Tier Ranking Speak Now (Taylor's Version) + FIXING the Tracklist 💜 ✨💜

Summary notes created by Deciphr AI



In a deep dive into Taylor Swift's re-recordings, Zach, a self-proclaimed swiftologist, dissects and ranks the tracks from "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)," offering a fresh perspective on the album's narrative flow. He emphasizes his commitment to historical accuracy in song interpretation, despite his openness to reshuffling the tracklist for a more cohesive story. Zach critiques the production quality of some tracks and challenges the decision to alter lyrics, particularly in "Better Than Revenge," arguing for a purist approach to the re-recording project. Additionally, he shares his thoughts on the broader reception of Swift's re-recordings by critics and fans alike, stressing the importance of respecting different opinions and the original works' integrity. His analysis culminates in a reimagined tracklist that seeks to capture the essence and emotional journey of "Speak Now," while also reflecting on the growth and maturation in Swift's songwriting.

Summary Notes

Zach's Speak Now Taylor's Version Ranking and Analysis

  • Zach ranks and reshuffles Taylor Swift's "Speak Now Taylor's Version" based on historical allegiance and interpretation of new re-recordings.
  • He provides his honest opinions on the vault tracks and reshuffles the tracklist into a cohesive story.
  • Zach acknowledges that reshuffling may lead to some fan favorites being cut or ranked lower than expected.
  • Emphasizes that differing opinions on Taylor Swift songs should not lead to harassment.

"well hello stranger today I'm going to be doing something really insane and totally out of character for me talking about speak now Taylor's version in fact what I'm going to be doing is ranking all of the re-recordings based on my historical allegiance to each of these songs but also my interpretation of the new re-recordings giving you my unfiltered honest opinions on the vaults which you may have had a glimpse of in my reaction video and reshuffling the entire tracklist into a cohesive story that makes sense to me"

Zach introduces the focus of his video, ranking and reshuffling "Speak Now Taylor's Version" and providing his honest opinions on the re-recordings and vault tracks.

The Role of a Swiftologist

  • Zach identifies himself as a swiftologist, someone who makes thoughtful weekly videos about pop culture, with a recent focus on Taylor Swift.
  • He has been on a world tour and vacation, which has affected his content schedule.
  • Upcoming content includes a video on Lana Del Rey and further analysis of Taylor Swift re-recordings.

"my name is Zach I am a swiftologist and on this channel I make thoughtful weekly videos about pop culture and every time I say that in the videos lately I'm like thoughtful pop culture and yet the last like two months has just been Taylor Swift all the time and that's because she's been doing a lot and I've been on World Tour."

Zach explains his role as a swiftologist and the reasons behind his recent focus on Taylor Swift content.

Re-Recording Project Misunderstanding

  • The re-recordings project has been misunderstood by some professional music critics.
  • Zach and his co-host Madeline address the critical response to "Speak Now" on their podcast "Evolution of a Snake."
  • They discuss the importance of the re-recordings in devaluing the original masters rather than replacing them.

"the re-recordings project at large has largely been kind of misunderstood by professional music critics and we definitely take aim at them in this episode it's free to listen to wherever you get your podcast Spotify Apple music"

Zach points out that the re-recording project has been misunderstood by critics, which he discusses on his podcast.

Fidelity to Original Recordings

  • Speak Now Taylor's Version is considered faithful to the original production.
  • Adjusting Spotify playback settings enhances the listening experience.
  • Zach ranks "Speak Now" as the closest to the original production, followed by "Fearless" and "Red."

"something that I really loved about speaking out Taylor's version is that it felt faithful and true to the original production of the actual record that it was mimicking instead of being something that was like a later reinterpretation"

Zach appreciates the fidelity of "Speak Now Taylor's Version" to the original production and advises adjusting playback settings for a better experience.

Production Preferences

  • Zach criticizes Jack Antonoff's involvement in the standard edition tracks of re-recordings.
  • Prefers Christopher Rowe's production for the nostalgic country-pop eras.
  • Advocates for a purist approach, wanting Vault tracks to resemble their demo forms without additional features.

"I am definitely against Jack Antonoff being involved on any of the standard edition tracks of any of the re-recording projects it needs to be Christopher Rowe specifically when we're going through the nostalgic like country pop eras"

Zach expresses his preference for Christopher Rowe's production over Jack Antonoff's for the re-recordings, especially for country-pop eras.

Ranking and Reshuffling Criteria

  • Zach introduces categories for ranking songs: "Tell Me Why Treatment," "Great Gown," "15 Treatment," "I Like the Beat," "Taylor's Version Sucks," and "Should Have Stayed in the Vault."
  • The categories range from songs that are greatly improved to those that are indistinguishable from the original or disappointing.

