Don’t be shocked if you find yourself crooning along to “Bye byyyye, babyyyyy” in the hour after first hearing the final “From The Vault” song on the Fearless (Taylor’s Version) track list. “Bye Bye Baby” is yet another catchy-as-hell kiss-off from Swift, but this one hits its stride its second half, when the production drops out and Swift morphs the chorus into a mantra for her own benefit: “Bye bye, to everything I thought was on my side.”
5. That’s When feat. Keith Urban
Taylor Swift spent part of her Fearless album era opening for Keith Urban on tour; over a decade later, Urban has joined forces with Swift for “That’s When,” the only proper duet of the six “From The Vault” songs. Despite being a post-breakup song, “That’s When” offers a dose of levity, as the pair of country pros hammer out their differences over unfussy pop production and then join together for some giddy harmonizing.
4. You All Over Me feat. Maren Morris
The guitars, fiddles and harmonica on “You All Over Me” all harken back to Swift’s country beginnings, but the lyrical focus on the Maren Morris collaboration truly demonstrates what set the singer-songwriter apart at a young age. Swift can’t get over an ex, his memory imprinted on every piece of her surroundings; this feeling is gracefully acknowledged and captured in glistening detail, with Morris backing up Swift’s admission that “no amount of freedom gets you clean.”
“Oh, I hate those voices telling me I'm not in love anymore,” Swift sings on the crucial bridge to “We Were Happy,” a quiet reflection of a romance that wasn’t perfect, marked by a chiming guitar and a vocal performance oscillating between nostalgia and guilt. The care that Swift takes in that performance lifts “We Were Happy” off the ground, as she looks back on the relationship’s high points and pleads with herself to find a way back.
2. Mr. Perfectly Fine
A perfect pop eye-roll: “Mr. Perfectly Fine” is not so much a testament of heartbreak as much as a declaration against an annoying dude, with Swift brushing off an ex whose phoniness was able to upend her most naive self. Along with sonic similarities to Swift’s Fearless and Speak Now eras -- listen to the punch of those country-pop drums! -- “Mr. Perfectly Fine” lets Swift pay homage to some of her grandest breakup songs, as back-to-back lines in the chorus reference “All Too Well” and “Dear John,” respectively.
1. Don’t You
If you entered Fearless (Taylor’s Version) searching for a synthesis of the country-pop writing charm that defined Swift’s early albums and the ultra-confident song construction of her most recent works, “Don’t You,” an unreleased track from the Fearless era that has been given a modern facelift by Swift and Jack Antonoff, represents the most satisfying version of that amalgam. While the running-into-an-ex storytelling and clever lyricism fit snugly into the project that made Swift a superstar, the sonic landscape -- keyboards, electric guitars, drums that stack upon each other -- and Swift’s yearning, dazzlingly sophisticated performance elevate “Don’t You” in 2021.