Drop everything now...
Just two days ago, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) was released on all platforms, a moment many had been waiting for months finally arrived. Swift released the album with 22 tracks playing for 1 hour and 44 minutes, 6 being completely unreleased songs.
Many changes and adjustments occurred to the original songs. There were some iconic moments besides the apparent vocal growth and precise production.
The most significant change is the changed line in Better than Revenge. What was originally
“She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress,”
was replaced with
“He was a moth to the flame. She was holding the matches”.
Many other small vocal changes surprised fans. Most Swifties (including me) can agree that Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) was a massive upgrade from the original album. The main reason for this was the six vault tracks she released with the album.
Vault Tracks are songs that were written when the album was being made but didn’t make the cut in actually being on it. The Speak Now vault tracks include:
- Electric Touch (feat. Fall Out Boy) (Taylor’s Version)
- When Emma Falls in Love (Taylor’s Version)
- I Can See You (Taylor’s Version)
- Castles Crumbling (feat. Hayley Williams) (Taylor’s Version)
- Foolish One (Taylor’s Version)
- Timeless (Taylor’s Version)
These tracks shocked many and continue to puzzle people. Here is an (un)official guide to each vault track on Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).
1. Electric Touch (feat. Fall out boy)
The track delves into a tempestuous romance fueled by undeniable chemistry and the allure of forbidden love. Swift’s signature ability to vividly capture emotions shines through in every line, painting a vivid picture of a captivating relationship that ignites like an electric current. Electric Touch undoubtedly adds depth and excitement to the reimagined Speak Now album, solidifying Taylor Swift’s status as a masterful artist who delivers timeless musical treasures.
“All I know is this could either break my heart or bring my heart or bring it back to life”
“And I want you now, wanna need you forever / In the heat of your electric touch, mmm”
evoke a sense of danger and excitement in the relationship, suggesting that while the connection is intense and exhilarating, it may also come with risks and consequences. This theme adds complexity to the narrative, hinting at the tension and conflict that arise when desire and reason collide.
Adding to the allure of Electric Touch, Taylor Swift collaborates with the iconic pop-punk band Fall Out Boy, who bring their distinct sound and energy to the track. The song explores the passionate connection between two lovers who are irresistibly drawn to each other, despite the potential consequences.
The sound of “Electric Touch” combines elements of Taylor Swift’s signature pop-country style with Fall Out Boy’s rock-infused sound, resulting in a unique and captivating blend. This song is most likely about John Mayor, whom Swift was dating at the time, since the song is similar to Sparks Fly, another song about Mayor.
2. When Emma Falls In Love
Reportedly inspired by her close friend, actress Emma Stone, Swift crafts a heartfelt narrative that delves into the exhilarating and sometimes overwhelming experience of falling in love. The lyrics beautifully capture the journey of a girl named Emma’s heart as she navigates the complexities of romantic emotions.
In the song, Swift describes the moment when love takes hold, with lines like
“Cause she’s the kind of book you can’t put down,”
showing Emma’s hold on people. However, when Emma falls in love, her heart is broken. Ultimately, Emma finds a boy who will be
“her shelter when it rains / Little does he know, his whole world’s about to change.”
Throughout the story, Swift re-mentions that she sometimes wishes she was Emma due to her ability to be ‘perfect.’ This alludes to Taylor’s struggle to find true love.
The sound of When Emma Falls in Love combines elements of Swift’s signature pop-country style with a touch of whimsy and enchantment. The track’s catchy melody highlights its dreamy quality, likening it to a lullaby. The song’s gentle instrumentation, including acoustic guitars and soft percussion, creates a soothing and intimate atmosphere, perfectly complementing the heartfelt lyrics. The track captures the essence of a tender and cherished love story with its warm and nostalgic vibe.
While the song may be inspired by Taylor Swift’s friendship with Emma Stone, it is important to note that artistic interpretation may allow listeners to connect with the track on a personal level, relating it to their own experiences of falling in love. It may even be a situation like the folklore love triangle where ‘Emma’ is a fictional character. Swift’s ability to capture universal emotions through her storytelling is evident in the song, making it a relatable and touching addition to the Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) album.
