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This Is How Taylor Swift’s Rerecorded ‘Fearless’ Album Stands Up Against The Original

By Meghan Dillon··  9 min read
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Ranking Taylor Swift's Fearless Taylor's Version Vs. The Original

Taylor Swift blessed us on Friday with the re-release of her sophomore album, “Fearless” — the rerecorded “Fearless Taylor’s Version” — and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted and more.

Like many loyal Swifties, I spent my weekend listening to the new album over and over again, letting my 27-year-old self re-experience the gift Taylor Swift gave me when I was 14. I laughed, I cried, and I reevaluated some of my worst dating decisions, remembering how the original album helped me through so much in high school.

After listening to the rerecordings of the 13 original songs plus the seven bonus tracks from “Fearless Platinum Edition,” I’ve compared each song to its original and am telling you which one (I think) wins. And don’t miss it because I also ranked the six new songs that were previously unrecorded from the “Fearless” era from my favorite to least favorite. 

Grab your cardigan, a glass of wine, a box of tissues (you’ll need it), and enjoy.

Fearless

Winner: Original Version

I genuinely love both versions of this song because it’s not only one of my all-time favorites, but the song also has a very youthful and young love vibe to it. For that reason, I have to give the trophy to the original song because 18-year-old Taylor’s voice really encapsulates the hopeful energy in this song.

drag me head first fearless lyric

Fifteen

Winner: Taylor’s Version

I don’t know about you, but I think a 31 year old giving advice to a 15 year old makes more sense than coming from an 18 year old. Though most of us were completely different people from 15 to 18, we grow so much more throughout our twenties. Taylor’s version is much more vulnerable because the lyrics carry so much more weight when they come from her as an adult and every lyric hits deeper.

Love Story

Winner: Taylor’s Version

This one was tough because I love both versions so much, but something about the song coming from a 31-year-old Taylor in a healthy relationship makes the new version so much sweeter. The original version captures a love based on infatuation, while Taylor’s version is about real love and just makes my heart so happy.

love story gif

Hey Stephen

Winner: Original Version

Even as an adult, this song is still one that’s fun to sing in your hairbrush while jumping on your bed. It’s so sweet and perfectly describes teenage infatuation, so I’m going to give this one to the original version because Taylor’s version lacks the youthful energy that made the original so fun.

White Horse

Winner: Taylor’s Version

This is one of Taylor’s most vulnerable songs of all time, and both versions tackle different levels of vulnerability. The original is sung by a heartbroken teenager, while the new version is sung by a 31-year-old woman who has experienced multiple heartbreaks. It’s a tough call because both are incredible, but I have to go with Taylor’s version simply because it oozes so much more raw emotion.

white horse music video gif

You Belong With Me

Winner: Original Version

“You Belong With Me” is such a quintessential high school song that I have to give it to the original version. Though Taylor’s version is just as fun and catchy as the original, the lyrics simply make more sense when they come from an 18-year-old.

tswift-you-belong-with-me-gif

Breathe (feat. Colbie Caillat)

Winner: Original Version

I like the new version of this song, but there’s something about the old version that seems much more emotional and vulnerable. It’s an emotional and vulnerable song, therefore I prefer to listen to it with vocals that reflect those vulnerable emotions.

Tell Me Why

Winner: Taylor’s Version

Hindsight is 20/20, especially in toxic relationships. This song is written from the perspective of a teenaged Taylor contemplating leaving a toxic relationship and is full of frustrating emotions. Taylor’s version is sung from the perspective of a more mature young woman who clearly recognizes the toxicity in the past relationship, and that puts so much more power behind the lyrics and her vocals.

You’re Not Sorry

Winner: Original Version

I’m probably a little biased because this song was my favorite on the original album and was my “don’t text him, he sucks” (I had his number memorized, so deleting it didn’t do much to resist the temptation to call or text) song during my first heartbreak, and I listened to it multiple times a day for months. Though the vocals on the new version are more mature and show the pain in that lens, it doesn’t top the pure and raw vulnerability that the original song has.

you're not sorry

The Way I Loved You

Winner: Taylor’s Version

Similar to “Tell Me Why,” an older Taylor provides a deeper perspective on a past toxic relationship. The song is from the perspective of a teenage Taylor missing the excitement of her previous relationship compared to her current stable relationship. Older Taylor clearly knows this relationship was toxic, and the maturity in her voice adds another level of emotion to the song.

Forever And Always

Winner: Original Version

One of the best things about this song is that it was written and recorded shortly after Taylor’s breakup with Joe Jonas in 2008, making the pain in her vocals in the original version as real as it gets. Though you can feel the pain in her vocals in the new version, it fails to top the original.

