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July 2020 has been a red letter month for Taylor Swift. On the 24th, giving fans a few hours’ notice, she released her eighth album, Folklore. A secretly recorded tribute to folk rock and indie pop, he was quickly heralded as one of the longtime greats. But last summer had additional meaning for the singer. It marked the 10th anniversary of the first concert at the Swifts Stadium at Gillette Stadium, with a capacity of 60,000 seats, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

She was only 21 at the time of the Foxborough show and was still portrayed in the media as a starry-eyed country song provider to easily impressed teenagers. Back then, no one would have considered Swift one of the most important artists of his generation. Even less the one that would switch effortlessly between pop and alternative music. The sentiment coming from the critics was that it could all be over in a few records for Nashville’s 20-year-old upper middle class. From Debbie Gibson to Britney Spears, that’s how it turned out with young women of pop.

Swift is now seen in a very different light. And now, less than a year after Folklore, and four months after the release of her mate, Evermore, she goes back and revisits the Taylor Swift from that Foxborough show. On April 9, Swift released a newly recorded version of their second album, Fearless. It’s a reminder that while some of us have better locks than others, Swift has the most productive of them all. Something about the big break that grabbed the world brought out the best of her.

Fearless (Taylors Version) is part of an epic claim act by Swift to reaffirm ownership of its back catalog after it was acquired by Scooter Braun

Originally released in November 2008, Fearless gave Swift its first number one in the United States. He also sawed Beyoncs I Am. . Sasha Fierce and Lady Gagas The Fame win Grammy Album of the Year. Still, she claims a different claim with the new recording. Fearless (Taylors Version) is part of an epic act of claiming by Swift, who last year announced plans to re-engage her studio on pieces one through five.

It does so to reassert ownership of its back catalog after it was acquired by Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun in a $ 330 million deal with Big Machine, the Nashville label Swift signed to l age 16 (which Braun then sold to a holding company.).

So Fearless (Taylors Version) is not an exercise in nostalgia by a 31-year-old mega-star reconnecting with her more vulnerable adolescent self. It’s Swift who takes control of a negative situation, the loss of her catalog and makes it a victory (a condition of her new contract with Universal is that she owns all of her master tapes). Included in the 26 tracks will be new material safe recordings from the Fearless sessions. The first of them, a duet with country star Maren Morris titled You All Over Me, was released in late March.

Swift may seem like she had one of those rare fairytale careers, but she's endured huge amounts of vitriol and misogyny.  Photography: Beth Garrabrant

Swift may seem like she had one of those rare fairytale careers, but she’s endured huge amounts of vitriol and misogyny. Photography: Beth Garrabrant

She had a very productive lockdown when we were all baking banana bread, says RT 2FM radio presenter Tracy Clifford.

She must be the kind of artist where music is just her daily routine. It is not a struggle for her. It would be a struggle for her if she didn’t write. She writes about everything that has happened in her life. Her entire Reputation album was about her reputation for being on the line after being called a snake by the Kardashians.

She made art out of all this controversy. And when she was dating Calvin Harris, one of her biggest hits was This Is What You Came For with Rihanna. It [Swift] wrote that. It’s her voice on the hook, not Rihannas. Everything she touches must turn into music.

The folklore was particularly extraordinary, mixing the folk rock of Bon Ivers Justin Vernon and The National’s shaggy cardigan with a melodic sensibility diamond-like Swifts. For many of us unmoored by lockdown and other personal circumstances, it was more than an album. It served as a coping mechanism during the darkest summer in living memory.

Jonathan Low, Aaron Dessner, Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff and Laura Sisk backstage at the 2021 Grammy Awards. Photograph: Taylor Swift / Instagram

Jonathan Low, Aaron Dessner, Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff and Laura Sisk backstage at the 2021 Grammy Awards. Photograph: Taylor Swift / Instagram

To ensure no one missed what she was aiming for with the project, she went so far as to recruit current Justin Vernon and Nationals Aaron Dessner to work with her. And then, because she and producer Dessner were on a roll, they started all over again in December with Evermore, the extroverted twin of introverted folklore.

Some might argue that perhaps Evermore was even superior to folklore. Lighter on handmade sweaters and everything on hooks, it featured a large-scale national duo and collaboration with the Haim Sister Trio. And then, seemingly without taking a break, Swift continued to recast Fearless as something more stripped down and grown up.

By re-recording her albums, Taylor not only regains control of her music, but she sets an important precedent for other artists and record labels.

