Fearless (Taylor Swift album)

Fearless is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on November 11, 2008, by Big Machine Records. Written largely by Swift while she was promoting her 2006 self-titled debut album in 2007–2008, the album features additional songwriting credits from Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey, Colbie Caillat, and John Rich. Swift wrote seven of the thirteen songs on the standard edition by herself and, in her debut as a record producer, co-produced all songs with Nathan Chapman.

Fearless
A photograph showing Swift's side profile, with her blonde curly hair loose and free flown. She is wearing a white dress against a white background. Her name "Taylor Swift" is written in cursive, and the title "Fearless" is printed in all caps; both are at the bottom of the photograph.
Standard edition cover[note 1]
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 11, 2008 (2008-11-11)
Recorded2007–October 2008
Studio
Genre
Length53:41
LabelBig Machine
Producer
Taylor Swift chronology
Beautiful Eyes
(2008)
Fearless
(2008)
Speak Now
(2010)
Singles from Fearless
  1. "Love Story"
    Released: September 15, 2008
  2. "White Horse"
    Released: December 8, 2008
  3. "You Belong with Me"
    Released: April 18, 2009
  4. "Fifteen"
    Released: August 31, 2009
  5. "Fearless"
    Released: January 3, 2010

Fearless is a country pop record with pop crossover elements that music critics found appealing to a mainstream audience, expanding on the country sound of its predecessor. The songs are characterized by traditional country instruments such as banjos, fiddles, and acoustic guitars, intertwined with electric guitars. The lyrics are inspired by Swift's feelings as a teenager, and explore themes of romance, heartache, and aspirations. The album's title refers to the overarching theme of all of its tracks, as they altogether depict Swift's courage to embrace the challenges of love.

After the release of Fearless, Swift embarked on the Fearless Tour, which ran from April 2009 to July 2010. Five songs were released as singles, including three US Billboard Hot 100 top-ten entries: "Love Story", "You Belong with Me", and "Fearless"; the first two were successful on both country and pop radio. The album spent eleven weeks atop the US Billboard 200 and was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America. It peaked in the top five of albums charts and received multi-platinum certifications in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.K, and has sold twelve million copies sold worldwide by April 2021.

Music critics complimented Swift's songwriting craftsmanship on Fearless for offering radio-friendly tunes and autobiographical narratives, though some were unimpressed by the formulaic production. Fearless won Album of the Year at both the Country Music Association Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2009. At the 2010 Grammy Awards, it won Album of the Year and Best Country Album. Following the 2019 dispute regarding the ownership of Swift's back catalog, she released the re-recording, Fearless (Taylor's Version), in April 2021.

BackgroundEdit

Taylor Swift signed a publishing contract with Sony/ATV Tree Publishing in 2004 to become a songwriter;[1] at fourteen years old, she became the youngest Sony/ATV signee in its history.[2] After signing a recording contract with Nashville-based Big Machine Records in 2005 to become a country music singer, Swift wrote songs with other Music Row songwriters and recorded her self-titled debut album with producer Nathan Chapman for four months near the end of 2005.[3][4] Released on October 24, 2006, it was the longest-charting album on the US Billboard 200 of the 2000s decade, and established Swift as one of country music's rising stars.[5][6] Its third single, "Our Song", made Swift the youngest person to single-handedly write and sing a number-one song on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.[7] Her success was rare for a female teenage artist, as country music had been dominated by mostly middle-aged male musicians.[8][9]

To promote Taylor Swift, Swift toured as the opening act for other country musicians, including Rascal Flatts and George Strait, during 2007–2008. While on tour, she continued writing songs for her follow-up album mostly by herself on the road, "at the concert venue ... a quiet place in some room at the venue, like the locker room".[10][11] In addition to self-penned material, Swift had songwriting sessions with Liz Rose, with whom she had largely collaborated on her first album.[12] She also wrote with musician John Rich and singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat.[13]

