Taylor Swift drops four surprise bangers

The dawn of the Eras Tour brings re-recordings and an unreleased track

Fair use from Republic Records

Fair use from Republic Records

Modesty Manion

Taylor Swift is no stranger to surprise music releases. So on March 16, the night before the first show of her Eras Tour, Swift dropped four surprise singles. The songs were written for three of her past albums, “Fearless,” “Red” and “Lover,” but were all cut from the initial releases. Because of this, the songs were not released as an EP or as singles, but rather they were added to their respective albums, making it harder for fans to find the songs at midnight. But, once they found them, fans took to TikTok to rave about both the songs and their anticipation for the Eras Tour.

“Eyes Open (Taylor’s Version):” ★★★★★

This song is by far my favorite of the four. The song came from the 2012 “Hunger Games” soundtrack (although it is not featured in the film), and is now considered part of “Red (Taylor’s Version).” The chorus has an almost pop punk sound to it, with a guitar riff reminiscent of one of the Eras Tour openers, Paramore. The lyrics of the song are based around the “Hunger Games” narrative, and what it’s like to be a tribute in the Hunger Games. Swift talks about how the Capitol watches over the tributes at all times so they are never truly alone or safe, singing, “Everybody’s waiting, everybody’s watching, even when you’re sleeping, keep your eyes open.” She goes on to talk about how Katniss and Peeta went from being kids dreaming about epic battles to warriors who have to watch their backs at all times. Considering how fitting the song is for “The Hunger Games,” I wish it would’ve been used in the movie rather than just on the soundtrack album. On a more universal level, “Eyes Open (Taylor’s Version)” is about feeling like you have to keep your guard up at all times. Because of this, this song could also be utilized on a coming-of-age movie soundtrack.

“Safe and Sound (Taylor’s Version):” ★★★☆☆

This song was also originally released on the “Hunger Games” soundtrack. Both of these songs were recorded so that Swift has the rights to the songs, as they were recorded before her management changed and she doesn’t have the rights to the originals. “Safe and Sound (Taylor’s Version)” is supposed to be Katniss telling her younger sister Primrose that everything is going to be ok. In the chorus, Swift sings, “You’ll be alright, no one can hurt you know, come morning light, you and I’ll be safe and sound.” Most of the song is just acoustic guitar and snare drum accompanied by Swift’s vocals, along with that of Joy Williams and John Paul White. This works with the lyrics and the message to create a calm, yet melancholic feeling. Although I liked this song, it was a bit repetitive and lacked some depth in the lyrics. This makes sense since it is from a movie soundtrack, but I would expect more from Taylor.

“If This Was A Movie (Taylor’s Version):” ★★★★☆

The release of “If This Was A Movie (Taylor’s Version)” confused me the most. Unlike the other songs, “If This Was A Movie (Taylor’s Version)” is not from a movie soundtrack and is not a previously unreleased song. The original release of the song was on the deluxe version of Swift’s third album, “Speak Now.” However, the rerelease is under “Fearless (Taylor’s Version).” This could be because Swift has yet to rerecord “Speak Now,” but why would she re-release this single song outside of the rest of the album? Furthermore, why would she consider it part of a different album? Technicalities aside, “If This Was A Movie (Taylor’s Version)” sounds very much like early Taylor. There is a mixture of violin, acoustic and electric guitar and strong shifts in tone between the choruses and verses. The lyrics talk about being in a fight and wishing the other person would do the things that happen in romantic movies. Even though the couple broke up a long time ago, Swift talks about having fantasies of them coming back, singing, “Come back, come back, come back to me like, you would, you would if this was a movie, stand in the rain outside ’til I came out.” This is not the first time Taylor Swift has sung about standing in the rain — see: “How You Get the Girl,” “The Way I Loved You (Taylor’s Version),” “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” etc. It’s also not the first example of Swift dreaming about big, romantic gestures. Because of this, I found a lot of similarities between the messaging and lyrics of “If This Was A Movie (Taylor’s Version)” and “The Other Side of the Door (Taylor’s Version).” However, because “If This Was A Movie (Taylor’s Version)” is about Swift’s wishes that her love life was more like a movie, I find it delusionally relatable and makes me like it that much more.

“All Of The Girls You Loved Before:” ★★★★★

Originally intended for the album “Lover,” “All Of The Girls You Loved Before” is a song about how a person’s past relationships shape who they are. Swift sings about how she is grateful for the girls that her partner used to love, as they taught him things about love that he now applies to his relationship with Swift. She sings, “Your past and mine are parallel lines, stars all aligned and they intertwined, and taught you, the way you call me ‘baby,’ treat me like a lady,” expressing how both Swift’s and her partner’s pasts led them to each other. They both grew from past relationships, and that growth is what makes them work in the present. The song itself is very poppy, accented by Swift’s strong vocals, making it perfect for “Lover.” The reason why the song wasn’t included isn’t known and a little confusing, especially considering it was made under Swift’s new management so it’s not a ‘Taylor’s Version.’ Personally, I think this would’ve been a great addition to the original tracklist.