The Best Day

Winner: Taylor’s Version

You don’t have to be a Swiftie to figure out that this song is about her mom. Since the original recording of this song, Taylor’s mom, Andrea, has survived cancer multiple times. This adds a new layer of emotion and appreciation for her mom in the new version, making every lyric so much more special.

Change

Winner: Taylor’s Version

When I hear the original version, I think of how it was played at the 2008 Olympics. When I hear the new version, I can't help but think of Taylor's battle with Scooter Braun over her master rights, which is what this re-release is all about. This song feels so much more poetic, and I love that.

change music video gif

Bonus Tracks:

Jump Then Fall

Winner: Original Version

I forgot how fun this song was! Though I enjoy both versions, the song has a very youthful vibe and I prefer younger Taylor’s voice singing it.

Untouchable

Winner: Taylor’s Version

There’s a very youthful optimism to this song, but it really tugs at the heartstrings when you hear Taylor singing it while in a healthy relationship. It’s also a beautiful ballad, which sounds so much better when you hear it from Taylor’s more mature voice.

Forever And Always (Piano Version)

Winner: Original Version

Like the original version, the piano version of “Forever And Always” was recorded shortly after a breakup. The piano version is much more raw and emotional due to the music and vocals, and Taylor’s version doesn’t capture that raw pain like the original version. 

Come In With The Rain

Winner: Taylor’s Version

This song has a very sweet and hopeful tone and reminds me of a Broadway ballad. Though I really enjoy both versions, I feel like Taylor puts her heart and emotions into the new version more. Since I love it when she gives it her all, I have to pick the new version of this song.

Superstar

Winner: Original Version

Did anyone else picture themselves singing this at a Jonas Brothers concert before one of them noticed you and fell in love with you immediately? Just me? Okay. Like many other songs on this album with a more youthful vibe, I can’t help but prefer younger Taylor’s voice on the track because it just makes more sense.

The Other Side Of The Door

Winner: Original Version

Though this song doesn’t discuss a toxic relationship, it doesn’t seem to talk about a healthy one either. It just makes more sense to me to hear this through younger Taylor’s voice in the original version because she’s in a happy and healthy relationship now.

Today Was A Fairytale

Winner: Original Version

Like “Fearless,” “Hey Stephen,” and “You Belong With Me,” this song has a youthful energy to it. Though Taylor’s version is beautiful and shows an appreciation for a more mature romance (*cough* Joe Alwyn), it doesn’t top the youthful optimism the original has.

From The Vault Rankings:

Along with the 13 original songs and seven original bonus tracks, Taylor also included six songs that she wrote in the “Fearless” era that were never recorded. Here they are ranked from my favorite to least favorite because I genuinely love every single one of them.

1. Mr. Perfectly Fine

Seriously, how was this never recorded? This song makes me want to sing it into my hairbrush while simultaneously texting a guy that I shouldn’t be texting. Fans speculate that this song is about the Joe Jonas breakup — and his now-wife, Sophie Turner, commenting about the track "it's not NOT a bop" makes it so much better. Sophie’s right — it’s a bop that I will be playing on repeat for the next several days.

2. You All Over Me (feat. Maren Morris)

Taylor featuring Maren Morris was already enough to put this song in the top three, and I wouldn’t recommend listening to this song after a few glasses of wine (same with most of the vault tracks, to be honest) because it will make you sob. This is such a great classic Taylor heartbreak song, and it’s truly a masterpiece.

3. That’s When (feat. Keith Urban)

First off, a Taylor Swift duet with Keith Urban is something I’ve wanted for years, so thank you to Taylor and Keith for making this happen. I love that this is a country song and the way their two voices harmonize sounds incredible, making the song so much more emotional.

4. Bye Bye Baby

Another classic heartbreak song, this song meshes so well with the rest of the “Fearless” album. I can tell that it was written during the era, but something about it (maybe her voice?) makes it feel so much more mature. Either way, I’m obsessed.

5. We Were Happy

Taylor, I thought this album was supposed to make me feel nostalgic, not depressed! This reminds me of “Long Live” from the “Speak Now” album, but the tone in her voice makes it sound like a tragedy. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, I just wasn’t expecting such a sad song.

6. Don’t You

Like “You All Over Me,” this one hit me right in the feels. I’m surprised that this is from the “Fearless” era because it reminds me of the “Red” era, but the song is beautiful. We all need a good Taylor heartbreak song, and this is a great one.

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