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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

An analysis of 13 of Taylor Swift’s best songs

(From The Vault) edition
Jovana Luna
Jialu Chen (‘24) listens to “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)”, her favorite vault track written by Taylor Swift.

“I have recently begun re-recording my older music and it has already proven to be both exciting and creatively fulfilling,” said Taylor Swift. 

On November 16, 2020, Swift posted this statement on X to confirm that she would be re-recording her first six albums. In addition to just releasing updated versions of these original tracks, she has used these new recordings of old albums to introduce a new concept: songs from her “vault.” 

Taylor Swift released 26 vault tracks across the four re-recordings that she has completed so far (Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989), as well as one from Midnights, 2022. To recognize these songs, she adds (From The Vault) after each track title. So, what exactly are “vault” tracks? 

Tracks from Swift’s vault are songs that were originally written for a specific album but did not make the final cut. The vault is a metaphorical place where the popstar stored away these extra songs that she felt belonged in their respective eras and therefore could not be used on a different album. Due to popular demand by her fans, the re-recordings have given her the opportunity to come back to these olds songs and finally release them to the public.  

“I feel that Taylor Swift’s vault tracks provide us with more insight into how she was feeling when she released each of the albums,” Sydney Becker (‘24) said. “The songs that she chose to release as vault tracks also show us how she feels now and what she wants to share with us.”  

Although these songs did not have official spots on their original albums, many of the vault tracks are now some of Swift’s most impressive works. Personally, I find it bizarre that some of these pieces have been kept away for so long.  

So far, Laura Haushalter (‘21) has given us a list of her favorite 13 Taylor Swift songs, followed by Nichola Monroe (‘22) and Gaby Trauttmansdorff’s (‘22) list of 13 better songs. In honor of the recent release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version), here is a list of the vault tracks ranked and analyzed (the best 13 to honor Swift’s lucky number):


  1. “Foolish One (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), 2023

“Foolish One” takes listeners on a journey of unrequited love that ends with a breakthrough. Receiving “just enough attention,” Swift optimistically hopes her crush will pursue a relationship with her. In the verses, she tries her best to seem unbothered by the fact that the person of interest is clearly occupied with somebody else. However, there is a shift in the bridge when Swift sings “How could I not see the signs?” As she finally realizes that there were “red flags” all along, she lets go. In the chorus, Swift calls herself the “foolish one” for never learning her lesson; however, at the ending of the song, the perspective switches almost as if she’s now telling the audience what not to do. She reassures us that the day will come when we do find the right person. Though the song tells us of a time when she was heartbroken, it ends up being surprisingly comforting as Swift consoles listeners who can relate.  

Best lyrics: “I’ll get your longing glances, but she’ll get your ring / And you will say you had the best of intentions / And maybe I will finally learn my lesson”  


  1. “Say Don’t Go (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” 1989 (Taylor’s Version), 2023

“Say Don’t Go” is very anxious in nature, which is a prominent characteristic in the entire album of 1989. The first verse begins with Swift repeating “Oh no, oh no” as she realizes that her lover is falling out of love and walking away from the romance. Fading into madness, pacing on shaky ground, and holding her breath, Swift definitely struggles to cope with the intense emotions of feeling abandoned. Holding out hope, she promises to stay in the relationship if her partner would just ask her to give their love another chance; hence, asking him to say “Don’t go.” Swift is also upset to find that the commitment and effort she poured into the relationship were not reciprocated. The production switches between fast-paced beats and slower echos, establishing a balance between anxiety and desperation.  

Best lyrics: “Why’d you have to (Why’d you have to) / Make me love you? (Make me love you?) / I said ‘I love you’ (I said ‘I love you’) / You say nothing back”


  1. “The Very First Night (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Red (Taylor’s Version), 2021

“The Very First Night” is a nostalgic song that reminisces about the small, most cherishable moments in a relationship. Unlike “All Too Well,” which also deals with remembrance, this track is upbeat and lighthearted. This is another one of her songs that focuses on intimate storytelling as she shares with us some memories and emotions that nobody else knew about. Swift tells us that some of these moments include an exchange of whispers, dancing in a kitchen, and a night at a hotel. She sings about these stories in hindsight, missing this person and wishing she could just return to that first magical night. Swift has told her fans in the past that although she does not like to explicitly publicize her personal life, she communicates these details with us through her music. This “(From The Vault)” track is a perfect example of just that.   

