Taylor Swift enchants listeners again with new version of ‘Speak Now’
In the mesmerizing opus that is “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” Taylor Swift deftly channels the jubilant fervor of the original LP. With meticulous craftsmanship, she delicately revises her musical tapestry. Pop-punk luminaries Hayley Williams and Fall Out Boy grace the composition, adding a dynamic flair to this extraordinary sound.
Her latest feat unveils the enchanting rebirth of “Speak Now,” a chart-topper that has already surpassed a staggering 12 million copies sold worldwide. The original 2013 version of the recording stood out prominently as Swift’s first endeavor of writing all the songs on her own, effectively refuting unfair speculation regarding her skills and her cowriter Liz Rose’s contributions to her first two albums.
“I recorded this album when I was 32 (and still growing up now), and the memories it brought back filled me with nostalgia and appreciation,” Swift writes on Twitter.
This rerecording serves as a testament to her artistic prowess—an exquisite amalgamation of cherished memories and inventive artistry that will captivate her audience’s discerning ears and devoted hearts.
The new productions and instrumentation land firmly on their feet, unlike those in “Red (Taylor’s Version).” Notably, meticulous attention to detail unveils minute yet impactful lyrical changes that breathe new life into this album, now approaching its 13th year. Swift’s evolved inflection and refined tonal palette reveal remarkable maturity while preserving the essence and enduring message of her younger self.
Devoted Swifties will undoubtedly detect nuanced differences in pronunciation, production and performance, while the tracks exude a warm and lush quality. The newfound warmth in her vocal tone elevates “Ours” to one of her finest recorded moments, while she now sings with the power and conviction demanded by the bridge of “Enchanted.”
Swift revisits “Mean” in a more mature perspective, her tone inflections clearly painting the picture that, at this point in her career, she’s no longer insecure about “not being able to sing.”
“Haunted” retains its grand production and vocals that fill the entire track with so much power. Memorable songs like “Back to December,” “Dear John,” and “Enchanted” are now characterized by thoughtful new arrangements that showcase Swift’s more nuanced vocal phrasing, placing them at par with the finest recordings in her catalog.
The only track that does not experience improvement here is “Sparks Fly,” which maintains a more sluggish yet familiar pace.
On tracks like “Mean,” the vocal harmonies bear a slightly softer touch. It is worth noting that a drive for self-improvement led to a lyric change on “Better Than Revenge.” Swift admirably revised a problematic, slut-shaming line, replacing it with a more mature and empathetic perspective. As a songwriter who has evolved both artistically and personally, Swift has made the right call.
In “The Story of Us,” the energy is retained, now infused with a hint of indie rock personality. While the alterations may be nuanced, those who played the record on constant repeat upon its initial release will discern the changes.
“Never Grow Up” strikes a poignant chord, resembling a track from the “Folklore” era, vividly showcasing Swift’s growth as a vocalist over the years.
The true excitement ensues with the “From the Vault” portion of the album, where Swift enlists the help of esteemed friends for rare and B-side offerings. Inspired by other artists
Collaborations with Fall Out Boy on “Electric Touch’’ and Paramore’s Hayley Williams on “Castles Crumbling” leave a lasting impression. Patrick Stump’s earnest and emphatic vocal performance seamlessly intertwines with Swift’s, embodying the spirit of the “Speak Now” aesthetic. Fans should not anticipate a sudden transformation into an emo anthem; instead, the band delivers a track that effortlessly harmonizes with the album’s essence.
It is no coincidence that these pop-punk heroes are featured in the album. Swift has expressed how both artists served as her inspiration during the creation of “Speak Now.” Williams delivers passionate vocals in “Castles Crumbling,” a sublime collaboration marking their first recorded venture together. The song exudes a beautifully understated quality, allowing both vocalists the space to shine.
The bluesy indie rocker “I Can See You” presents a delightful change of pace. A danceable midtempo jam, embellished with fuzz-tone guitars, adds an extra layer of musicality.
The closing duo of ballads, “Foolish One” and “Timeless,” encapsulate the sincere honesty that defined Swift as an artist during that stage of her career.
Needless to say, this project elevates her formative work. If the original “Speak Now” illuminated areas for Swift to refine her artistry, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” proves that she has indeed accomplished that and more. This album is sure to leave any listener enchanted and wonderstruck.