How Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ Became the ‘Scary’ Version

Rachel Hunter couldn’t wait to play her new vinyl recording of Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now.”

After waiting weeks for it to arrive, Ms. Hunter placed the orchid-colored vinyl with Ms. Swift’s face centered on her record player, raised the needle and let it play. But instead of Ms. Swift’s catchy choruses, acoustic guitar and banjo chords, another woman’s voice came out.

“I stopped seeing people,” said a voice echoing, with no background music, “I stopped looking at chips and dancing.”

Ms. Hunter thought maybe something was wrong with Speed, or maybe it was one of Ms. Swift’s infamous Easter eggs. I turned the record over to the other side, but it got weirder.

“70 billion people on earth, where are they hiding?” A strange man’s voice said again and again.

“It was a little scary. I was on my own,” Ms. Hunter recalls. “I thought, Is this a horror movie? Because it just doesn’t feel like real life, especially when you’re expecting Taylor Swift.”

The registry was not inhabited. It was just British electronic music.

Universal Music Group, which represents Taylor Swift, and Above Board Distribution, a small British label, use the same printing plant in France. But instead of pressing Ms. Swift’s “Speak Now” album, Factory mistakenly pressed “Happy Land,” a compilation of British electronica from the ’90s, onto purple vinyl and put it in a “Speak Now” jacket.

The first song Mrs. Hunter heard was “True romance‘, which comprises over 11 minutes of electronica by Thunderhead, the second being ‘Soul vineA deep track by Cabaret Voltaire, one of the most influential groups in the genre.

This revelation did not come until after Mrs. Hunter She posted about her experience on TikTok: “Is there a ‘Speak Now’ vinyl for anyone else that doesn’t have Taylor Swift on?” she asked. The video has been viewed over four million times.

Now she’s fending off offers of $250 a record. Her video started a lengthy discussion about reviews, an online music database, is among collectors hoping to find another copy. Cabaret Voltaire lovers have it Reimagining vinyl band sleeves With the names of Ms Swift’s albums. even one Ms. Swift mashed “All Too Well” with Cabaret Voltaire’s song “Nag Nag Nag”.

In a statement, Universal said it was “aware that there are a very limited number of incorrectly pressed vinyl copies in circulation and has addressed the issue,” adding that if customers receive an incorrectly printed vinyl, they should contact their retailer.

Ms. Hunter, who bought the album through Ms. Swift’s official UK store, ordered a new copy but did not receive it until Friday.

Above Board managing director Dan Hill said the label had printed a few hundred “Happy Land” records, and assumed the stamper was accidentally left on the machine and used for the “Speak Now” discs.

“What went into making this record is kind of like making a cake — they mixed the ingredients,” he said, adding that typos happened from time to time, including with albums from Beyonce And the Beatles, “But maybe not with this profile.”

Mr. Hale thinks there may be at least one more compelling man in the world like Mrs. Hunter. He’s looking as hard as the next record collector.

“This is a complete Willy Wonka-style golden ticket. If someone had one, it could be worth thousands,” he said. “But no one knows how far they are.”

Joe Mages, British music writer who reviewed the “Happy Land” reissue Writing in online magazine The Quietus earlier this spring, he said the tracks came from a variety of genres, including heavy reggae, industrial, and electronic, which come together to produce a “very psychedelic kind of sound” that was emblematic of the ’90s.

He said, “That’s what makes the music on this album really exciting, its ability to still be intimidating when someone hears it out of the blue.”

“Cabaret Voltaire” is one of the darker songs, he said, but many of the songs were “right-pop” and were “very funky; there’s a lot of melody in there”.

“The fact that TikTok is going to spew out these random things leaves the window open for magic in terms of changing people’s tastes or starting small fires,” said Mr Muggs.

That’s exactly what Stephen Mallinder, founding member of Cabaret Voltaire, is hoping for. Cabaret Voltaire always appeals to new audiences, he said, but being kicked off by a Ms. Swift audience “is a different kind of magnitude”.

“It’s captured everyone’s imagination because it’s a culture clash of great proportions,” said Mr. Mallender, adding, “If we can take some of it and turn it into electronic things, club games, then good for me.”