3. I Can See You
The lyrics explore themes of sexuality and desire with an alluring and provocative tone. The song delves into the intense attraction between two individuals, describing a magnetic connection that is impossible to resist. The lyrics of I Can See You are filled with sensual imagery and innuendos that convey the experience experienced by the narrator. Lines like
“And I could see you up against the wall with me,”
“I could see you, make me want you even more,”
highlight the physical and visceral nature of the attraction. The sound of I Can See You exudes a seductive and sultry ambiance, showcasing Taylor Swift’s versatility as an artist.
The track’s alluring melody has a bit of an R&B-infused sound and a pop production. The song features a combination of smooth beats, groovy basslines, and atmospheric production, creating a captivating sonic backdrop that amplifies the sensual nature of the lyrics. With its surprising undertones and hypnotic musicality, the song adds a fascinating and daring dimension to the album.
As for the specific inspiration behind the song, it is essential to note that Taylor Swift’s music often combines elements of personal experiences, fictional narratives, and artistic interpretation. The lyrics of I Can See You allow listeners to connect with their own desires and experiences of intense attraction, making it a relatable and provocative addition to the album. This song is most likely about John Mayor from the secrecy of the lyrics, such as
“And we kept everything professional / But something’s changed; it’s somethin’ I like”.
Swift also released a music video for I Can See You, featuring Joey King, Taylor Lautner, and Presley Cash, who were close to her when she was writing the original album. The music video depicts the three features trying to save Swift and Speak Now (Taylor's Version) from a vault in a building. This takes her metaphor of 'vault' tracks to a different level. After many action scenes, they get Taylor out of the vault, and she takes back what is rightfully hers!
4. Castles Crumbling
Castles Crumbling is a poignant and introspective vault track from Taylor Swift’s reimagined album, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). The song explores the theme of crumbling relationships and the feeling of losing support, drawing parallels to Taylor’s experiences after her album Fearless in 2008 when she believed this was her last moment of fame.
This can also reflect right back to Swift’s experience at the 2009 VMAs when Kanye West interrupted her speech, and she thought that the crowd was booing her. The lyrics convey a sense of vulnerability and disillusionment, capturing the emotional journey of navigating the complexities of fame and relationships.
The collaboration with Hayley Williams, the dynamic lead vocalist of Paramore, adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to the track. Williams’ notes the powerful synergy between her and Swift’s vocals. Together, they deliver a captivating performance that reflects the emotional weight of the lyrics. In Castles Crumbling, Swift’s introspective songwriting shines through as she expresses her inner turmoil and the impact of losing support. The lyrics, such as
“You don’t want to know me, I will just let you down / You don’t want to know me now”
“Used to chant my name / Now they’re screaming that they hate me / Never wanted you to hate me”
highlight the contrast between the public perception of relationships and the genuine emotions that lie beneath the surface.
The sound of Castles Crumbling combines elements of Swift’s signature country-pop style with a touch of dark production, thanks to Hayley Williams’ contribution. The track features atmospheric production, heartfelt melodies, and a strong emphasis on the emotional delivery of the lyrics. It carries a sense of melancholy and reflection, evoking the feelings of vulnerability and loss that permeate the song.
While the music may draw inspiration from Taylor Swift’s experiences, it also resonates with listeners who have faced similar challenges in their relationships or have experienced a loss of support. The song adds a powerful and introspective dimension to the Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) album, being one of the saddest songs on the album.
5. Foolish One
The track delves into the complex emotions of unrequited love and the inner battles that come with it. Produced by Taylor Swift and the king, Aaron Dessner, the song’s production creates a melancholic atmosphere that perfectly complements the raw vulnerability in Swift’s vocals. The 2000s-like arrangement allows the introspective lyrics to take center stage, drawing listeners into the protagonist’s journey.
