Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)


Lilah George, Staff Writer

Taylor Swift, one of the music industries top artists, released her 13th studio album on July 7 at 12 a.m. (EST), and July 6, at 9 p.m. (PST). This album features 22 tracks, six of which have not been previously released. Speak Now is a purple filled album, written solely by Swift herself as when she was 18 she had been weighted with criticism for co-writing some songs.

The original album of Speak Now overall is about bravery as songs such as, “Speak Now” and “Mean” which in content face topics of standing up in intimidating places and getting over disrespect others show you. The lyrics in Speak Now imply that they are directed at the critics who would judge her.

Taylor Swift has constructed a habit of leaving clues or “Easter eggs” for her fandom to discover and theorize over. Previous to the announcement of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), she left hints in different music videos for her last album, midnights. In the video she created for the song, “Bejeweled,” there was an elevator scene in which each color coordinated album was shown as a button, and she clicked on ‘Speak Now’ as the 13th. She now is hinting at an upcoming release of 1989 (Taylor’s version), as a main photo of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) included ballet flats- an allusion to the 1989 ‘Shake It Off’ music video.

In 2005 when Taylor swift was 15, she signed on to a 13 year contract with the record label, “Big Machine Records.” The manager who held licensing rights to her song was named Scooter Braun. In October of 2020, Braun sold the masters rights to Swifts first six studio albums in a deal that left Swift in the margins. Due to her loosing her original rights, she decided to re-record and re-release the sold albums, including new tracks.

The rerecorded albums contain her previously released songs with her holding the rights to them, as well as “vaulted” songs which haven’t been heard before. One of the vaulted Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) songs was, “I Can See You,” which covers a story of noticing someone’s hints and casual acknowledgements to their feelings for you, and fits the theme of the album through being bold; even if not standing up to someone, it’s standing strong in your feelings. She also introduced songs like “Castles Crumbling (Ft. Hayley Williams) ” which was a unique break away since Hayley Williams (the lead singer of the band Paramore) is largely known for categorizing in the genre of rock. Castles Crumbling was a sad song about feeling defeated and the two artists blended together to help convey emotion.

In each of Taylor Swifts vaulted songs, she has included at least one featured artist. In Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), she featured Fallout Boy in the song, “Electric Touch,” as well as Hayley Williams in the song, “Castles Crumbling.” She often gives the artists their own verse as a solo in the song and blends her voice with them separately. Regardless of the styles of these artists, they work hard to fuse sounds.

Speak now is about bravery, which she has tried to represent in putting herself out there to re-record her work.