‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ generates buzz among fans

During the first performance at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville on May 6 for The Eras Tour, Taylor Swift announced that “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is scheduled to be released on July 7. 

Sophomore Chloe Marrs said she has long anticipated the album’s release.

“I was really excited because I’ve been looking forward to “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” since she started doing Taylor’s Versions,” Marrs said. “I think the re-recording of “Speak Now” matters a lot more than the re-recordings of her more recent albums like “1989” or “Reputation” because she hasn’t sung those songs in so long. I think that age gap, and the development in her voice, is going to be really cool to listen to.”

Swift’s re-recorded albums stem from legal troubles regarding her previous record labels. In 2005, Swift signed with her first record label, Big Machine Records, just before releasing her debut album, “Taylor Swift” in the following year at 16 years old. Throughout her career, Swift has released nine additional albums, six of which are owned by Big Machine. Her contract with Big Machine expired in 2018, switching labels to Universal’s Republic Records. In 2019, however, Big Machine Records was sold along with Swift’s master recordings for her first six albums: “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989” and “Reputation.” Because of this, when fans hit play on any song from those albums, Swift does not gain any revenue.

“I think what happened was really unfortunate, but she’s handling it great,” Marrs said. “I think it’s awesome that she’s able to re-record her past songs and have other artists and producers contribute to her old songs.”

Starting with “Red,” Swift began re-recording her albums in 2021 to gain all rights and ownership of her old catalogs. Under a distinctive new title, “Taylor’s Version,” accompanying the original title, these albums feature re-recordings of all the original songs as well as vaulted songs. So far, Swift has released “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” in 2021, “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” will be the third addition to the catalog. 

Senior McKenna Slaughter said she enjoys the additional albums Swift has released and commends Swift for her strategy.

“I think it’s a really interesting way for her to be able to consistently keep new and fresh things happening because she’s one of the biggest artists in the music industry right now,” she said. “I think [releasing re-recorded albums is] a really good way for her to keep that cycle of having new music out like all the time. ‘Midnights,’ which was her most recent original album, came out a couple months ago and she’s already got ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ dropping in a couple months as well, so she’s able to drop like two albums a year, which I feel is really smart for keeping her relevant.”

Part of Slaughter’s excitement derives from her personal connection to “Speak Now,” which was originally released in 2010.

“I liked when [Swift] was in her ‘Fearless era.’ I was in early to mid elementary school, so all of her older music is very nostalgic for me,” Slaughter said. “I think ‘Speak Now’ was the first album of hers that I really connected with as an adult, and I think that album in particular is very emotionally tumultuous, but that’s sort of what ties it all together is that idea of growing up. It was the first album that she wrote after leaving home and leaving high school, so as a senior graduating I feel like I keep returning to it and listening to it again and again.”

Freshman Zainab Hussain said she is eager to listen to the new songs, not included in the original album.

“I’m really excited about it,” Hussain said. “A lot of my favorite songs from [Swift] are on that album like “Speak Now,” “Sparks Fly” and “Mine.” I’m especially excited for the vaulted songs like in ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ because they are new and entirely written by her. The vault tracks that she’s released have been some of my favorites, so I think it’s a good way to bring back the charm and the vibe of that era, while also being new and fresh.”

While excitement and anticipation brews among fans, other students, such as freshman Nadine Swartz, said she was indifferent about the upcoming album’s release.

“I don’t really care about Taylor Swift that much,” Swartz said. “I mean I think that it’s great she can re-record her songs to make money, but I think I just have a very different music taste than the type of music she makes. I used to listen to her a lot when I was younger, but I think I’ve just sort of grown out of it.” 

By Alexandra Buras