"here are the categories that I am using to rank all of the Taylor's versions today and the first one is the tell me why treatment now there are certain songs that get inexplicably blown up they're not usually the songs that you would expect to get a complete and total upgrade but somehow by the grace of God they have been upgraded to Legendary status"

Zach outlines the categories he uses to rank the songs on "Speak Now Taylor's Version," indicating the varying levels of improvement or disappointment compared to the original tracks.

Specific Song Analysis

  • "Mine" received the "Tell Me Why Treatment," considered a faithful reproduction with a few minor critiques.
  • "Sparks Fly" placed in the "I Like the Beat" category due to notable differences from the original, though some fans were not pleased with the re-recording.

"mine was unbelievably faithful I was a little bit worried when I heard that seven second snippet on her Instagram where the mine just sounded. very I guess like programmed into the song. but I think my main critique with a lot of the re-recordings is that they sound choppy or like processed together like separate vocal takes that are just put together"

Zach critiques the re-recording of "Mine" as mostly faithful but with moments that sound processed, while "Sparks Fly" receives mixed reactions from fans.

Taylor Swift's Re-recordings

  • Zach discusses Taylor Swift's re-recordings, comparing them to their original versions and categorizing them based on how they stand up to the originals.
  • He uses unique categories like "15 treatment," "Great gown," and "Hey Stephen treatment" to classify the songs.
  • Zach believes that while re-recordings can offer new insights or enjoyment, they may lose the original's raw emotional power or context.

"So a song that was written like in the debut era. So it really it has a young young tailor to live up to and you know at 33 years old this lady is not catapulting herself back into her 16 17 year old itself's voice it's just not possible we shouldn't expect that of her."

  • Zach explains that Taylor Swift cannot replicate her teenage voice in her re-recordings, highlighting the unrealistic expectations of a perfect recreation of her earlier work.

Production Quality and Authenticity

  • The discussion includes the importance of production quality and maintaining authenticity in re-recordings.
  • Zach expresses disappointment with what he perceives as production errors and unnecessary changes in the re-recorded songs.

"I think there's been a glitch it is a glitch that sounds like a production error and it just blows my mind that when you're doing a project of this caliber and the scale for an artist of this nature that you as a producer can let what sounds like a technical error simply pass by."

  • This quote indicates Zach's surprise at the presence of what he interprets as a production glitch in a high-caliber project like Taylor Swift's re-recordings.

Emotional Connection and Maturation

  • Emotional connection to the songs is a theme, with Zach discussing how age and maturity can change the reception and performance of a song.
  • The re-recordings evoke different feelings due to Taylor's growth as an artist and person.

"And it's one of those songs that I expected a re-recording to sound ridiculous or would sound so different that it would completely put me off of the song but the Advent of Taylor being older and more mature and looking back on it with this kind of like knowing wink and this sardonic wry sense of humor makes it just so much more fun."

  • Zach appreciates the matured reinterpretation of Taylor's songs, noting that her growth adds a new layer of enjoyment to the re-recordings.

Vocal and Production Evolution

  • Taylor Swift's vocal training and involvement in production are acknowledged as factors that have improved the quality of her music over time.
  • The re-recordings are seen as an opportunity to showcase her vocal and production evolution.

"And we know from the forward and speak now that Taylor underwent some serious vocal training before she even embarked upon recording this project and that is evident in and of the original recording of This Record itself if you look at the original stolen version Sierra listen speak now there's a huge leap in vocal quality."

  • The quote highlights Taylor Swift's vocal improvement and the impact of her training on the re-recorded tracks.

Lyric Changes and Historical Accuracy

  • Discusses the implications of changing lyrics in re-recordings and the importance of staying true to the original work's historical context.
  • Zach criticizes changes that he feels distort the original intent or message of the songs.

"I just think that the spirit of the project calls for us to be very faithful full to the Canon to the historical record and it upsets me when we make these changes and there is no kind of like address there's no explanation of why we have been doing this."

  • This quote expresses Zach's belief that re-recordings should be faithful to the original versions and criticizes the lack of explanation for changes made to the lyrics.

Personal Growth and Relevance

  • Personal growth and the changing relevance of songs to an individual's life are discussed, with Zach sharing his own experiences and how they affect his current view of the songs.

"I don't like the re-recording of mean I'm definitely in a place in my life where like the original song has very little meaning to me."

  • Zach reflects on how his personal growth has led to a diminished connection with the song "Mean," indicating that the relevance of songs can shift with life experiences.

The Power of Taylor's Versions

  • The re-recordings, referred to as "Taylor's versions," are recognized for their ability to alter the perception and enjoyment of the original songs.