Writing and productionEdit

Swift first came up with the direction for her second studio album after writing "Fearless", a song about the "best first date that [she hadn't] been on yet", while touring with Brad Paisley in mid-2007.[14] Swift's songwriting was influenced by Paisley and Sheryl Crow's approach to expressing emotions.[note 2] Continuing on the romantic themes of Taylor Swift, Swift chose to write songs about her personal feelings and observations of the world around her from the perspectives of a teenage girl, instead of the luxurious lifestyle brought by her newfound fame,[15][16] to ensure her fans could relate to her songs: "I really try to write more about what I feel and guys and love because that's what fascinates me more than anything else – love and what it does to us and how we treat people and how they treat us. So pretty much every song on the album has a face that I associate with it."[17]

Swift usually started writing by identifying a core emotion she wanted to convey through the melody on guitar. For other songs, she sometimes came up with the title first before writing the hook.[14] While some songs were inspired by Swift's personal relationships, she said that most songs were dramatized observations rather than real-life experiences: "I've gone through breakups and the core emotions behind them, but it doesn't take much to get that sort of emotion out in a song, luckily for me."[18] She explained that certain emotions on her songs such as frustration or heartbreak came easily without her actually going through emotional turmoil.[11] By July 2007, Swift had written as many as 75 songs.[14] She started recording the album as soon as she finished touring with George Strait.[19] Chapman, who produced Swift's debut, returned as producer,[20] and recording took place at studios in Tennessee, including six in Nashville and one in Franklin.[21]

 
Swift wrote and recorded the song "Breathe" with Colbie Caillat (pictured in 2011).

During the recording sessions, Swift emphasized the authenticity of the songs' emotional sentiments over technical rigidity: "I think it's the writer in me that's a little more obsessed with the meaning of the song than the vocal technique."[22] By March 2008, Swift had recorded six songs, including one co-written by and featuring Caillat, "Breathe";[11][23] Swift had used Caillat's 2007 song "Bubbly" as a reference point during the recording sessions, because of its simple arrangements and honest sentiments.[20] Apart from newly penned songs, Swift recorded a few that she had written for her debut album, believing there were stories that deserved to be put out.[11] Swift made her debut as a record producer, co-producing all tracks with Chapman.[24] The standard edition consists of thirteen tracks, which Swift had planned because she considered thirteen her lucky number.[14][25] Of the thirteen tracks, Swift wrote seven by herself; the remaining were co-written with Caillat, Rose, Rich, and Hillary Lindsey.[21] Recording finished in October 2008, when Swift completed the track "Forever & Always" just before Fearless was mastered and published.[22][26]

CompositionEdit

LyricsEdit

Like Swift's debut album, Fearless's prominent themes are love and life from a high school teenage girl's perspective.[15][27] The songs in Fearless examine those themes with a more nuanced and mature observation.[28] Swift embraced country music's narrative songwriting to convey her coming of age.[29][30] She wrote the track "Fifteen" during her freshman high school year in Hendersonville, Tennessee.[31] In the narrative, Swift and another girl named Abigail—her real-life high school friend—go through teenage love and heartbreak together.[28][32] As the song concludes, Swift realizes she could accomplish more than dating high school senior boys.[33] Music critics highlighted "Fifteen" as an example of Swift's songwriting about teenage themes, both with a starry-eyed innocence and a sense of nostalgia.[34][35][36]

