A Fan’s Perspective

Every Swiftie knows Taylor Swift has spent the past few years re-recording her original six masters. These records include her debut album “Taylor Swift,” and the albums “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989” and “Reputation.” Swift’s re-recording process began in 2018 after the sale of her first six albums occurred without her knowledge or consent. Since then, she has been releasing the new “Taylor’s Version” of her old songs in order to regain ownership of her work. 

   In April 2021, Swift released her first re-recording, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” The re-recorded album quickly became favored over the original release. Since then, Swift has released “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version).” The re-recorded albums include better accompaniment, as well as stronger and more mature vocals from Swift, They also include previously unreleased vault tracks that follow the original songs. Swift’s 2021 release of her album “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart, leaving all listeners eager for the next re-recording. 

   The next albums to be re-recorded are “Taylor Swift,” “Speak Now,” “1989” and “Reputation.” As eager for the next album as fans are, there are a few setbacks. The issue is, each album has its own reasons as to why it cannot be released any time soon. The process of re-recording is time-consuming, and Swift needs to make tough decisions about which vault songs to add. Unfortunately, legal reasons are also causing this process to take even longer. 

   Take “Speak Now,” an already underrated album; fans of Swift’s third studio album are dying to hear the lesser-known songs with Swift’s powerful adult vocals. Sadly, in an attempt to gain copyrights for the name “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” there were several bumps in the road, as the name “Speak Now” is trademarked by a tech company for a television system.  Due to this, Swift is having trouble coining the name of the album, which is a necessary component of her re-recording process. Until the legal issues are resolved, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” will not be able to be re-released. 

   The next potential re-recording could be “1989,” however, there are also issues with this album. The release of Swift’s fifth hit album “1989” left fans excited for her new music in the pop genre. Fans are also excited to hear her new sound for the re-recordings. The only issue is the lawsuit. Sean Hall and Nathan Butler’s 2001 song “Playas Gonna Play,” was found to have similarities to Swift’s lyrics “players gonna play, play, play.” Hall and Butler sued Taylor Swift for copyright infringement. In 2018, the judge presiding over the case tossed the lawsuit, stating the lyrics were not creative enough to warrant a suit. However, in 2021, the original songwriters appealed the case, allowing the lawsuit to continue. The current judge is refusing to toss the case, stating the lyrics are, in fact, too similar to not cause copyright issues. It is certain that Swift will handle the case with grace, however, as “Shake it Off” is the biggest hit off of this album, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” will not be re-released until the lawsuit is settled. 

   The next potential re-recording is Swift’s sixth album “Reputation.” A bold statement from Swift after months of hiding from the media, “Reputation” topped the charts and left the statement that Swift was not going to be ashamed or made out to be a fool. It is almost certain that the re-recording of this album will be a massive hit, however, that will not be able to happen until at least late 2023. Many recording contracts state that songs cannot be re-released until five years after the commercial release. Because the album was released in November 2018, it is not until November 2022 that “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” can even begin production. Swift is not able to begin the re-recording process, even filing for copyrighting until five years after the commercial release of “Reputation.” Because of this, it is likely “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” will not be released until at least late 2023.

   The last album Swift could then re-record is her debut album. While Swift has not said anything about a release date, many fans have a theory she will release it last in order to have her last re-recording be for owning her name, “Taylor Swift (Taylor’s Version).” Again, Swift has yet to comment on this theory, however, it would make sense and would fit with the theme of Swift regaining the rights to her work. 

   Swift’s decision to re-record her stolen masters is a bold move to show those who underestimate her that she will not be ignored. It is also a strong move as a businesswoman, as it puts her back on the top charts for nearly every favorite song, as well as unreleased vault tracks that she, and only she, owns. The “Taylor’s Version” albums give older fans the ability to hear how her vocals have changed and give newer fans the ability to grow up with new Taylor Swift materials. As a Swiftie since 2008, watching her reclaiming her music as well as witnessing the evolution of her voice has been truly inspiring. Women throughout history have been unable to own their own work from being silenced and ignored to having their talent stolen. These women poured their hearts and souls into their work but could not receive credit. For example, Charlotte Bronte was unable to publish “Jane Eyre” without using a male name in order to secure success for her work. Seeing Taylor Swift fight back and refuse to let the patriarchy dictate her work shows how far women have come, as well as prove how much there is left to do. But most importantly, she shows us that women should no longer take abuse from men in the workplace. 

   All of the setbacks with the recordings leave fans wondering, will Swift’s tenth album be the next thing she releases? Whether the next album is a re-recording or new work, I can guarantee that it will be a hit.