Re-Fearless-Taylor’s Version

So completely spot on Bob!  All of it!

And yes, you can tell from the very first note!!!  Hell, I’m barely a fan and I can tell.

Philip McDonald


It’s impossible to perfectly re-create a master… a fools errand

Paul Layton


Great as always

Adam Shacknai


Kinda like Sinatra when he re-recorded all the Capitol hits on his own Reprise label, eh pally?


Steve Weisberg


Fuck-in-a right Bob.
Colin Dutton


So true. Like Quincy said, “When money enters the room, God leaves the room.” But I guess if you don’t really care about art, it won’t matter to you. But it matters to these 64-year-old-musical bones and it sounds like it does to yours too. Screw these re-mixes and re-recordings.

Shepherd Stevenson



Anders Hansson


I was originally sort of on board with Taylor’s plight. Then, right around the same time the new version of “Love Story” dropped, Dave Chappelle did his thing where he asked people not to stream Chappelle’s Show because he wasn’t getting paid. It worked. Comedy Central acquiesced. Taylor should have done the same thing. Her fans would absolutely have boycotted streaming her songs until the negotiations opened back up.

Matt O’Donnell



– Don Pedigo


Spot on. The only artist I can think of who did a total remake of some of his classic music that I have respect for is Jeff Lynne. He was not playing some kind of a game to try to get more money or screw his old label. He simply believed that he had improved as an engineer over the years, and he wanted to go back and redo the songs so that they would sound better to HIM!

Of course a lot of ELO fans like me bought it anyway…

“Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra.”

– Bob Crain


I can’t bear to listen to Jeff Lynne’s ELO rerecorded work. Truly disrespectful to the original recordings. As you mention, you can tell from the very first note. Shameful.

Andrew Paciocco


I listen to a lot of music from the 50s and 60s, and I’ve never heard a remake that was indistinguishable from the original. The original is lightning in a bottle – it’s a confluence of musicians, instruments, engineers, producers, studios, equipment, and the times. It can’t ever be reproduced. Alternate takes from the same session can get close, but even those don’t capture the ephemeral magic of the master or the hit. And as you suggest, the worst part is that the distinction between the original and the remake blurs over time – particularly for those who haven’t indelibly marked the original in their musical consciousness.



I think you’re wrong on this.

I’m sitting here going back and forth between the old and new versions of Fifteen and the new version sounds so much better. Her voice has matured, there’s more low end in the mix… it’s superior in every way. This might not be the case with every song, but FUCK IT — I’d rather she made the money, so I hope these become the standards. Fuck the business side of things, they’re all vampires.

Jeff Neely


Bravo. The fans are usually ythe ones who get it in the ass, especially with big big acts.

Rik Shafer


Nice post.Thanks Bob.Hope you’re well.Have a great day,Ted Keane


This piece is why I read you.
Thank You,
Jeff Garlin


This happens way too often. I was really enjoying your article on people taking original recordings and making money off bad re-masters that do actually, right-off-the-bat, sound different, which takes away from the song you loved. It’s disheartening.

And then you inject “no different from the ignorant following Trump”.

A song I wrote is on a Grammy nominated album, my band backed Alice Cooper years ago, I know how to build a house, I’ve owned and operated a Life Coaching practice for 40 years, I have a wife, 3 kids and an IQ of 134. AND I voted for Trump.

Just like hearing a bad remaster of a song, your bigoted, generalized, condescending and hateful remarks unfortunately take away from the original point your were communicating.

When you do that, I just “lift the needle off your blog” and don’t listen to it anymore.

Rich Nisbet


Hi Bob, my eldest daughter is 20 and has gone through love-hate career moments with Taylor. She hated the new Taylor up until Folk-More, and is now thrilled again with what she’s doing. Thought you’d like to see her response when I just asked her if she likes Fearless (Taylor’s Version):

Hi dad so im having a listening party over zoom in a few hours with my friends so I haven’t heard it YET but we’re all dressing as different Taylor swifts. For example, Isabel is dressing as Taylor from the You Belong With Me music video and I’m dressing as “gold rush” Taylor (I am wearing all gold helloooo) and Rehana (yes the boss of Overachiever who is a huge swift) is dressing up as Taylor from the Blank Space music video, etc. We are making it an EVENT it is not simply a listen on your own type deal 🙂

The love is there. Drum roll on the new recordings…

Colin Drummond


It’s extremely difficult to capture the original magic and excitement in a re-record. I’ve been asked many times to re-record hits for artists for licensing purposes etc.
9 times out of 10 the person asking for the license doesn’t want the re-record.
Have you heard the dreadful Def Leppard re-records? Who’s going to recreate Mutt Lange and Mike Shipley? Absolutely no one.

For example, Whitesnake’s “Slide it In”. The 1984 US version was masterfully mixed and augmented by Keith Olsen from the original UK version. It still sounds amazing, especially on big studio speakers.
David Coverdale decided to remix it recently. Sucked the soul right out of it. It’s dry and over-compressed and lost the “air”.
I won’t blame the mixer here, he was just doing what he was asked i’m sure.

