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  • Writer's pictureAbby Hazlett

Not as Easy as Knowing All the Words to Your Old Favorite Songs: My Top 5 Speak Now Tracks

Taylor Swift originally released her third studio album, Speak Now, in 2010, and recently released Speak Now (Taylor's Version) in July 2023.


Warning: opinions may differ from your own, and that's okay!


Note: I will be referring to Speak Now and Speak Now (Taylor's Version) generally using "Speak Now" for clarity, but never fret! We only listen to Taylor's Version in this house! Assume every song I talk about and every time I mention the album, I am talking about Taylor's Version, and if I am ever comparing the differences between the stolen version and the re-record, I will specify which version I'm talking about in those instances.


Speak Now is a very important album and era for me, even though I have been a Swiftie since "Tim McGraw" in 2006. The Speak Now Tour was the very first concert I ever went to at the then-named Heinz Field (now Acrisure Stadium) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2011. I went with my school friend Audrey and a general love for Taylor Swift, and I left with an intense need to be on stage (I was and still am a dancer), an INTENSE love for Taylor Swift, and an iconic brown, straight-haired Taylor tour T-shirt. (I recently found the same authentic tour shirt on the resell site Grailed, at a very reasonable price for such a rare shirt, after searching for YEARS. My original shirt accidentally got sent to Goodwill when my family sold my childhood home a few years ago, so it was truly a Speak Now Summer miracle!)

This album makes me feel emotional and brave and silly and girly and dramatic and feral, and in the summer (the year!) of healing girlhood, it was, is, and will be an album for the ages.


#5: Better Than Revenge


People have A LOT of hot takes about the original lyrics to this song. Even more people have A LOT of hot takes about the new lyrics to this song. Personally, this is one of very few songs in the Taylor Swift discography that is the definition of dramatic, angry catharsis I need when I'm raging, either rationally or irrationally.


The "pop-punk + country = ultimate angst" production is absolutely breath-taking, especially on Taylor's Version. Christopher Rowe really took this song to another level with the production do-over. Taylor's ad-lib vocals are so crisp and edgy, the instruments are distinct but well balanced, and it is truly an audio and emotional experience from top to bottom.


Favorite lyric:

I'm just another thing for you to roll your eyes at, honey.

People can say what they want about the lyric change from "she's better known for the things that she does on the mattress" (stolen version) to "he was a moth to a flame, she was holding the matches" (Taylor's Version). Is it the best Taylor lyric ever? No. Does it take away from the anger, pettiness, and angst of the song? Also, no.


#4: Enchanted


I am still passed out, dead, no longer functioning after being mere FEET from Taylor Swift when she sang "Enchanted" on The Eras Tour. I am forever grateful I got to see her (and her incredibly beautiful and talented dancers!) perform this number twice, the first time from far the 300s-section and the second time from the floor.


Favorite lyric:

Please don't be in love with someone else. Please don't have somebody waiting on you.

#3: Dear John


The only thing I need to say about this song (because truly... what else is there to say that hasn't already been said) is that I need the emotive vocal slander to stop! There is a sect of the SwiftTok community who really thinks this song sounds so much less angry and emotional on Taylor's Version, but clearly they are not listening. Taylor is a vocal actor on this song (and the other "sad ballads" on the re-recorded version of the album).


Favorite lyric:

You are an expert at sorry and keeping lines blurry, never impressed by me acing your tests.

#2: Sparks Fly


This was the first Taylor Swift song I put in my vocal audition book (I went to college for musical theatre), and I do not think it's a coincidence that I have gotten a callback or booked a job when this song was involved... And that's called on the "Taylor Swift Karmic Laws of Life".


Favorite lyric:

My mind forgets to remind me you're a bad idea.

#1: The Story Of Us


This is another example of a song whose production SOARED to new height on the re-recored. Christopher Rowe again knocked this pop-punk meets country, definitely Paramore-influenced vibe out of the park.


Favorite lyric:

But you held your pride like you should've held me.

Taylor's Version vault songs update: I don't think I can confidently say any of the From the Vault tracks on Speak Now (Taylor's Version) could replace any of these top-five tracks for me (yet!), but "Foolish Ones" and "I Can See You" are giving these ones a run of their money! Also, the "Electric Touch" slander needs to stop! Immediately!! It's a fabulous punk-poppy bop!


When Speak Now (Taylor's Version) was released this past July, I posted this text overlay on a TikTok (@theabbyhazlett) I posted:

Speak Now originally came out when I was 13 in 2010, the last year I can remember before I learned how cruel girls could be to each other for fun, that boys don't care how they get you as long as they do, and nobody cares about your feelings, especially the big ones. And all I wanted to do was grow up. / Now, 13 years later, I'm 26. Speak Now (Taylor's Version) is ours (and finally Taylor's). Girls are still mean, but you learn how to avoid those ones. Boys still don't care, but you figure out how to see the ones that might. I don't know if anyone cares about my big feelings, but now I do. And now all I want to do is stop growing up. / Thank you, Taylor, forgiving us this music. Thank you for sharing your stories and your fantasy world, a place where a 13-year-old turned 26-year-old can always run to.

All music and lyrics discussed here are by Taylor Swift from her studio albums Speak Now and Speak Now (Taylor's Version). Production credits for Speak Now are as follows: the primary artist is Taylor Swift; originally released on October 25, 2010; released under the label Big Machine Records; produced by Taylor Swift, Nathan Chapman, Dean Gillard, and Matt Ward; lyrics by Taylor Swift. Production credits for Speak Now (Taylor's Version) are as follows: the primary artist is Taylor Swift, with Fall Out Boy and Hayley Williams as featured artists; originally released on July 7, 2023; released under the label Republic Records; produced by Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner, and Christopher Rowe; lyrics by Taylor Swift. Learn more about Taylor Swift at TaylorSwift.com and follow her on social media at the handles @taylornation and @taylorswift.


All photos featured in this article were taken by me. See my full Speak Now photo series on Instagram: @theabbyhazlett.

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