Many of Fearless's songs are about starry-eyed romance and use imagery associated with fairy tales, such as princes and kissing in the rain.[15] The title track "Fearless" is Swift's imagination of a perfect first date, on which she is caught in her "best dress" in the rain.[37][38] "Love Story" was inspired by a love interest whom Swift's family and friends were not fond of.[31] The song's narrative is based on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.[39] Narrated from the perspective of Juliet, "Love Story" replaces the original's tragic conclusion with a happy ending.[40][41] The optimistic "Love Story" is contradicted by "White Horse", which was inspired by the same love interest.[42][43] In "White Horse", Swift is disillusioned that the love interest is not her ideal Prince Charming who could treat her like a princess after his unfaithfulness.[44] "Hey Stephen" is about Swift's hidden feelings for Stephen Barker Liles of Love and Theft, a country music band that had opened shows for her.[45] Heartbreak and emotional tumult are explored in songs such as "Tell Me Why", about an on-and-off relationship with an informal love interest; "You're Not Sorry", with lyrics describing an unfaithful man; "Forever & Always", inspired by Swift's breakup with singer Joe Jonas; and "Breathe", about a friendship breakup.[46][47]

Other songs were inspired by romantic relationships of Swift's friends.[42] Swift wrote "You Belong with Me" after overhearing a band member of hers speaking to his unsympathetic girlfriend over the phone.[48] Out of sympathy, she wrote a story in which the protagonist harbors feelings for an out-of-reach love interest.[49] The lyrics feature high school iconography, describing the protagonist as an ordinary girl "on the bleachers", and the antagonistic girlfriend as a popular cheer captain.[50][51] In "The Way I Loved You", Swift sings about her passionate feelings for a complicated ex-lover, despite her current relationship with a decent boyfriend.[52][53] Apart from romance, Fearless explores Swift's underdog perspective.[51] She dedicated "The Best Day" to her mother after they went shopping together because Swift was turned down by her schoolmates.[54][55] The lyrics of "Change"—the closing track of the standard edition—detail Swift's determination to succeed despite her underdog status as a singer from a small, independent record label in Nashville.[56] She finished writing "Change" the night she won the Horizon Award at the 2007 Country Music Association Awards.[55]

MusicEdit

Fearless follows the country styling of Swift's debut album.[16] A country pop record with elements of mainstream pop, it has a crossover appeal.[16][34][50] The tracks are characterized by instruments associated with country music such as fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and acoustic guitar, intertwined with dynamic electric guitar and strings in the build-up.[40][36][57] The production is consistent throughout: each song follows a formulaic verse-chorus-bridge structure and has a dramatic bridge, a stripped-down final verse, and a dramatic final refrain.[40][58][59]

Music critics commented extensively on the album's genre.[29] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic and Hazel Cills of Pitchfork asserted that Fearless is more pop than country; Cills wrote that the only country elements on Fearless are Swift's "faux-country accent" and "a few bits" of banjo and fiddle scattered throughout the songs.[34][51] In mainstream reviews, critics described Fearless as ranging from teen pop and pop rock to soft rock and folk, which attracts diverse listeners.[36][50][58] Swift responded to the critical debate: "[Whether] you tell stories about how you live on a farm and cherish your family and God, or whether you tell stories about being in high school and being cheated on, they're stories about your life. That's what makes me a country artist."[29]

Many of the songs contain radio-friendly pop hooks, demonstrated through tracks such as "Fearless", "Fifteen", "Love Story", "You Belong with Me", "Tell Me Why", "The Way I Loved You", and "Change".[58][60] Music scholar James E. Perone commented that the songs contain hints of country, pop, folk, and alternative rock with their instrumental mix.[27] On "You Belong with Me", in addition to a banjo-led country pop production, the instrumental incorporates new wave-inspired electric guitar;[59] Perone noted elements of 1980s new wave rock through the track's repeated eighth notes joined by fiddle, mandolin, and guitar.[61] "Tell Me Why" opens with country fiddles and, in the mix, incorporates 1990s alternative rock and hip hop-inspired syncopated drum beats and rock-inspired guitars.[61] The dynamic "The Way I Loved You" features distorted electric guitars with textual shifts that recall 1990s grunge.[61] Other tracks with a more balladic production also feature pop hooks, such as "White Horse" and "You're Not Sorry".[43][60] The standard edition's closing track, "The Best Day", features a stripped-down country rock production with guitar strums.[40][53][62]

