Taylor Swift Revisits the Lyric on “Speak Now (Taylor Version)”

Speak Now, as of 2010, was Taylor Swift’s third studio album, and is now the third to be re-released as a re-recorded “Taylor Version”. But all the while, the album was a declaration of independence: It was the first album she wrote entirely on her own, as a rebuttal to the critics—perhaps like the one she shortened to the sugary, spicy “Mean”—who suggested Swift’s involvement—the writers had more of a say in her earlier successes than she had left. “Speak Now” remains one of Swift’s best and most recognizable albums: The line “I’m made a rebel out of a careless man’s eager daughter,” from the chorus of the groovy opening track “Mine,” is often taken as an example of Swift’s lyricism at its most experienced brief.

But Speak Now is an album full of excesses, too; Some are glorious—like the epic kissing of “Dear John” or the romantic grandeur of “Enchanted”—and some are original artifacts of the somewhat myopic sensibility of a 19-year-old. The hard-pressing “Mean” is guilty of this, as is the acid rocker “Better Than Revenge,” which has the most noticeably revised lyrics on “Taylor’s Version.” “It was a moth on a flame, it carried matches,” Swift sings in this 2023 update, a lyric that’s more clumsy and less direct than the original: “She’s best known for the things she does on the mattress.” The change is unfortunate, and perhaps the beginning of a slippery slope of self-liberation. The earlier lyric was hateful and full of dignity, yes, but it was also a landmark document of Swift’s view at the age of 19, and that of many young women who grow up in a misogynistic society, who are taught to blame the other girl before they learn to blame the other girl. How do you curse “Patriarchy”. Lindsay Zoladz

First Aid Kit is a duo of Swedish sisters, Joanna and Clara Soderbergh, who have vocal harmonies so perfect it can sound unreal. They well studied the Laurel Canyon folk-pop of the 1970s, with its bright, delicately blended acoustic and acoustic guitar. “Everybody’s Got to Learn” from the extended version of 2022 album “Palomino” sounds like fatherly advice from Fleetwood Mac. Over serious folksy guitars and what grows into a girl-group megabeat, the song reflects on the stumbles that lead to maturity — “The blues and the bliss / You’ll hit and miss” — and promises, “You’ll see this through.” John Pareles

The latest discovery from Prince’s vault is “All a Share Together Now”, a song he recorded in 2006 but was never released in any way. Prince sings about generational responsibilities — “The debts of those who went before us must be paid” — in a taut, bone-funk exercise built around a thumping bass. Live drums rumble throughout and note-bending guitar evokes terse licks that are at once driving and percussive. It’s a sermon disguised as a jam. parallel

Rauw Alejandro’s new album, “Playa Saturno,” returns to the electronic experiments of his 2022 album, “Saturno,” in favor of earthy, party-ready reggae. But on “Cuando Baje el Sol” (“When the Sun Goes Down”), Alejandro and co complicate the reggae throw with plenty of spatial and sonic mischief. Sampled and distorted vocals, echo devices, turntable scratching and volcanic percussion all bounce around on its promises of hot times after sunset. parallel

Is Taking Shape—the latest album by guitarist Kaisa Mäensivu and her quintet, Kaisa’s Machine—a journal, or a workbook? Original tunes like “Shadow Mind” (a light-hearted ballad) and “Eat Dessert First” (the yearning, final LP track) suggest a motive of confession, but can’t help highlighting Mansifu’s instrumental chops and compositional tactics. When magic takes the wheel—especially in jazz, and especially today—the sound underneath it can end up in the trunk. Mäensivu deserves credit for seeking a healthy balance. “Gravity” is the only song on the album that doesn’t feature piano, lowering the volume of this band of young aces to bass, drums, guitar and vibraphone. Moving into a quick nine-beat syllable, Mäensivu’s vocal line winks solidly in a minor key, relaxing you into an expanse of feeling before the melody’s harmonic center begins to shift. Giovanni Rossonello

The title is a survivor’s candid, ostensibly lament about living in a time of ecological collapse: “I don’t want to witness,” Anoni cries, “seeing all this coercion, agonizing, of our world.” But in the vein of Anohni and the Johnsons’ insightful new album “My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross” — which features a portrait of the band’s namesake, gay activist Marsha B. Johnson, on its cover – this question is also haunted by the ghosts of the gay community. By the end of this sad, loose soul song, Anoni finds a hopeful answer to that titular question: She’s here to tell these stories, to call attention to these causes, and to sing this song. ZOLADZ

“Glowing in the dark to find streams of stars to savor,” Little Dragon’s Yuki Nagano sings, amidst swirling, shimmering sounds of intense ecstasy. Halfway through, inexplicably, Damon Albarn comes from a different dimension, rambling, with his apology for being “under the influence of crippling eyes.” After offering a bit of heft, he disappears into the downloading vortex and Nagano returns, still glowing and completely unfazed. parallel

Vito Paez, Argentina’s most famous rock singer – and perpetually eccentric – decided to remake all the songs on his final 1992 album, “El Amor Después el Amor” (“Love After Love”), three decades after the album “EADDA9223” joined Their duet partners include Elvis Costello, Nathy Peluso, and Marisa Monte. “Sasha, Sissi y el Círculo de Baba” – a tale of passion and crime – uses a burly disco-funk guitar in 1992. But the new version – exchanging vocals with dynamic, flamboyant Chilean Beltre Mon Laferte – reveals the old bolero design of the song. With the guitar laden with reverbs and the trumpet blaring, Páez and Laferte enjoy the drama together. parallel

Australian electronic music producer Flume is usually paired with bouncy strings harmonized with a bit of noise. But the track he brings to Australian rapper Tkai Midza is pure irritation: sizzling, distorted, crunchy beats, and a drone that elicits dissonance. Maidza tops it off with quick, sly bravado and knocking, racing through lines like “I’m a jigsaw puzzle, not a quick fix” and “I’m tactical, no attachments / I do it for passion.” From any angle, it’s combative. parallel

Polly Jean Harvey meticulously crafted the narrative, sound and language – based on the local dialect of Dorset, where she grew up – for I’m Inside the Old World, her first album since 2016’s Electronics. Her vocals are loud and intimidating, almost devoid of flesh. On “Lwonesome Tonight,” she sings about meeting a charismatic mystic: “Are you Elvis? Are you God?/ Jesus sent you, earn my trust,” she sings, ultimately left wondering: “My love, will you come again?”

Over the past quarter-century, the Brian Blade Fellowship has become more like a frat than a band, assembling a repertoire of original music that will stand the test of time along with an unmistakable sound: a blend of country, jazz, and gospel that exudes a sense of choral warmth. , although no vocals were used. But beyond that, they’ve countered (and essentially outlived) some of the more insidious tendencies in jazz: When many great improvisers seemed to reconcile themselves to a future in which the public might become an afterthought, Blade and Fellowship had no time for that. . The group’s fifth album, “Kings Highway,” opens with “Until We Meet Again,” a slowly seductive Blade original that references William J. Toomer Hymn; It ends with “God Be With You,” a short, elegant rendition of Tomer’s own piece. We can only hope that these farewell titles tell us nothing about the fellowship’s future. Rossonello