In 2012, I was around 13 or 14, still in high school. I was a teenage girl who thought she knew what love was, got her heart broken one too many times and had Taylor Swift songs, albums on repeat for how many weeks.
Now I’m almost 23 and grown up, still slowly healing, and now working. I know a little bit more about love than before and have my heart in the right hands, with the right person. Still, I have Taylor Swift’s songs, the Taylor’s Versions on repeat, still screaming the lyrics I somehow know by heart.
Last 12 November, the American singer-songwriter dropped the second of her re-recorded albums, Red (Taylor’s Version), following Fearless (Taylor’s Version) last 9 April as well as tracks “From the Vault,” which are never-before-heard tracks — and the world had a collective, emotional breakdown.
“It never would have been possible to go back and remake my previous work, uncovering lost art and forgotten gems along the way if you hadn’t emboldened me. Red is about to be mine again, but it has always been ours,” the 31-year-old singer tweeted upon release.
It was in 2019 that Swift was “stripped of (her) life’s work,” and had her “musical legacy about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it,” when American talent manager Scooter Braun gained acquisition to Swift’s former label, Big Machine Label Group, and by extension, the master rights (the rights of their recordings) of Swift’s first six albums.
Swift said in a Tumblr post at the time: “When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; They both did.
Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.” Scott Borchetta is Big Machine’s founder.
Swift signed with Big Machine when she was 15 and ended her contract with the label in 2018. She partnered with Universal Music Group’s Republic Records. She had been trying to buy her masters for years.
“Thankfully, I am now signed to a label that believes I should own anything I create. Thankfully, I left my past in Scott’s hands and not my future. And hopefully, young artists or kids with musical dreams will read this and learn about how to better protect themselves in a negotiation. You deserve to own the art you make.”
In an article in CBS Sunday Morning last 2019, Swift confirmed that she will record “albums 1 through 5 all over again” starting from November of last year.
Fast forward to today, where Swift is now on her second re-recorded album. She had also dropped a short film for “All Too Well,” one of the saddest songs she had written on Red, starring Sadie Sink, Dylan O’Brien and Swift herself. The 15-minute video (which had me angry and ugly crying) has amassed 38 million views since its release on 13 November.
And when you thought it couldn’t get sadder, it still does, with the “Sad Girl Autumn Version” of the song that also has 261,000 views one hour after release.
In Spotify history, Red (Taylor’s Version) is the most-streamed album in a day by a female and Swift is the most-streamed female artist in a day.
Fans are speculating that the next re-recorded album is about to be Speak Now.
“I’m really sorry for the person I’m going to become when Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) comes out,” a fan said.
Swift still has her self-titled debut album, Taylor Swift, 1989, Reputation and Speak Now re-recorded albums to release.
Listening to the album for the first time after so many years feels as if I was thrown back in time, looking at the teenage girl that made a Taylor Swift song her life’s theme song, on the bed, earphones in, silently pouring out her emotions, then I would sit beside her on the bed, would pat her back like I was there, because I would always remember the feelings all too well.