Release and promotionEdit

PackagingEdit

Swift named the album Fearless inspired by the title track: "[Being] fearless doesn't mean you're completely unafraid and it doesn't mean that you're bulletproof. It means that you have a lot of fears, but you jump anyway."[63] All the songs on the album reflected her "fearless" attitude to embrace the hardships and challenges in love and life.[55][64] Swift was the booklet designer; Joseph Anthony Barker, Ash Newell, and Sheryl Nields were responsible for the photography; and Leen Ann Ramey designed the cover artwork.[21] The thirteen-track standard edition was released on November 11, 2008, by Big Machine Records.[65] An international edition, featuring three additional tracks—"Our Song", "Teardrops on My Guitar", and "Should've Said No"—was released on March 9, 2009, by Big Machine in partnership with Universal Music Group.[66]

Swift announced a reissue of Fearless, subtitled Platinum Edition, on September 10, 2009.[67] The reissue was released on October 26, 2009.[68] The Platinum Edition package includes a CD and a DVD; the CD features six additional songs—"Jump Then Fall", "Untouchable", "Forever & Always" (Piano Version), "Come in with the Rain", "SuperStar", and "The Other Side of the Door"—placed prior to the original tracks. The DVD comprises the music videos for "Change", "The Best Day", "Love Story", "White Horse", and "You Belong with Me"; behind-the-scenes footage for the latter three; behind-the-scene footage from the first concert of the Fearless Tour; and "Thug Story"—a video Swift filmed with rapper T-Pain exclusively for the 2009 CMT Music Awards.[67] "Untouchable" is a cover of rock band Luna Halo's 2007 song that had its lyrics and arrangement rewritten by Swift.[69]

MarketingEdit

 
Swift rehearsing "You Belong with Me" for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards; her acceptance speech for Best Female Video was interrupted by rapper Kanye West, which prompted widespread media coverage.[70]

On June 8, 2008, Swift performed songs from Fearless on Clear Channel's Stripped; the performance was recorded and included in the Platinum Edition reissue.[21] Prior to the album's commercial release, "Change" was made available via the iTunes Store on August 8 as a promotional single.[71] It was included on the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack, a compilation of songs played during the United States' participation in the 2008 Summer Olympics.[72] A digital campaign launched through the iTunes Store, called "Countdown to Fearless", featured one song released each week during the five weeks leading to the album's release.[73] "Breathe" was released as a promotional single exclusively via Rhapsody on October 21, 2008.[74]

Swift made many television appearances to promote Fearless throughout late 2008, performing on shows including The Ellen DeGeneres Show,[75] Good Morning America,[65] and Late Night with David Letterman.[76] A special CMT Crossroads episode featuring Swift and rock band Def Leppard singing each other's songs was recorded on October 6 at the Roy Acuff Theater in Nashville,[77] and aired on CMT on November 7, 2008.[78] Her performances at awards shows that year included the Country Music Association Awards and the American Music Awards.[76]

Besides live appearances, Swift used her MySpace account to promote to a young audience, sharing snippets of songs for streaming before they were released to radio, as she had done with her debut album.[9][79] She continued to appear on televised events through 2009, hosting Saturday Night Live,[80] and performing at awards shows including the 51st Annual Grammy Awards,[81] the CMT Music Awards,[82] and the Country Music Association Awards.[83] At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, rapper-producer Kanye West interrupted Swift's acceptance speech for winning Best Female Video with "You Belong with Me"—an incident known as "Kanyegate", which prompted many internet memes and media coverage.[70][84][85]

