Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), out July 7, is the third album—and the halfway point—in Taylor Swift’s re-recording project. The 33-year-old pop star began releasing re-recordings of her back catalog in 2021 in an effort to reclaim her original music, after her initial label Big Machine Records sold her masters to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in 2019.
“Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy,” Swift wrote in a 2019 Tumblr post in response to news of the sale. “Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”
The remaking of Swift’s early discography, which includes her first six albums, has so far found success, with fans eager to listen to her new vocals, unpack its various easter eggs, and purchase new merchandise. Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is expected to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, which would give Swift the third-most No. 1 albums of any artist of all time, surpassing Barbra Streisand And Bruce Springsteen.
Swift’s re-recorded albums have already broken records: Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was the first re-recorded album in history to top Billboard’s charts and Red (Taylor’s Version) broke Spotify’s record for the most-streamed album in a day by a female artist when it was released.
In early August as she wrapped up the U.S. leg of her Eras tour, Swift announced that 1989 (Taylor’s Version) will be her next rerecorded album, due Oct. 27, 2023.
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Read more to see how Taylor’s versions of her albums have performed so far, compared with the original ones.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
The first re-recorded album in Swift’s project was Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which recreated her 2008 album. The original album performed well upon its debut—its track “Love Story” debuted at number 25 on a Billboard country chart, becoming Swift’s highest debuting song of her career at the time.
The re-recorded album, which was released April 2021, came shortly after Swift released two new albums in 2020, folklore and evermore. The new Fearless included remakes of Swift’s earlier successful songs like “Love Story” and “Fifteen,” as well as six additional songs known as “vault tracks” that weren’t included in the original album.
According to Billboard, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) performed even better than the original, when looking at streams and sales within its first year. The new version earned more equivalent album units—a measurement that accounts for streaming, song downloads and traditional album sales—in its first week of release than the original did over the next year. At the time of its release, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was the biggest debut week for any 2021 album. It went on to spend 11 total weeks in the top 40 of the Billboard 200 chart in 2021; and totaled 722.7 million on-demand U.S. streams over its first year, according to Billboard.
Red (Taylor’s Version)
Red (Taylor’s Version) was a re-recording of Swift’s 2012 album Red. With Red, her fourth studio album, Swift cemented herself as a pop star with popular songs like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “22.” The album sold over 1 million copies in its first week and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Red (Taylor’s Version) included a highly-anticipated 10-minute-version of her single “All Too Well,” a ballad speculated to be about her breakup with the actor Jake Gyllenhaal. The album was well-received by fans who helped debut it at the No. 1 slot on Billboard’s 200 list with 605,000 equivalent album units, and critics who said it “makes a classic even better.”
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According to Billboard, it performed even better than her previous rerecorded album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), doubling Fearless’ 1 million equivalent album units in its first year to nearly 2 million equivalent album units in its first year. The original Red album earned 220,000 equivalent album units over that same year.
Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)
Amid her Eras Tour, Swift announced that Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) would come out on July 7. “I first made Speak Now, completely self-written, between the ages of 18 and 20,” she wrote on Instagram. “The songs that came from this time in my life were marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness.”
The album will feature 22 tracks, including the popular songs “Back to December,” “Dear John,” and “Better Than Revenge”—which has prompted speculation among fans over whether Swift has changed some of its controversial lyrics. There will also be six new songs, including collaborations with Hayley Williams of Paramore and Fall Out Boy.
If the climbing success of Swift’s previous two recreated albums, and the larger success of her decades old career is indicative, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is set to perform just as, if not better than the original.
Correction, July 7
The original version of this story incorrectly stated that the songs “Tim McGraw” and “Picture To Burn” were hits from Taylor Swift’s second studio album, Fearless. The songs were on Swift’s self-titled debut album, Taylor Swift, not Fearless. The story has been updated to note the success of her song “Love Story” from Fearless.
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