Best lyrics: “Back then, we didn’t know / We were built to fall apart / We broke the status quo / Then we broke each other’s hearts”  


  1. “Better Man (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Red (Taylor’s Version), 2021

The song “Better Man” was originally released as a song by a country group called Little Big Town after Taylor Swift decided that the band would suit the harmonies. However, the re-recording of Red allowed her to release her own version. It was especially important that Swift reclaimed this song since it shares one of her most vulnerable moments. She sings about the details of escaping an emotionally abusive relationship: “I wish it wasn’t 4 a.m., standing in the mirror / saying to myself, ‘You know you had to do it’ / I know the bravest thing I ever did was run.” However, Swift also imagines what might have happened if he had not treated her so poorly, thinking that they could have stood a chance. She is torn between missing this person and accepting the fact that in the long run, she is better off alone.  

Best lyrics: “But your jealousy, I can hear it now / Talking down to me like I’ll always be around / Push my love away like it was some kind of loaded gun / Oh, you never thought I’d run” 


  1. “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Fearless (Taylor’s Version), 2021

“Mr. Perfectly Fine” has become by far one of the best songs on Fearless and a very popular fan favorite. The lyrics are like a diss-track as she judges an ex-boyfriend for not being able to follow through on his promises. Following the theme of the title, she has 15 different lines that begin with “Mr.” and are followed with a jab at him. For example, she calls him “Mr. Looked me in the eye and told me you would never go away” and “Mr. Insincere apology so he doesn’t look like the bad guy.” However, the song also lends a form of closure as she ends it by singing, “Goodbye, Mr. Perfectly Fine” whereas the choruses are, “Hello, Mr. Perfectly Fine.” Then, she wraps up by calling him “Mr. Too Late” as a reminder that his actions are permanent and that he has truly lost her. Swift’s delivery of the repeating motif makes the lyrics super catchy and empowering to scream at the top of your lungs.  

Best lyrics: “Cause I hear he’s got his arm around a brand-new girl / I’ve been picking up my heart, he’s been picking up her / And I never got past what you put me through / But it’s wonderful to see that it never fazed you”

  1. “Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” 1989 (Taylor’s Version), 2023

Like the title suggests, “Now That We Don’t Talk” discusses a person that Taylor Swift was once very close to but is no longer in contact with. She begins to sing about how much that individual has changed since they dated, but also acknowledges the fact that she no longer has a say in their life. Swift sings, “Truth is I can’t pretend it’s platonic / it’s just ended.” I interpreted this as a failed attempt to stay friends after breaking a romantic commitment. However, maintaining this friendship is too difficult due to their history, so in short, she has lost this person completely. Swift ends the song trying to convince herself that perhaps this situation is for the best; now, she does not have to pretend to like rock music just to impress this person or put in an exhausting amount of effort to save the unsavable.  

Best lyrics: “I miss the old ways you didn’t have to change / But I guess I don’t have a say / Now that we don’t talk”  


  1. “I Can See You (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), 2023

Fans were shocked to find that “I Can See You” is one of Swift’s more scandalous tracks as she sings about the escalation between her and her crush. With risky lyrics, it’s not surprising that her 19-year-old-self decided to hold off on its release. While Speak Now is a pop and country album, “I Can See You” has a rock production with choppy, metal guitar riffs and distorted, echoey background vocals. Acting upon a more confident and sultry side, Swift sings, “You brush past me in the hallway / And you don’t think I-I-I can see you, do you? / I’ve been watching you for ages / And I spend my time trying not to feel it.” In the second verse, she says that the relationship she has with this person is professional, pointing out that changing this dynamic must be done so cryptically. Quietly hoping to pursue something with this crush, Swift wrote this song to secretly channel these overwhelming emotions.  

Best lyrics: “I can see you being my addiction / You can see me as a secret mission” 


  1. “Timeless (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), 2023

“Timeless” is a beautiful homage to Swift’s grandparents’ personal love stories. In the lyric video posted on YouTube, the song is playing while old photos of all four of her grandparents are shown. Swift writes a fictional story about a narrator who finds photos of a couple in a cardboard box in an antique shop. She sings, “But in those photos, I saw us instead,” and begins to imagine the narrator and a lover still finding each other different in fictional scenarios that range from century to century. She uses her imagination and ability to storytell to emphasize how much these two people are destined for each other. Even if they’d met on a street in 1944 or a dance in 1958, this couple’s everlasting love is strong enough to survive lifetimes—making it “timeless.” 