Five songs were released as singles from Fearless. The lead single, "Love Story", was released on September 15, 2008.[86] It peaked atop the Hot Country Songs, and was the first country song to reach number one on the Mainstream Top 40, a Billboard chart monitoring pop radio in the U.S.[87] The single peaked at number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100,[88] number two on the UK Singles Chart,[89] and was Swift's first number-one single in Australia.[90] The four remaining singles were "White Horse" (December 8, 2008),[91] "You Belong with Me" (April 18, 2009),[92] "Fifteen" (August 31, 2009),[93] and "Fearless" (January 3, 2010).[94] All four peaked within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100, with "You Belong with Me" peaking at number two as the highest-charting Fearless single,[88] and within the top ten of the Hot Country Songs, with "You Belong with Me" reaching number one.[note 3] "You Belong with Me", similar to "Love Story", was a crossover success.[20][96] The song was the first country song to top the all-genre Radio Songs chart, driven mostly by non-country airplay.[97][98]

TouringEdit

 
Swift performing on the Fearless Tour (pictured in 2010)

Swift announced the Fearless Tour, her first headlining tour, in January 2009. The tour started in Evansville, Indiana, on April 23, 2009, and visited the U.S. and Canada over six months. Prior to the Fearless Tour, Swift headlined three U.S. music festivals: the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in February 2009, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Florida Strawberry Festival in March 2009.[99] In October 2009, when the first North American leg finished, Swift announced a second North American leg beginning on March 4, 2010, in Tampa, Florida.[100] Outside North America, the Fearless Tour visited Australia and Japan in February 2010.[101] The tour was met with high demand, selling out tickets within minutes.[102] Swift wrapped up the Fearless Tour at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on June 5, 2010.[103] The tour grossed over $63 million and played to over 1.1 million fans.[104]

Commercial performanceEdit

Fearless was a commercial success in the U.S., setting many chart records and catapulting Swift to mainstream prominence.[20][105] It opened at number one on the Billboard 200 chart dated November 29, 2008, with first-week sales of 592,000 copies.[106] Spending eleven non-consecutive weeks at number one, the album registered the longest run atop the Billboard 200 of the 2000s,[87][107] and became the longest chart topper by a female country artist.[108][109] Thirteen album tracks (including from the Platinum Edition) peaked within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100, setting a record for the album with the most such entries.[110][note 4] Five tracks peaked within the top ten: "Fearless", "Love Story", "You Belong with Me", "Change", and "Jump then Fall".[note 5]

With 3.217 million copies sold in the United States throughout 2009, it was the year's best-selling album in the country. The achievement made Swift, then twenty years old, the youngest artist and the only female country musician to have a best-selling album of a calendar year.[112] It was the only album to spend its first full year in the top ten of the Billboard 200 of the 2000s decade, totaling fifty-eight weeks in the top ten, a record for a country musician.[113][114] On the Top Country Albums chart, Fearless spent thirty-five weeks at number one.[115] The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified Fearless diamond in December 2017, recognizing ten million units based on sales and stream.[116] By October 2020, the album had sold 7.21 million copies in the U.S.[117]

Fearless marked Swift's first international chart success, peaking atop the charts of Canada and New Zealand.[118][119] It peaked within the top five of the charts in Australia (number two),[120] Scotland (number four),[121] and Norway and the U.K. (number five).[122][123] The album received multi-platinum certifications in multiple English-speaking countries, including double platinum by both the Irish Recording Music Association (IRMA) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI),[124][125] triple platinum by Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ),[126] four times platinum by Music Canada,[127] and seven times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[128] In Asia, Fearless was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ)[129] and platinum by the Recording Industry Association Singapore (RIAS).[130] As of April 2021, the album had sold twelve million copies worldwide.[131]

Critical receptionEdit

Contemporaneous professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic73/100[132]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[note 6]     [134]
Blender     [37]
Entertainment WeeklyB[49]
The Guardian     [36]
MSN Music (Consumer Guide)A−[135]
The Observer     [136]
Q     [137]
Rolling Stone     [58]
Slant Magazine     [60]
USA Today    [138]