A boost has already been released in the form of a new version of the 2009 single Love Story in which Swift tells Romeo and Juliet but gives it a happy ending. The redesign includes pieces from original violinist Jonathan Yudkin and backing vocalist Caitlin Evanson, with Swift explaining: It was really important to me to have my band that toured with and shared a stage with for so many years to play on. the album.

By re-recording her albums, Taylor not only regains control of her music, but she sets an important precedent for other artists and record labels, and sparks important conversations about artists’ rights, says Dr. Andrew Mooney, a Dublin’s Swift superfan that lasts. August received a handwritten letter from the singer congratulating him on completing his doctorate.

Taylor Swift has been very vocal about her personal battle for owning her own music and, as a longtime fan, this is such an anticipated and powerful moment. I can’t wait to relive all of his old music again.

On April 9, Swift released a newly recorded version of their second album, Fearless.

On April 9, Swift released a newly recorded version of their second album, Fearless.

Swift may appear to have had one of those rare fairy-tale careers in which early commercial success was followed by criticism (Folklore was named one of the top five albums of the year by everyone, from the Irish Times to the New York Times).

But in pop, as in life, there is of course no real fairy tale. And even taking into account her privileged upbringing as a child of wealthy parents (her father is a former Merrill Lynch stockbroker), Swift has had to endure enormous amounts of vitriol and misogyny.

All my moral code as a child and now. . . is a need that must be seen as good, Swift said in Netflix documentary Lana Wilsons 2020 Miss Americana. She would learn the hard way that not everyone saw the world in the same terms.

I went backstage and cried, then had to stop crying and play five minutes later

The first major setback came at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City, in which she blinked when Kanye West grabbed the microphone and said Beyonc should have won Best Female Video instead of Swift. Within 30 seconds, you could see all the belief in her draining away. She looked like a little rabbit caught in the brightest, cruelest headlights in the world.

When the crowd started booing, I thought they would hoot because they also believed I didn’t deserve the prize. That’s where the injury came from, Swift later told GQ magazine. I went backstage and cried, then had to stop crying and play five minutes later.

Years later, Kanye’s feud would heat up again amid claims and counterclaims about whether Swift had agreed to the lyrics I feel like me and Taylor could still have sex on her album Life of Pablo ( incidentally the last great album of Wests). Swift said West played the line to her but not the next one, I made that bitch famous. Her reward was a shadow-casting Instagram by then-wife Kanyes, Kim Kardashian, who said: Wait for her legitimate national snake?

Snake emojis had already started appearing on anti-Swift social media after she and her ex Calvin Harris argued in public. Now, so felt, the whole world was taking the whistle. At one point, #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty was all the rage globally.

Four months after the release of Introverted Folklore, Swift surprised fans with Evermore.  Photography: Beth Garrabrant

Four months after the release of Introverted Folklore, Swift surprised fans with Evermore. Photography: Beth Garrabrant

Yet just like the new Fearless recording, Swifts’ response was to claim ownership of the hate by incorporating giant inflatable snakes during her Reputation tour (which she took to Croke Park for two nights in June 2018). . She had already pushed back with the single Look What You Made Me Do, which drew a pearl directly on Kardashian. Honey, I rose from the dead, I do it all the time, she sang. I have a list of names and yours is in red underlined.

Similar to Britney Spears, Taylor Swift has been an ongoing victim of everything from shame to sl * t to being publicly labeled a liar and snake, #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty being world number one in 2016, Mooney says. However, Swift has become an expert at recapturing her own narrative, often through her music, as demonstrated. [Reputation] which was a direct response to both the media portrayal of her and the explicit mention of Kanye Wests in her own music.

Presenting her own side of the story, Swift spoke of the demeanor and double standards she was subjected to for over a decade, which was both refreshing and helped rebuild her fan base, he continues. . This is also reflected in his recent battle to reclaim the rights to his own music from a media holding company, highlighting even bigger issues in the music industry and the vulnerability of artists.

There is an argument that as the world has closed, Swift’s momentum to be good has waned. The tour is not on the agenda. And there’s no pressure to connect with fans by hosting listening parties or inviting them to secret reading sessions. This left space just for Swift and her art. And with Folklore, Evermore, and the new Taylor version of Fearless, she’s proven that for all the noise and drama of her career, it is the peace and quiet that may suit her best.

Fearless (Taylors Version) releases April 9

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