"This just shows you the power of the Taylor's versions what they can and can't do for a song."

  • Zach acknowledges the influence of Taylor Swift's re-recordings on the listener's experience, emphasizing their transformative power.

Vocal Improvements in Taylor Swift's Music

  • Zach discusses the vocal improvements in Taylor Swift's music, particularly highlighting the maturation and resonance in her voice.
  • He believes that "Hauntage" should be in the "Hey Stephen" treatment due to these vocal improvements.

"The noted vocal improvements, the maturation, the deepening, the resonance that always comes through so clearly in that final bit where she often you know does the insane vocal ad-libs and shows off what she actually is capable of doing."

The quote emphasizes the significant vocal development in Taylor Swift's music, where her ability to execute complex vocal ad-libs showcases her talent.

Disappointment with "Last Kiss" Re-recording

  • Zach expresses disappointment with the re-recording of "Last Kiss," stating it lacks the original's "shaky breath."
  • He decides not to place it in the "15 treatment" or "breakdown" categories, but rather in "I like the beat."

"Last Kiss is one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs of all time by the way and probably my biggest disappointment in the re-recordings I can't put it in the 15 treatment because the shaky breath is not in it so automatically we have not gone it."

Zach is highlighting a specific detail—the "shaky breath"—that was missing in the re-recorded version of "Last Kiss," which impacted his emotional connection to the song.

Emotional Connection and Live Performances

  • Taylor Swift's live performances can evoke strong emotional connections, as Zach discusses with "Long Live."
  • Despite initially connecting with "Long Live," Zach feels he has outgrown the song's "cheesy corniness."

"I'm so excited to be seeing it many times next year live because it is you know an emotional song one that you want to be screaming in a crowd amongst your fellow swifties at you know the queen herself."

The quote conveys the anticipation and excitement for experiencing the emotional impact of Taylor Swift's songs in a live setting, shared with other fans.

Ranking System for Taylor Swift Songs

  • Zach has created a ranking system for Taylor Swift's songs, with categories like "Hey Stephen" and "Great gown."
  • "Superman" is his least favorite song, which he believes should have stayed unreleased.

"Superman my least favorite Taylor Swift song probably of all time should have stayed in the vault forever Taylor's version or not I hate that song."

This quote reveals Zach's strong dislike for the song "Superman," suggesting it lacks the quality to warrant release.

Vault Tracks and Collaborations

  • Zach finds it challenging to rank the vault tracks.
  • He expresses mixed feelings about "Electric Touch," especially its collaboration with Fallout Boy.

"Electric Touch I'm putting it into I like the beat it's growing on me that's for sure when I first heard it I was like. okay. I was expecting something a little bit more I don't think the song Quite lives up to its name."

Zach is critiquing "Electric Touch," acknowledging his initial disappointment and his perception that the song doesn't meet expectations set by its title.

Emotional Narratives in Songs

  • "When Emma Falls in Love" resonates with Zach due to its emotional narrative and connection to Taylor Swift's journey of self-worth.
  • He appreciates the song's perspective on love and admires the female role model depicted in it.

"It made me very nostalgic and emotional. so I really appreciate when Emma falls in love."

The quote reflects Zach's emotional response to "When Emma Falls in Love," valuing the song's thematic exploration of love and self-discovery.

Production Choices and Song Authenticity

  • Zach discusses how production choices can affect the authenticity of a song, using "I Can See You" as an example.
  • He suspects that Jack Antonoff's contemporary influence might have altered the song's original spirit.

"I Can See You to me has been interfered with a little bit too much by Jack Antonoff I don't believe that if you showed me the demo version of this song from 2010 it would sound the way the Jack engineoff has made it sound."

The quote indicates Zach's concern that modern production has potentially compromised the original integrity of "I Can See You."

Metaphors and Songwriting Quality

  • Zach criticizes the song "Castle's Crumbling" for its heavy-handed metaphor and feels it doesn't match the quality of Taylor Swift's other work.
  • "Timeless" is also criticized for its writing, which Zach feels lacks perspective and sophistication.

"The writing on this is frankly embarrassing the metaphor is heavy-handed and you know what Taylor herself would admit this because she kept it off the album to begin with in the first place."

Zach's critique of "Timeless" is harsh, suggesting that even Taylor Swift recognized the song's shortcomings by originally excluding it from the album.

Reordered Tracklist for a Cohesive Narrative

  • Zach attempts to create a cohesive narrative with a reordered tracklist for "Speak Now."
  • He starts with "Foolish One" as it encapsulates the album's thesis and follows with "Electric Touch" to maintain the album's upbeat moments.