Fearless received generally positive reviews from music critics.[15] On Metacritic, which assigns an aggregated score out of 100 to reviews in mainstream publications, the album earned a score of 73, based on fourteen reviews.[132]

Many critics lauded Swift's songwriting craftsmanship.[15] Reviews published in The Boston Globe,[40] Blender,[37] Entertainment Weekly,[49] The Village Voice,[33] and USA Today remarked that Fearless was an honest and vulnerable record contrasting with albums by other teenage singers, thanks to Swift's self-penned songs.[138] Other reviews from AllMusic,[34] Billboard,[35] and The Observer deemed the lyrics mature for her age.[136] In MSN Music, Robert Christgau found the album's romantic idealism distasteful, but lauded Swift's songwriting skills as remarkable for a teenage artist.[135] Jonathan Keefe from Slant Magazine was less enthusiastic; he acknowledged the songs were well-written, but felt they fell short of refinement.[60]

Some critics praised Fearless's crossover appeal. AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine and The Boston Globe's James Reed remarked that the album straddles the perceived boundary between country and pop; the former called it "one of the best mainstream pop albums of 2008".[34][40] In Rolling Stone, Jody Rosen hailed Swift as a "songwriting savant with an intuitive gift for the verse-chorus-bridge architecture".[58] Christgau commented that the songs are effective partly because of "the musical restraint of a strain of Nashville bigpop that avoids muscle-flexing rockism".[135]

Other reviewers were not impressed with the album's production. Chris Richards of The Washington Post commended the radio-friendly tunes, but felt that the production is repetitive overall.[59] Keefe noted that Swift's weak vocals blemish the album with occasional breath controls and nasal tones.[60] Alexis Petridis, reviewing Fearless for the British newspaper The Guardian, found the American press's praise for Swift surprising. Petridis acknowledged her songwriting skills, but found the album "bland and uninventive", which left the audience "wondering if the world really needs any more music like this".[36] The British magazine Q wrote: "Her giggly peers will find she speaks their language, while grown-ups will prefer her to keep quiet."[137]

AccoladesEdit

Fearless featured on 2008 year-end lists by the Associated Press (7th),[139] Blender (32nd),[140] Rolling Stone (39th),[141] and The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop (58th);[142] and 2009 year-end list by The Guardian (40th).[143] The most awarded country music album in history,[144] it won Album of the Year at both the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards and the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards in 2009.[145][146] It was awarded as the Top Selling Album by the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) twice in a row, in 2009 and 2010.[147] At the American Music Awards of 2009, Fearless won Favorite Country Album and was nominated for Favorite Pop/Rock Album.[148][149] Its other accolades included a Teen Choice Award for Choice Female Album,[150] a Sirus XM Indie Award for International Album of the Year,[151] and a Juno Award nomination for International Album of the Year.[152]

At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in February 2010, Fearless won Album of the Year and Best Country Album.[153] The Album of the Year made Swift, then twenty years old, the youngest artist to win the award, a record she held until the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2020.[note 7] Swift is the second country music artist to win the three highest awards for a country music album by the ACM, the CMA, and the Grammys, and the first to further win the Grammy for Album of the Year for the same album.[note 8] "White Horse" won two Grammy Awards that year, for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song.[156]

LegacyEdit

Fearless [...] has endured – not so much for the banjos and mandolins Swift geared to country radio, but for its teen-pop tension between happy-ending romances and bitter reflections on youthful naïveté, neatly chiseled into Swift's terse lyrics.

