Taylor Swift has taken on a project to rerecord her old albums, and Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is the halfway point for the artist. Originally released in 2010, Speak Now was the next album put out after Swift’s awarded album Fearless. This era for the artist was a shaping point for young girls growing up with country and pop music as it tells a coming-of-age story from Swift’s own lens that many could relate to.
With the re-recording of the songs millions grew up listening to, there is a taste of nostalgia as we hear the lyrics sung in Swift’s new tone. Not to mention, the six ‘From the Vault’ tracks that are new songs for the fans to experience for the first time have features from artists like Fall Out Boy and Paramore’s Hayley Williams.
Today, we’ll be focusing on those six vault tracks and how nicely they flow with the story the original tracks of the album tell.
Electric Touch (feat. Fall Out Boy)
“I was thinking just one time (just one time)
Maybe the stars align”
As a fan of both Taylor and Fall Out Boy, this was the most anticipated vault track for me, and I can say I was not disappointed. The beat is exactly what you would expect from a song called “Electric Touch” and matches Patrick Stump’s vocals to a T. When the harmonies for the two singers come in, it sounds like magic.
I will continue to have the way Stump sings ‘touch’ engrained in my brain. This song will have you tapping your foot and really channeling your early 2010s ‘scene’ phase.
When Emma Falls in Love
“She waits and takes her time
‘Cause little Miss Sunshine always thinks it’s gonna rain”
On first listen, my only thought about this song was how cute it felt. It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling as Swift encapsulated what could almost be described as the manic pixie dream girl for the female gaze.
My love for this song only grew after hearing it live (shoutout to Kansas City Night One at the Eras Tour) on the piano. While I love the production of the song, something about hearing these adorable lyrics stripped down made me fall deeper into the tune.
I Can See You
“And what would you do
Baby, if you only knew?
That I can see you”
If this song was released in the original Speak Now tracklist, Taylor Swift would have a very different image than she does now. With alluring lyrics that could rival previous hits like “Dress” and “False God,” Swift does not hold back on describing the physical connection with someone in this song while others on the album focus more on the emotion.
This track stuck out enough to have its own music video starring Joey King, Presley Cash and Taylor Lautner, who all had a part to play in the original Speak Now era.
Castles Crumbling (feat. Hayley Williams)
“And I watch all my bridges burn to the ground
And you don’t want to know me
I will just let you down”
As another highly anticipated track due to my love for Paramore, I was interested to see how Williams’ voice would pair with Swift’s. It was also nice to hear another Swift song where a woman on the track gets her own verse, because this is rare for many female features on her discography, excluding “Nothing New” with Phoebe Bridgers.
For me, this song gave a similar feeling of self-weariness that tracks like “Anti-Hero” and “mirrorball” accomplished. The storytelling here really fits with the storytelling throughout the rest of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).
Stop checking your mailbox for confessions of love
That ain’t never gonna come”
This song took a bit longer to grow on me than the other tracks from the vault. Maybe it is because I don’t necessarily find it as relatable on an album where each thought Swift turns to lyrics is matched with an experience I had.
Not to diminish the catchy chorus, because I find it stuck in my head since the album was released, but I picture this song as a backing track to a romantic comedy more than something I would play on repeat.
“But in those photos, I saw us instead
And somehow I know that you and I would’ve found each other
In another life you still would’ve turned my head”
Swift has been titled in the past as an autobiographical songwriter, and while many tracks on Speak Now are from her perspective, “Timeless” paints a story beyond Swift’s own experience. Listening to tales of the past in fractions makes me think of couples in The Notebook or even the first ten minutes of Up.
The sound of the song matches the atmosphere of older Swift tracks we grew up with perfectly. It borders on pop and country with its acoustic backing that makes for easy listening. This is a song you can nod your head along to while taking in the story she tells.
It is interesting to see which songs were made by a teen girl in 2010 and how they shape up in our current day and age, but Swift accomplishes matching the overall vibe the original Speak Now had. Now, a new generation can hold onto the nostalgia of the vault tracks a decade from now.