Looking back at Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now' ahead of re-recording's release

This is the story of "Speak Now."

July 6, 2023, 11:14 AM

"Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" is almost ours.

Just as "Speak Now" was Taylor Swift's third album released in her career, this new version is the singer's third re-recorded album. It drops on July 7, following in the footsteps of "Fearless (Taylor's Version)" and "Red (Taylor's Version)," both of which Swift released in 2021.

While "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" will put a twist on what fans loved about the original -- as well as delight them with new offerings -- it's time we went back to 2010 to revisit Swift's iconic album nearly 13 years later.

This is the story of "Speak Now."

Why the album was titled "Speak Now"

Despite "Speak Now" not being a single, Swift clearly felt a strong connection to it.

"I just kept going back to 'Speak Now,' because I think it's a metaphor for so many things we go through in life, that moment where it's almost too late, and you've gotta either say what it is you are feeling or deal with the consequences forever," she told New York Magazine in 2010 about settling on a title for the album.

In the booklet that accompanied the album, Swift elaborated on what the phrase meant to her and how that related to the theme of the album.

"These songs are made up of words I didn't say when the moment was right in front of me," she wrote. "These songs are open letters. Each is written with a specific person in mind, telling them what I meant to tell them in person."

Singer Taylor Swift purchases her new album "Speak Now" at the Times Square Starbucks on Oct. 25, 2010 in New York City.
Keith Bedford/Starbucks via Getty Images, FILE

What Swift said about the songs on "Speak Now"

Swift also said she considers the songs on "Speak Now" to be different "emotions."

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 2010, she explained, "There are some that are about infatuation and adoration and the positive, magical feelings of love. But then there are the ones that deal with when it goes wrong, which it oftentimes does, and all the different ways that it can go wrong, and all the different ways it can make you feel, and all the different phases of that you go through."

As for why it was important for her to write all the songs herself, Swift said it was about proving those who doubt her wrong.

"When I was 18, they were like, 'She doesn't really write those songs.' So my third album I wrote by myself as a reaction to that," she told Rolling Stone in 2019 when reflecting on "Speak Now."

What awards "Speak Now" won

"Speak Now" received album of the year nominations from the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards, winning top country album at the Billboard Music Awards.

In terms of the Grammys, the album was nominated for best country album and ultimately took home two trophies for the song "Mean": best country solo performance and best country song.

Taylor Swift attends the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - press room held at Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles.
Michael Tran/FilmMagic via Getty Images, FILE

Fun fact about the "Mean" music video: actress Joey King appears in the clip.

How the album -- and its songs -- performed on the charts

When "Speak Now" debuted, 11 songs from the album made the Billboard Hot 100 -- the most ever by a female artist at the time.

No songs hit No. 1 on the chart, but "Mine" reached the highest spot at No. 3, followed closely behind by "Back to December," which topped out at No. 6, and the title track, which peaked at No. 8.

"If This Was a Movie," one of the songs off the deluxe version that was left off the tracklist for the re-release, climbed to No. 10.

The album "Speak Now" spent six weeks in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart and 186 weeks on the chart in total.

Singer Taylor Swift performs live on stage at Ahoy in Rotterdam, Netherlands during her Speak Now World Tour on 7th March 2011.
Rob Verhorst/Redferns via Getty Images, FILE

What Swift has said about the "Speak Now" re-release

Swift announced "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" when performing in Nashville during her Eras Tour back in May.

"I always looked at this album as my album, and the lump in my throat expands to a quivering voice as I say this. Thanks to you, dear reader, it finally will be," she wrote in a statement posted to Instagram.

Also in the Instagram post, Swift opened up about her experience writing the album between the ages of 18 and 20, saying, "The songs that came from this time in my life were marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness."

"I love this album because it tells a tale of growing up, flailing, flying and crashing … and living to speak about it," she added.

Swift unveiled the tracklist for "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)" in June, revealing that it will feature six songs from the vault in addition to the songs we already know and love.

Better yet, these new tunes will also feature some emo vibes as Fall Out Boy is featured on "Electric Touch" and Paramore's Hayley Williams is featured on "Castles Crumbling."

Of collaborating with these artists, Swift said she felt they "influenced me most powerfully as a lyricist" at the time of the original "Speak Now" release," calling them "cool and generous" for supporting her on this new version of the album.

The other songs from the vault include "When Emma Falls in Love," "I Can See You," "Foolish One" and "Timeless."

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