Single Review: Taylor Swift - Love Story (Taylor's Version)
Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’ is the best teenage romance song ever written. Nothing will ever capture the grand delusions of young love better than giving the most famous romantic tragedy of all time a happy ending; a love so real it can resurrect Romeo and Juliet. The effect is only heightened by how earnestly 18-year-old Swift seems to believe it. ‘Love Story’ sweeps you up in its whirlwind momentum and soaring choruses, and it’s all built on an impossible fantasy.
Swift knows this now. Thirteen years and many misogynistic tabloid frenzies later, she has experienced and sung about the fallibility of romantic relationships with a depth and honesty exceeding most pop superstars. During her 2015 world tour, she prefaced performances of ‘Love Story’ with the caveat that she wrote it “before I started having any kind of actual knowledge about what love was” based on “love that I had read about”. On last year’s folklore and evermore, she began writing her own fictional love stories, sidestepping Shakespeare’s melodrama and her own youthful illusions in favour of emotional realism, creating the most sophisticated songs of her career.
It’s like opening a time capsule and reading out a letter you wrote over a decade ago, the words of your younger self filtered through the voice of your present self.
– Nathan Brooks
But now Swift is going back in time. Since losing control over the master recordings of her first six albums, she has begun an ambitious project to re-record them all. This is a remarkable opportunity, the kind normally reserved for live performances, to revisit her back catalogue in light of everything she, and her fans, have been through since, with more scope than a mere reissue or remaster. Fearless (subtitled Taylor’s Version) is the first album to get the re-recording treatment, with a new rendition of ‘Love Story’ as lead single.
Swift could have approached this re-recording with ironic detachment, holding the naïve optimism of her youth at arm’s length, but instead she compassionately embraces it. Swift has never lost her preoccupation with endings but they have become messier, more lifelike…
– Nathan Brooks
‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’ doesn’t sound drastically different to its 2008 counterpart. It hasn’t been glammed up like the synth-pop rendition she performed on the 1989 tour, but has retained its humble country roots, down to the same fiddle player as the original recording. It sounds a little clearer, as you’d expect after this much time, but otherwise this is classic Fearless-era country pop. Except for the vocals. It’s subtle, but Swift’s warmer, more mature voice – missing the country affect of the original – gives the re-recording a fondly retrospective quality. It’s like opening a time capsule and reading out a letter you wrote over a decade ago, the words of your younger self filtered through the voice of your present self.
Swift could have approached this re-recording with ironic detachment, holding the naïve optimism of her youth at arm’s length, but instead she compassionately embraces it. Taylor Swift has never lost her preoccupation with endings but they have become messier, more lifelike; there’s something quietly profound about her revisiting a time when she still believed love could rewrite them.
The Breakdown | Single Review: Taylor Swift – Love Story (Taylor’s Version)
The first music from Taylor Swift’s unprecedented re-recording project subtly realises its unique retrospective potential.