The Underground (Taylor’s Version)

Emma Shinker

Chief Copy Editor

 

Friday, Nov. 12 felt like the perfect night to dress up like Taylor Swift and scream the lyrics to your old favorite songs. The Underground (UG) was alive as “Swifties” from across campus came together to share their love of the artist and celebrate the release of her newest re-recorded album, Red (Taylor’s Version).

The original “Red” album came out in 2012, but last Friday was the first time fans heard versions of the songs that are owned by Swift herself, as well as some new, previously unreleased tracks written nine years ago. The project began when Swift’s original record label sold the master recordings for her first six albums without her permission and without giving her the chance to buy them for herself. To make a long story short, Swift decided to re-record identical versions of all the songs so that she would own them and be able to use and perform them however she pleases.

Swift isn’t the only artist who has had a negative experience with greedy record labels, and she hopes her story can help turn the tables. She explained the situation in a series of Tumblr posts in 2019, adding that “hopefully, young artists or kids with musical dreams will read this and learn about how to better protect themselves in a negotiation. You deserve to own the art you make.” Recently, Olivia Rodrigo took this to heart when she signed her record deal and made sure that she has ownership of her masters.

“Red (Taylor’s Version)” is the second re-recorded album Swift has put out, after “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” in April of 2021, and there are four more in the works. 

Fiona Schieve ’23 spoke enthusiastically about theories surrounding which re-recorded album would be released next. She has been a fan of Swift since her debut album in 2006 and came to the Underground event “because I’m stressed out and there was Taylor Swift,” which seems as good a reason as any. “No matter what mood you’re in,” she continued, “if you dig deep enough into her discography there’s a song for everything.”

Whatever mood students had been in before 8 p.m. on Friday, the atmosphere in the Underground was joyous as they danced and sang along to songs from across Swift’s discography, from classics like “You Belong With Me” and “The Story of Us” to newer favorites like “I Did Something Bad” and “Paper Rings.” And, of course, the night featured tracks from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” itself, such as “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Message In A Bottle” and “Holy Ground.” 

According to Miriam Harley ’24, who works at the UG and DJed the event, “We wanted people to be able to come to the UG and just have a good time.” Judging from the high energy in the room, the UG staff seem to have accomplished that goal.

“Honestly it has revived my childhood love of Taylor Swift,” remarked Anna Walsh ’24, who also called the night “a boppin’ good time.”

Harley expressed the Underground’s desire to host more events like this one, and emphasized that if students want to see an event for another album drop they think would be in demand, they should reach out.

And if you’d like to feed your inner Swiftie, Harley recommends listening to “Enchanted” or the new ten minute cut of “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version),” and Schieve, despite justifiably noting that it is too hard to choose a favorite, recommends “Wonderland” and “The Moment I Knew (Taylor’s Version).”