The response to the new lyrics has been swift, but not all fans are happy.
Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), the third in a series of Taylor Swift re-recording her albums as part of her ongoing masters’ dispute with her former label, Big Machine Records, is finally here.
By releasing Taylor’s Version updates to her first six albums, the Anti-Hero megastar is working to gain ownership of those albums. In response to the dispute, Swift has re-recorded Speak Now, Fearless and Red – releasing them to sound exactly how she wants them to sound.
Swift surprise-announced the release date for Speak Now (Taylor's Version) on stage in early May. Breaking the news on stage in Nashville, she guided her fans’ attention to a huge screen: "If you can direct your attention to that screen back there", Swift proclaimed as the date, 7 July, was revealed.
Speak Now was initially released in 2010, and since then, a controversial string of lyrics from the album has followed Swift. On the original version of Better Than Revenge, Swift sang, "She's not a saint, and she's not what you think / she's an actress, whoa / She's better known for the things that she does / On the mattress, whoa."
Swapping out those problematic final two lines, Swift has amended Better Than Revenge’s lyrics to "He was a moth to the flame / She was holding the matches, whoa." You can listen below.
The response to the new lyrics has been swift, but not all fans are happy. One listener compared Better Than Revenge to Paramore’s Misery Business – it’s worth noting that Paramore didn’t perform the track for years. When they brought it back to setlists, vocalist Hayley Williams talked about internalised misogyny and sexism that brought her to that place.
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One listener on Twitter wrote, “if paramore can perform misery business in the year 2023 then taylor swift can keep the lyrics to better than revenge the same”. A fan on the same wavelength commented, “using better than revenge to make some kind of grand feminist statement feels a little too much... looking back at it and admitting it was what you once were not what you are now would be so much more graceful”.
Another understood Swift’s point of view regarding the change, writing, “I’ve said from the beginning that Taylor doesn’t have to change Better Than Revenge, but there’s a real possibility that the original makes her uncomfortable and she shouldn’t have to put something out that makes her feel that way.”
Other fans are just happy to hear Better Than Revenge in this quality, with another user writing, “idc about the lyric change anymore, the production on this insane i’m gagging”.
Last month, Swift revealed the tracklist for Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), which features re-recorded renditions from the original release, including the hits Mine, Dear John and Mean. She also unveiled two special guests who will lend their artistry to From The Vault tracks: Fall Out Boy (on Electric Touch) and Paramore's Hayley Williams (on Castles Crumbling).
You can order a copy of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) here.