On the other hand, Mark Lewis remixed Megadeth’s “Killing is my Business” and it’s miles better.

Genesis strangely remixed all their classic hits for the “Platinum Collection”. They totally lost the magic. Who remixes Hugh Padgham???

Jay Ruston


I agree with a lot of what you said. And I wouldn’t want my favourite artists to re-record their most classic albums either. But there’s a difference. I’m a lot older than a Taylor Swift fan.

First, Taylor‘s fans are not hard-core audio files. A 22-year-old girl, listening to an Swift album on computer speakers or earbuds, genuinely cannot tell the difference between the original album and the re-recording. And a large percentage of music listeners today, especially Taylor’s fans, are exactly the same. They are not listening to her music on vinyl, through expensive sound systems to catch every bit of fidelity in the recordings. They just aren’t.

Second, like you said, Taylor’s fans are incredibly aware of everything that is going on in her life. They know exactly why she is re-recording everything, and they will be loyal to her and listen only to the re-recorded versions…to support her. Whether the versions are actually “better” is irrelevant. Taylor believes that they are, therefore her fans will believe that also. Plus I’m sure they are enjoying all the extra music.  And if some hard-core fans are that attached to the original versions of the songs, they can go back and listen to them. They aren’t going anywhere. Most of them own the physical albums anyway, and can listen to them whenever they want. Plus, how exactly are the fans getting “screwed”? They are streaming everything on Spotify or Apple Music anyway. What is the new out-of-pocket expense for a Taylor Swift fan, just because she re-recorded an album?

Third, I’m not sure how much it’s “all about the money“. Taylor is rich enough to live five lifetimes without worrying. What she’ll make off these re-recordings won’t amount to much in terms of her overall wealth. Sure, it WOULD be all about the money for a “normal” person….but not for one of the biggest and most successful artists on the planet Earth.

Just a thought. All the best!!

Randy Scott

P.S. Loving the podcast.


Hey Bob. NAME FUCKING NAMES PLEASE! Back it up. One egregious example is Foreigner. Mick Jones who you interviewed. Call that fucker out for it. Jeff Lynne. Def Leppard etc supposedly. I hate this shit also. Drives me nuts when encountered. The streaming services need to curate and monitor this? Or they are perpetuating the fraud.

Derek Morris


You are correct, of course.  And I am not as well-read as you are… and I was trying to get a sense of the positive writing.  (I’ve yet to see anyone else write so-called negative on the topic.)

Seems to me there’s an anti-establishment cheer in the writing.  That is the lone artist doing it her way… And is she in fact doing something (re-record) in a way that isn’t completely lame?

I’m not invested, but I do sense she’s tapping into a larger “Age of Aquarius” vibe… That is, integrity matters and cannot be bought or sold.  And if she’s proving a point to an old establishment, perhaps we are seeing the ongoing development of new standards.  (Which will always be abused by some, but the sentiment of being fair is what accountability is all about; something you write about often as needed in the industry.)

Maybe my thoughts are disjointed, but I sense a cultural difference from a simple artist re-recording for a cash grab.  Again, not that your point that the re-recording cannot re-capture the magic of the original is wrong.  But people perhaps don’t care about recordings (you say music doesn’t drive the culture anymore), as much as seeing a single person beat what they perceive as Goliath.

I dunno; but I enjoy your Letter greatly!

Joshua Hall


“one of best albums of the century”? Who hurt you in Jr High Bob? While there are differences, this is a damn close facsimile. Some of the tones are a bit off, snare pitch overall eq and mix balance. But all tempos, grooves, parts are the exact same. I’m sure she got the same players back in. Even the tracks are the same length.

In my opinion the biggest change is in the sound of the vocals, but the cadences and phrasing are the same. It just sounds like a singer aged 12 years down the road.

This is not a record by a band or people playing together with one mind looking for magic (see Dan Penn!) This was a record made on the grid in parts, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So trying to capture lightning in a bottle is a lot less important or relevant. In re-recording I’m sure they used the same grid, and every effort was made to replicate it within an inch of its life. What we have here is the ultimate “spite house” and as you said I’m sure her fans will be very happy to support her. I don’t know

Ms. Swift but hats off to her for going through what to me seems like a tedious effort of trying to recreate it down to a T.  Would she have been better served spending time making new music, absolutely. (Give me a ring Taylor) Anyhow I feel you should adopt the Zen wisdom of Don Corleone rregarding this release. “But anyway, Signora Swift, my no is final, and I wish to congratulate you on your new business, and I know you’ll do very well. Good luck to you as best as your interests don’t conflict with mine.” Now if in 1976 Led Zepplin tried to release thier “own” version of their second album I’d tell them go fuck themselves.

George Drakoulias


Okay, I feel you, but my son, Eric, plays drums on two of the cuts and it was a pretty big deal in our family.
Robin Slick

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