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Taylor Swift's Original Album Covers vs. Taylor's Version

Oct 10, 2023

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She looks *so* happy on the 1989 (Taylor's Version) cover. 🥹

In case your coins aren't going toward a streaming subscription or you don't have access to TikTok in our good year 2023, allow me to give you a lil ~refresher~ on what's going on in the Taylor Swift Cinematic Universe™. We all know Tay has granted us tons of hits over the years, and some of her most successful songs were born during her first six album cycles (see: "Love Story," "All Too Well," and "Shake It Off," to name a few). All those tracks were released under her first record deal with Big Machine Records from 2006 to 2017.

But around the release of her seventh album, Lover—which was her first fully-owned album under Republic Records—Taylor found herself in a tiff with Big Machine and celebrity talent manager Scooter Braun when he bought the masters of her first six albums. Of course, that sparked an entire back-and-forth dramatic exchange, and it eventually led to Taylor re-recording her music in hopes of reclaiming and owning her work (more on that here).

As of 2023, Tay has re-released Fearless (Taylor's Version), Red (Taylor's Version), and Speak Now (Taylor's Version) with 1989 (Taylor's Version) on the way. When the sale of Taylor's original masters went down in 2019, Kelly Clarkson told Taylor to re-record her songs and "put brand new art" and "some kind of incentive" so fans would listen to the new versions.

@taylorswift13 just a thought, U should go in & re-record all the songs that U don’t own the masters on exactly how U did them but put brand new art & some kind of incentive so fans will no longer buy the old versions. I’d buy all of the new versions just to prove a point 💁🏼‍♀️

And listen we did! Taylor not only created brand new album covers for her Taylor's Version recordings but included previously unreleased "From The Vault" songs that had never been heard before. With 1989 (Taylor's Version) coming our way on October 27—exactly 9 years after the original version was released—now would be a great time to walk down Cornelia Street memory lane and compare all of Taylor's original album covers with the new and improved Taylor's Version covers.

The first re-recorded album Taylor released was Fearless in April 2021. After "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" was featured in a hilarious Ryan Reynolds-directed commercial for, Tay officially announced that her Grammy-winning sophomore album, Fearless, was receiving the Taylor's Version treatment on Good Morning America.

The original Fearless album is the most-awarded country album of all time, so it makes perfect sense that Taylor started her re-recordings off strong. Both covers include Taylor flipping her signature blonde locks, but fans pointed out she's facing the opposite direction on her version. 👀

In October 2021, Taylor uploaded a TikTok that called back to her own Tumblr post about loving autumn. Swifties took this as a sign Red (Taylor's Version)—an album that *screams* autumn—was on the way, and they were right. Not only did Taylor announce her Red re-recording around the same time but she teamed up with Starbucks to release a limited-edition seasonal drink called "Taylor's Version." What can we say? She's a marketing mastermind.

Of course, the Taylor's Version album cover included a warm-toned filter and Tay's signature red lip, as well as a "Red" ring that was available on her official merch store for a limited time. And lest we forget, we were finally granted the 10-minute version of "All Too Well" with a short film starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O'Brien? Simply *iconic.*

When Speak Now was originally released in 2010, it was the first album Taylor wrote entirely on her own (from the ages of 18 to 20, at that). Because it's Taylor Swift, she decided to re-release it nearly 13 years later and announced it during the first night of her Nashville shows on the Eras Tour in May 2023.

In her subsequent Instagram announcement, Taylor wrote, "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."

Taylor also went on to release a badass spy-inspired music video for her vault track, "I Can See You," starring her ex-turned-bestie Taylor Lautner, Joey King, and Presley Cash.

Like Fearless (Taylor's Version), the Grammy-winner is facing the opposite direction on the updated album cover for Speak Now. Both versions include flowy violet princess dresses straight out of a Disney movie.

Now we get to look forward to 1989 (Taylor's Version), which is being released 9 years after the original album. As she did with Speak Now (Taylor's Version), Tay announced her 1989 re-record at the Eras Tour. Except, she saved this special announcement for the final date of her first U.S. leg and swapped her original on-stage costumes for blue versions (ahem, an Easter Egg if I've ever seen one).

In an old diary entry Taylor included in the deluxe version of her Lover album, the original 1989 album cover came to the singer-songwriter in a dream.

"Last night, I had this vivid dream where the photo I'd chosen for the album cover wasn't good enough, intriguing enough, artful enough," she wrote. "I looked at it and felt nothing. The team pulled up this new scanned file of the Polaroids we had taken during the shoot... I saw it within 10 seconds. The shot. The cover. It's a Polaroid of me sitting against a beige wall with a blue seagull sweatshirt on. You can see my red lips, but the photo cuts off my eyes."

However, the new 1989 album cover includes the iconic blue hue and seagulls flying around Taylor as she smiles and looks off into the distance— a notable difference from its moody original.

Aaand that bring us to right now! We're still waiting on Tay's last re-recorded albums, Reputation (Taylor's Version) and Taylor Swift (Taylor's Version), to be announced, so we'll update this post as soon as we see those shiny, new album covers. ✨

Sam is an assistant news editor at Cosmo, covering all things pop culture, entertainment, and celebrity news. She previously covered those same topics along with health, lifestyle, and beauty at Seventeen. When she isn't draping her cheeks in blush, you can probably find her live-tweeting awards shows or making SwiftToks.

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