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The Earliest Bird 4-9-21 – 4-15-21: Top New Recorded Release Taylor Swift’s “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” Reviewed

 

I remember the first time I heard, not “Love Story” (though I remember that as well) but “Our Song”. As a pop song fan being blown away, that track on her debut album, followed by “Tim McGraw” and “Tears On My Guitar” systematically left me very impressed. My assistant at the time, Alix Wartell introduced me to the young singer songwriter, and I have been a huge fan ever since. Her eponymous debut was great in 2006 at the age of sixteen, and two year’s later Taylor Swift with her breakthrough, “Love Story” left it all over but the social media.

“Love Story” is possibly the best song of the 00s, if not it is way, way up there. A spectacular retelling of “Romeo And Juliet” as a happily ever after that works on nearly every teenage dramaturgy imaginable, and especially a teenage girls love and hope from the then eighteen year old. What really works is the end, which seems to jump off the record and wrap its arms around love and hope:

He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring
And said, “Marry me, Juliet
You’ll never have to be alone
I love you and that’s all I really know
I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress
It’s a love story, baby, just say, “Yes”

It’s all their in the triumphant “it’s a love story” and the pause before “yes”. If you’ve never sung along to it, at one of her shows, or into your hairbrush in the mirror, you should try it; it lifts you up on a sea of love and desire and happily ever after, a true triumph. If “Love Story” isn’t Swift’s best song, it’s awful close, awful awful close.

When Scooter Braum sold  the masters to Taylor’s first six albums to an investment fund for $300m, Taylor plotted her revenge. She decided to re-record the entire six albums since she still owned the publishing, and here is her second attempt at her second album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version). The first song to drop was “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” late last year, featured on the terrific Match.com commercial:

 

I was crazy about the commercial though not the re-recording which seemed to misplace the jump for joy by the end of the song. The next release was one from the vaults, “Mr. Perfectly Fine” – a Taylor 101 country pop that didn’t make the album. She re-recorded songs she never released, hence Maren Morris and Keith Urban featured on two new tracks, both are alright nothing special. They certainly have to get out of the way for a cluster of glorious Taylor tracks: the first six tracks are stupendous and the seventh features the terrific Colbie Caillat (she was so near and yet so far).

Listening to Taylor’s Version, the problem I had with the slight coarsening of the sound for “Love Story” wasn’t as important on even the best of the rest. And as an added plus, here is “Today Was A Fairytale” -a song that actually pushed her hard into the upper reaches of popdom, a movie song (It is in Garry Marshall’s “Valentines Day” -TayTay is in it as well), and is a spectacular throw away. And while I don’t think much of her newly discovered “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” the back story puts the spotlight on her romance with Joe Jonas -the first of a side industry in celebrity break up songs. she invented.

Fearless is hardly Taylor’s best album, the very next one, Speak Now, was better, but it is a great album and I don’t mind the re-recording because in a world of instant amnesia, it triggers your memory of an earlier world of teen angst and romance.

Grade: A-

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