Power of Nostalgia – A Taylor Swift Fandom Exploration

Arenas filled with screaming fans looking up at their curly-haired, costume switching teen idol, Taylor Swift, is how the Fearless era started off in 2009. 2021 brought the return of the album that made Swift a worldwide phenomenon although, with a little twist. ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’, is completely owned by the legendary 31-year-old and gives life to six songs that were previously captured in her vault of unreleased masterpieces. In the 12 years between, her original fans grew up alongside her, and countless others have joined. Taylor Swift is no longer a country-pop sweetheart but a genre-bending icon.

Swift, who started her re-recording journey with ‘Fearless’ instead of her self-titled debut puzzled some fans at first but to Amy Williams, a fan who became enamoured with the hit-singer through ‘Love Story’s original run it is all clear “it feels as though we’ve come full circle and the fans that have been with her for years are getting to relive their childhood/teenage years again,”, she says. Nostalgia is the overpowering emotion that is instilled in nearly every single one of the people gracing their attention to ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’. A feeling egged on by Swift and her team with throwback secret messages, copious amounts of bootleg merch featured on her webshop and tear-inducing lyric videos.

Throughout the years, the public opinion about the now-iconic-artist has changed from being America’s Sweetheart to a slut to a snake and finally with the turn of ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ an appreciated force in the music industry. And although many of these terms were led by the music industry being dominated by misogynistic values, often the society surrounding it followed quickly. Therefore, Lena Maria also noticed some big changes to how Swift and her fandom was looked at, “when I was younger I got ridiculed for liking Taylor and now I feel like I am in a very accepting and positive environment.” The discourse of hate never faltered her loyal fanbase as Swift has provided comfort for the massive amount of people that have been enamoured with her since the start and as Giselle Libby puts it “Taylor Swift is the common tie throughout my whole life. Her music defines the timeline of my life and she influenced me to pursue a career in music.”

‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’, proves yet again that she is not just another person in a long line of pop acts, but that she is as amazing as a songwriter as she is at creating personal connections with every single soul who is touched by her music. Brittany, who has followed and loved Swift for a long time describes the way she was drawn in by the 31-year-old, “With each album, it was just like, a deeper appreciation for it all. It was a gradual progression but ‘Speak Now’ was a special album for me personally  and through time I have realised that a lot of my closest friends are the people I got to know because of her.” A thing that often returns within her fanbase are fans finding friends on social media through a mutual adoration for Swift.

For everyone slightly interested in the music industry or feminism, ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ is an album that catapults the order of urgency in this business. Yes, this nostalgia infested album is a treat for everyone who listens to it, yet this part of her career should’ve been introduced when she chose to revisit it again, not because she wanted to own the work she made herself. ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ is not just a win for Swift and her supporters but for everyone who has ever been pushed aside by the music industry. Therefore, an insane amount of pride is felt once the re-recordings are mentioned, “after hearing the re-recorded version of Love Story I felt so proud and happy for Taylor because she gets to own her music again,” is the way Lena Maria puts it.

Taylor Swift is the common tie throughout my whole life. Her music defines the timeline of my life and she influenced me to pursue a career in music.

“It’s just kind of crazy that we grew up with her, you know?” Brittany mentions and it’s hard to overlook that Taylor Swift is not just an unattainable pop star but rather a person who uses her music as a warm embrace for everyone who has ever needed it.  Swift brings comfort and to fans like Giselle Libby, she also influenced them in terms of their career, friends and even self-confidence. “I’d love to meet her one day to thank her in person,” Amy Williams admits and professes a need that many all over the world might feel. Taylor Swift is not just an idea but a friend disguised in the soundtrack of all of her fans’ lives, and yes that deserves a giant thank you.

Ever since ‘Love Story (Taylor’s Version)’ was put into the world the start of a new era started, the beginning of Taylor Swift’s independence and control all the while putting it in a blanket of nostalgia. Throughout ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’, it becomes apparent that although the arrangements are similar there is a slightly different progression which excels for Swift’s mature and more powerful than ever before vocal cords. The first chapter of the re-recordings makes you remember the teenage angst once felt years prior or for the newer fans the motion they’re living through at this moment but as did the original a silver string of glee and absolute pleasure is the overarching theme. And yes, even ‘You’re Not Sorry (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘White Horse (Taylor’s Version)’ don’t deviate from that tale, it just makes it all combine into a wonderful story that translates the young adult experience into a 26 song record. 

Written by: Lauren Dehollogne


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