Taylor Swift releases four songs to kick off “The Eras Tour”


Vassili Prokopenko

Taylor Swift released four songs at midnight before her debut of “The Eras Tour” on March 17.

By Sadie Goldberg

The opening night of Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” has garnered quite the spectacle. After Glendale’s mayor temporarily renamed the Arizona city to “Swift City, Era-Zona” to honor its selection to host the tour’s opening night, it seemed like there was nothing left to do but wait.

But Swift notoriously likes to upset expectations. She released not one, but two surprise albums during quarantine, and became the first ever artist to occupy all top ten spots on the Billboard Hot 100 after the release of “Midnights.”

Yesterday, Swift announced four releases for today at midnight: “Eyes Open (Taylor’s Version),” “If This was a Movie (Taylor’s Version),” “Safe & Sound (Taylor’s Version)” and “All of the Girls You Loved Before.”

The original versions of “Eyes Open” and “Safe & Sound” were part of the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games,” while “If This was a Movie” came from her third studio album, “Speak Now.” Unless you listened to the leaked version earlier this week, “All of the Girls You Loved Before” is an entirely new listen that she’s been holding onto from her 2019 album “Lover.”

Swift possibly chose to release these songs now to avoid performing stolen versions — any songs still held by Big Machine Records — on tour. As for “All of the Girls You Loved Before,” the leak likely expedited its release, although some fans speculate that Swift leaked it herself. Fans are already questioning if Swift will keep this trend going for the rest of the tour, releasing a new group of songs each week before every show.

Whether this was a one-off release or the beginning of a pattern, listeners cannot deny the scintillating quality of the songs. “If This Was a Movie (Taylor’s Version)” takes on a new, fuller sound, with increased instrumentals that are complemented by Swift’s more mature voice. “Safe & Sound (Taylor’s Version)” brings back a feature from the now-disbanded “The Civil Wars.” While the song stays an eerie, painful lullaby like the original, there are also slight changes, like the addition of extra guitar and a louder vocal sound. While subtle, these shifts create a more emotional, personal listening experience. The changes to “Eyes Open,” however, are clear from the moment Swift starts singing. While the original evolves from a timid intro to a passionate outcry, Taylor’s Version begins with a quiet yet defiant tone that keeps building with the support of intense rock elements. 

Of course, one of the most obvious changes with every re-recording is Swift’s voice. For all three of these songs, it’s been over a decade since their release, and in that time, Swift’s voice has strengthened. She has been a great singer since her debut, but growth is inevitable for any artist who has stayed on top for this long. And instead of trying to replicate her old sound, Swift embraces this growth with every new re-recording. Listening to a “Taylor’s Version” often feels like seeing your favorite songs reach their fullest potential, and these three are no different.

As for the just released “All of the Girls You Loved Before,” it’s wistful sound and heartfelt message hint that Swift wrote it at the same time as “Lover.” Like the name of the album implies, this vault track is a mature love song, with a similar sound to that of other tracks like “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” and “Cornelia Street.” “All of the Girls You Loved Before” is an excellent addition to an already excellent album, with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it poetic lines like “Your past and mine are parallel lines, stars all aligned, and they intertwined.” 

For now, fans must be content with waiting to see which, if any, of these songs Swift will perform tonight in “Swift City” and on the rest of her tour.