|21. “You All Over Me” (featuring Maren Morris)||Scooter Carusoe, Taylor Swift||Aaron Dessner, Taylor Swift||3:40|
|22. “Mr. Perfectly Fine”||Taylor Swift||Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift||4:36|
|23. “We Were Happy”||Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Aaron Dessner, Taylor Swift||4:03|
|24. “That’s When”||Brad Warren, Brett Warren, Taylor Swift||Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift||3:09|
|25. “Don’t You”||Taylor Swift, Tommy Lee James||Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift||3:28|
|26. “Bye Bye Baby”||Liz Rose, Taylor Swift||Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift||4:01|
|27. “Love Story” (Elvira Remix)||Taylor Swift||Christopher Rowe, Elvira Anderfjärd||3:31|
When I think back on the Fearless album and all that you turned it into, a completely involuntary smile creeps across my face. This was the musical era in which so many inside jokes were created between us, so many hugs exchanged and hands touched, so many unbreakable bonds formed. So before I say anything else, let me just say that it was a real honor to get to be a teenager alongside you. And for those of you I’ve come to know more recently than 2008, I am ecstatic that I get to experience a bit of that feeling with you now that I can fully appreciate it in its whimsical, effervescent, chaotic entirety.
Fearless was an album full of magic and curiosity, the bliss and devastation of youth. It was the diary of the adventures and explorations of a a teenage girl who was learning tiny lessons with every new crack in the facade of the fairytale ending she’d been shown in the movies. I’m thrilled that my new version of Fearless is with you now. This is Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and it includes 27 songs.
I’ve spoken a lot about why I’m remaking my first six albums, but the way I’ve chosen to do this will hopefully help illuminate where I’m coming from. Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work. For example, only I know which songs I wrote that almost made the Fearless album. Songs I absolutely adored, but were held back for different reasons (don’t want too many breakup songs, don’t want too many down tempo songs, can’t fit that many songs on a physical CD).
Those reasons seem unnecessary now. I’ve decided I want you to have the whole story, see the entire vivid picture, and let you into the entire dreamscape that is my Fearless album. That’s why I’ve chosen to include 6 never before released songs on my version of this album. Written when I was between the ages of 16 and 18, these were the ones it killed me to leave behind.
This process has been more fulfilling and emotional than I could’ve imagined and has made me even more determined to re-record all of my music. I hope you’ll like this first outing as much as I liked traveling back in time to recreate it.
Sincerely and Fearlessly,
- Tracks 1–20 and 27 are noted as “Taylor’s Version”.
- Tracks 21–26 are noted as “From the Vault” on physical editions, and “(Taylor’s Version) [From the Vault]” on digital editions of the album.
- Track 27 is only included on the physical deluxe edition of the album.
- On the physical CD copies of the album, tracks 1-13 are on the first disc while disc two contains tracks 14-27.
- Like with folkore and evermore, Swift released four compilation albums, known as chapters, exclusively to digital and streaming services.
- Fearless (Taylor’s Version): The Halfway Out the Door Chapter was released on May 13, 2021.
- Fearless (Taylor’s Version): The Kissing in the Rain Chapter was released on May 19, 2021.
- Fearless (Taylor’s Version): The I Remember What You Said Last Night Chapter was released on May 24, 2021.
- Fearless (Taylor’s Version): The From the Vault Chapter was released on May 26, 2021.