Jon Pareles, The New York Times (2021)[157]

Fearless's critical and commercial successes established Swift as a mainstream star beyond the country music scene.[158] Though Swift identified as a country music artist, the crossover success of the singles "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me" proved her capability of becoming a pop star, which happened with the release of her fifth studio album 1989 (2014).[105][159] Perone remarked that Fearless moved Swift's status from a "singer-songwriter prodigy to singer-songwriter superstar".[160] In addition to Swift's musicianship, Perone attributed the album's commercial success to her marketing strategy; with enhanced bonus material for the CD instead of download, Fearless became "indicative of a 21st century marketing trend in CD recordings".[64]

Swift's songwriting on Fearless cemented her trademark confessional narratives.[161][162][163] Writing for Slate, critic Carl Wilson dubbed this technique "Swiftian", presenting her as a capable songwriter and breaking the industry notion that women are "far more a phenomenon of commerce than one of art".[164] In a 2019 retrospective review of the album for Pitchfork, Cills commented that Fearless was a testament to Swift's abilities of writing timeless songs, noting the album's simplicity and earnestness. She remarked that amidst sexualized teen idols, "there was something novel about Swift being a teenager and writing about her reality in her own terms coming into that same mainstream space, redefining what 'teen pop' could sound like in the process".[51] Other retrospective reviews attributed the album's enduring popularity to songs about universal feelings—heartbreak, frustration, first love, and aspirations.[165][166][167] It placed number 99 on NPR's 2017 list of "The 150 Greatest Albums Made by Women" selected by critics.[168]

Swift began re-recording her first six studio albums, including Fearless, in November 2020.[169] The decision came after a public dispute between her and talent manager Scooter Braun, who acquired the masters of Swift's first six studio albums—which Swift had been trying to buy for years—following her departure from Big Machine Records in November 2018.[170][171] The re-recording of Fearless, subtitled Taylor's Version, was released on April 9, 2021, through Republic Records. The Taylor's Version feature all tracks from the Platinum Edition, the Valentine's Day soundtrack single "Today Was a Fairytale" (2010), and six unreleased "From the Vault" tracks.[172] Following the release of Fearless (Taylor's Version), the original reappeared on albums charts of several European countries, reaching a new peak at number two in Austria,[173] Germany,[174] and Norway,[175] and number three in Switzerland.[176]

Track listingEdit

Credits are adapted from album's liner notes.[177] Except where noted, all tracks are written by Taylor Swift, and produced by Swift and Nathan Chapman.

Fearless – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Fearless"4:01
2."Fifteen" 4:54
3."Love Story" 3:55
4."Hey Stephen" 4:14
5."White Horse"
  • Swift
  • Rose
3:54
6."You Belong with Me"
  • Swift
  • Rose
3:51
7."Breathe" (featuring Colbie Caillat)
  • Swift
  • Caillat
4:23
8."Tell Me Why"
  • Swift
  • Rose
3:20
9."You're Not Sorry" 4:21
10."The Way I Loved You"4:03
11."Forever & Always" 3:45
12."The Best Day" 4:05
13."Change" 4:40
Total length:53:41
Fearless – International edition[66]
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
14."Our Song" (international mix) 3:21
15."Teardrops on My Guitar" (international mix)
  • Swift
  • Rose
3:15
16."Should've Said No" (international mix) 4:08
Fearless: Platinum Edition – CD
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Jump then Fall" 3:56
2."Untouchable"
5:11
3."Forever & Always" (piano version) 4:27
4."Come In with the Rain"
  • Swift
  • Rose
3:58
5."Superstar"
  • Swift
  • Rose
4:21
6."The Other Side of the Door" 3:57
7."Fearless"
  • Swift
  • Rose
  • Lindsey
4:01
8."Fifteen" 4:54
9."Love Story" 3:55
10."Hey Stephen" 4:14
11."White Horse"
  • Swift
  • Rose
3:54
12."You Belong with Me"
  • Swift
  • Rose
3:51
13."Breathe" (featuring Colbie Caillat)
  • Swift
  • Caillat
4:23
14."Tell Me Why"
  • Swift
  • Rose
3:20
15."You're Not Sorry" 4:21
16."The Way I Loved You"
  • Swift
  • Rich
4:04
17."Forever & Always" 3:45
18."The Best Day" 4:05
19."Change" 4:40
Total length:79:19
Fearless: Platinum Edition – DVD[67]
No.TitleDirector(s)Length
1."Change" (music video)Shawn Robbins3:47
2."The Best Day" (music video)Swift4:34
3."Love Story" (music video)Trey Fanjoy3:54
4."White Horse" (music video)Fanjoy4:03
5."You Belong with Me" (music video)Roman White4:37
6."Love Story" (behind the scenes) 22:00
7."White Horse" (behind the scenes) 22:00
8."You Belong with Me" (behind the scenes) 20:45
9."Fearless Tour 2009 Photo Gallery"  
10."Fearless Tour 2009 First Show Behind the Scenes" 10:41
11."CMT Awards Thug Story" (featuring T-Pain)Peter Zavadil1:26