The lyrics of “Foolish One” showcase Taylor Swift’s ability to convey the unbalanced dynamics of a relationship and the resulting emotional turmoil. In the verses, she candidly expresses the longing to reciprocate love and the disappointment that follows when it remains unattained. With lines like
“Foolish one / Stop checkin’ your mailbox for confessions of love / That ain’t never gonna come”
“The day is gonna come for your confessions of love / When all is said and done, he just wasn’t the one,”
Swift covers the imagination of a teen girl perfectly. The chorus captures the internal struggle of doubting one’s worth and fearing the pain of learning a hard lesson about unrequited love. As the song progresses, Swift’s introspection deepens, acknowledging vulnerability and the painful realization that the person of interest has chosen someone else. The track ends bittersweetly, with Swift confronting her foolishness and recognizing the need to learn and grow from the experience.
Foolish One is most likely about John Mayor. John emotionally abused his girlfriends, but Swift believed she would be the exception. He was not attentive to Taylor’s needs, making her feel foolish.
This may also be about Taylor waiting for Taylor Lautner to reply to her apology in Back to December. The song serves as a reminder that vulnerability and heartbreak are universal. Through these trials, we find strength and personal growth.
The song narrates the story of an enduring and old couple, presumed to be her grandparents, Marjorie and Dean, as Taylor beautifully captures their timeless love from the girl’s perspective in the relationship.
The sound of Timeless evokes a nostalgic and sentimental tone. The blend of piano, drums, and guitar creates a captivating musical backdrop that adds depth and emotion to the storytelling. There is a mixture of instruments and historical notes. The rhythm and tempo of the music accelerate in the chorus, reflecting the inevitability and unstoppable force of the love story being recounted. Lines like
“But in those photos, I saw us instead / And, somehow, I know that you and I would’ve found each other”
“We’re gonna be timeless, timeless / You still would’ve been mine”
talk about her eluding back to her relationship at the time and reminiscing ‘timeless’ love.
By sharing her grandparents’ experiences and immortalizing their relationship in song, Swift adds a deeply personal and heartfelt touch to the Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) album.
Timeless is a beautiful tribute to enduring love and the power of a connection that transcends time. Through her heartfelt storytelling and the nostalgic sound of the track, Taylor Swift captures the essence of her grandparents’ relationship, allowing listeners to reflect on their own experiences with love and the lasting impact it can have across generations. It is a perfect album closer, too.
My Personal Ranking
Though all of the songs are incredible, they can't all be a favorite. Compare your favorites to mine, and come back to this article after a week to see how things have changed!
- I Can See You - 3 words. It's incredibly catchy.
- Timeless - I claimed this track from the beginning, so I may be biased.
- Foolish One - It's really relatable.
- When Emma Falls In Love - It reminds me of "Diary of Me".
- Electric Touch + Castles Crumbling - I love the 2000's movie soundtrack vibe.
- N/A - It feels impossible to rank one that low.
The release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) with its six new vault tracks marks a significant moment in Taylor Swift’s discography. Each track offers a unique glimpse into Swift’s creative journey during the Speak Now era, showcasing her growth as a songwriter and her ability to craft deeply personal and relatable narratives.
From the poignant and introspective “Foolish One” to the seductive and provocative “I Can See You,” these vault tracks delve into a range of emotions. The collaborations featured in the vault tracks, including Hayley Williams on “Castles Crumbling” and Fall Out Boy on “Electric Touch,” bring an added layer of depth and energy to the album.
With the inclusion of these vault tracks, Taylor Swift not only treats fans to a rediscovery of the beloved Speak Now album but also provides a glimpse into her creative process and evolution as an artist. The songs bring forth a sense of nostalgia while also adding new layers of depth to the album’s narrative. It is an essential addition to any Swiftie’s collection, reminding us once again of the enduring impact of Dr. Taylor Alison Swift.
Is there anything you feel I missed? Were your predictions correct? And, of course, what was your favorite vault track? Comment down below!