"Speak now is kind of a difficult album to do this with because there are so many kind of different moments emotions and feelings that are sometimes in contrast or in conflict with one another."

This quote explains the challenge Zach faces in reordering "Speak Now" to achieve a narrative that makes sense despite the contrasting emotions in the original tracklist.

Electric Touch and Sparks Fly

  • "Electric Touch" symbolizes the initial excitement and optimism when meeting someone new, regardless of the potential heartbreak.
  • "Sparks Fly" is described as a more mature and dramatic version of "Electric Touch," conveying a sense of surrender and willingness to fall in love.

"An electric touch is about that first glance feeling the first time you meet someone you know wondering if it's going to break your heart or bring you back to life." "Sparks Fly is the older batter sister... the way you move is like a full-on brainstorm and I'm a house of cards."

The quotes highlight the themes of initial attraction and the vulnerability that comes with the potential of a new relationship. "Electric Touch" represents the hopeful beginning, while "Sparks Fly" acknowledges the risks involved with deeper involvement.

The Story of Us and Dear John

  • "The Story of Us" represents hope in the face of a relationship breakdown.
  • "Dear John" is about recognizing manipulation and mistreatment within a relationship, marking a shift from hope to realization of being taken advantage of.

"The story of us is really there's still a little bit of Hope in that scenario... I would lay my armor down if you say you'd rather love than fight." "Dear John is the realization that she has been taken advantage of that she has been manipulated."

These quotes capture the transition from maintaining hope for a troubled relationship in "The Story of Us" to the harsh recognition of emotional manipulation in "Dear John," which is a pivotal emotional center of the album.

Better Than Revenge to Haunted

  • "Better Than Revenge" expresses anger and the desire for vengeance post-breakup.
  • "Haunted" deals with the lingering effects of a past relationship and the difficulty of moving on.

"Better Than Revenge is that full expression of that anger letting it redirecting it targeting it at different places." "Haunted definitely has that anger too... oh [__] I'm like fully in it now."

The quotes illustrate the progression of emotions from anger and seeking revenge in "Better Than Revenge" to the haunting realization of being deeply affected by a past love in "Haunted."

When Emma Falls in Love to Timeless

  • "When Emma Falls in Love" is about learning from others' positive experiences in love and the desire to replicate them.
  • "Enchanted" and "Timeless" represent a return to hopeful romantic feelings, despite previous heartache.

"When Emma falls in love I'm learning is really important here." "Timeless is similarly original song to Enchanted it is clearly addressed to someone that she has not known for a very long period of time."

These quotes convey the journey back to a hopeful perspective on love, using "When Emma Falls in Love" as a moment of learning, and "Enchanted" and "Timeless" as expressions of renewed romantic optimism.

Mine to Ours

  • "Mine" and "Ours" reflect on real-life relationships, with "Mine" discussing personal growth and "Ours" focusing on overcoming external judgments.

"Mine and Ours are kind of more about like actual relationships rather than feeling of falling in love." "Ours is really about kind of like rejecting outside forces and ignoring what people are saying about your relationship."

The quotes emphasize the themes of personal growth within relationships and the resilience needed to maintain love in the face of external criticism.

Back to December to Long Live

  • "Back to December" addresses personal accountability and growth by acknowledging past mistakes in a relationship.
  • "Last Kiss" is about the painful realization that some lost relationships are irretrievable.
  • "Never Grow Up" reflects on the transition from adolescence to adulthood and the importance of cherishing non-romantic aspects of life.
  • "Long Live" serves as a tribute to fans and a recognition of the struggles and victories in life.

"Back to December is telling us... sometimes you in fact are the person who's at fault." "Last Kiss is also kind of a wallowing song... sometimes there is a Last Kiss." "Never Grow Up is a beautiful depiction of the transition between being an adolescent and a young adult." "Long Live is a letter and admissive to the fans."

The quotes explore the themes of reflection and maturity, acknowledging the complexity of relationships and personal growth, culminating in a celebratory acknowledgment of the journey and the support of fans with "Long Live."

Album Structure and Exclusions

  • The album reshuffle is intended to create a concise narrative flow, focusing on the themes of love, heartbreak, and growth.
  • "Mean" and "Speak Now" were omitted as they did not fit the desired narrative structure and length of the album.

"I try and keep these albums as concise as possible when I do my reshuffle because I want it to be a sit-down listen all the way through." "Speak now the song is not on it and that's just because I couldn't find a moment for it to be there."

The explanation for the album structure highlights the intent to craft a cohesive listening experience that tells a story, resulting in the exclusion of certain tracks that did not serve this purpose.

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