Notes:

  • "Untouchable" is a reworked version of Luna Halo's "Untouchable" (2007), written by Cary Barlowe, Nathan Barlowe, and Tommy Lee James.[69]
  • The three bonus tracks on the international version ("Our Song", "Teardrops on My Guitar", and "Should've Said No") are produced by Chapman only.[66]

PersonnelEdit

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[21]

ChartsEdit

Decade-end chartsEdit

2000s decade-end chart positions for Fearless
Chart (2000–2009) Position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[221] 87
US Billboard 200[222] 56
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[223] 10
2010s decade-end chart positions for Fearless
Chart (2010–2019) Position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[224] 55
US Billboard 200[225] 98
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[226] 31

All-time chartsEdit

All-time chart positions for Fearless
Chart (1963–2015) Position
US Billboard 200[227] 4
US Billboard 200 (Women)[228] 2

Certifications and salesEdit

Sales certifications for Fearless, with pure sales where available
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[128] 7× Platinum 500,000[note 10]
Austria (IFPI Austria)[230] Gold 10,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[127] 4× Platinum 320,000^
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[231] Platinum 20,000 
GCC (IFPI Middle East)[232] Gold 3,000*
Germany (BVMI)[233] Gold 100,000 
Ireland (IRMA)[124] 2× Platinum 30,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[129] Gold 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[126] 3× Platinum 45,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[234] Gold 15,000*
Singapore (RIAS)[130] Platinum 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[125] 2× Platinum 600,000 
United States (RIAA)[116] Diamond 7,210,000[note 11]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ On the Platinum Edition cover, the background behind Swift is black, and Swift's logo is silver. The standard edition used outside North America uses an alternative cover with a different image, a glow on Swift's logo, and a smaller text on "Fearless".
  2. ^ Swift admired Crow for her "candidness, ... how she tells it like it is, but still is vulnerable". Speaking on Paisley, Swift said: "He can write something so touching it can make you cry, and then he can make you laugh so hard that you can't breathe."[14]
  3. ^ "White Horse", "Fifteen", and "Fearless" peaked at numbers two, seven, and ten, respectively.[95]
  4. ^ For details about which songs peaked within the top forty, see Taylor Swift singles discography
  5. ^ This made Fearless the first album since Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. (1984) to have five top-ten hits with none reaching number one.[111]
  6. ^ Upon release, AllMusic gave Fearless a four stars rating.[132] The site reassessed the album with a four and a half stars rating since at least 2012,[133] and awarded the album a five stars rating in 2018.[134]
  7. ^ The record was surpassed when Billie Eilish won Album of the Year at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards when she was eighteen years old.[154]
  8. ^ The Dixie Chicks are the first artist to win the three highest awards for a country music album by the ACM, CMA, and the Grammys (but lost the Grammy for Album of the Year) for their 1999 album Fly.[155]
  9. ^ The chart positions listed below coincided with the release of the 2021 re-recording Fearless (Taylor's Version). In Austria, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland, the sales performance of the original Fearless was combined with that of Fearless (Taylor's Version).
  10. ^ As of December 2017[229]
  11. ^ As of October 2020[117]

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SourcesEdit