Best lyrics: “In the 1500s up in a foreign land / And I was forced to marry another man / You still would’ve been mine / We would’ve been timeless” 


  1. “I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Red (Taylor’s Version), 2021

“I Bet You Think About Me” is an angsty tune that calls out an ex-boyfriend for still being hung up on the relationship. Swift sings, “You grew up in a silver-spooned gated community / Glamorous, shiny, bright Beverly Hills / I was raised on a farm, no, it wasn’t a mansion / Just living room dancing, and kitchen table bills.” Swift and her love interest are opposites, and thus, she feels like he looks down on her. Despite the way he poorly treated her during the relationship, Swift points out the fact that he continues to regret the decision to break up: “I bet you couldn’t believe / When you realized I’m harder to forget than I was to leave.” This vault track makes a comeback to her country era as she exaggerates a twangy accent and uses harmonicas in the production. The lyrics are a form of empowerment as she specifies who of the two was really in the wrong. 

Best lyrics: “I bet you think about me when you say, ‘Oh my God, she’s insane, she wrote a song about me’” 


  1. “Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Red (Taylor’s Version), 2021

“Nothing New” perfectly captures the fear of growing up and experiencing the transition into womanhood. Living in a society with harsh expectations, Swift points out how she struggles to constantly handle destructive criticism as a young girl in the entertainment industry. She begins by calling out the double standard of having fun and feeling ashamed for doing so. In the process of losing her novelty, Swift feels like the older she gets, the less she is certain about her life. She asks if she will still be accepted by society when she is “nothing new,” or in other words, when she does not have anything else to contribute to the world. To close the song, Swift sings, “But I wonder if they’ll miss me when they drive me out.” As she grows older, she worries that a lack of innocence will cause society to value her less. With the incorporation of the violin and the cello, the somber production and disheartening lyrics are depressing yet relatable.  

Best lyrics: “She’ll know the way, and then she’ll say she got the map from me / I’ll say I’m happy for her, then I’ll cry myself to sleep” 


  1. “You’re Losing Me (From The Vault),” Midnights, 2022

After releasing Midnights, on October 21, 2022, Taylor Swift set free an additional 19th track from this album’s vault on May 26, 2023. The song paints an intimate picture of two people outgrowing each other and Swift contemplating whether the situation is salvageable, asking, “Do I throw out everything we built or keep it?” She uses the metaphor of not being able to find a pulse in her heart to describe the death of the romance. She even includes the sound of real heartbeats in the background of the track. Essentially, Swift tells us that their split was a result of her putting everything into the relationship and not receiving any support in return. Though most of the production is mellow, the bridge escalates as she repeatedly begs, “Do something, babe, say something / Lose something, babe, risk something.” Despite desperately asking him to do something about her pain, his inability to prioritize this request leads to their fallout.   

Best lyrics: “Fighting in only your army, frontlines, don’t you ignore me, I’m the best thing at this party (you’re losing me) / And I wouldn’t marry me either, a pathological people pleaser, who only wanted you to see her” 


  1. “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” 1989 (Taylor’s Version), 2023

“Is It Over Now?” also plays perfectly into 1989’s anxious ambience as Swift inquires if the relationship has reached a point of no return. This track is one that completes the story begun by one of the album’s other original tracks. “Style” introduces the betrayal committed by both individuals in the relationship, but this song offers listeners more detailed, surprisingly exposing insight to the narrative. The song’s production begins with distorted whispering and yelps, later followed by the line, “Let’s fast forward to 300 takeout coffees later.” Despite making serious efforts to move on with other people, Swift finds that the unfinished relationship she has with this person is keeping them somewhat tied together. However, after explicitly telling us that both parties are guilty of infidelity, she is unsure where they stand. The contrast between the heartbreaking lyrics and the upbeat track emphasizes feelings of uncertainty and apprehension. 

Best lyrics: “Think I didn’t see you? There were flashing lights / At least I had the decency to keep my nights out of sight”      


  1. “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Red (Taylor’s Version), 2021

Like the title states, this is the 10-minute-and-13-second version of Taylor Swift’s original 5 minute and twenty-nine-second “All Too Well,” Red, 2012. After releasing this vault track, Swift set the record for the longest No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While the original lyrics were a little more general in nature, this ten-minute rendition is rich in storytelling and intricately reminisces the details of a heartbreak, from being asked by an actress why she was crying in a bathroom to sharing a zodiac sign with the lover in question. As the song walks you through the cold, decaying season of autumn, Swift’s lyricism explores a loss of innocence and a deep venture into reckless behavior as she ignores the relationship’s “red flags.” She spends the last 90 seconds repeating, “Wind in my hair, I was there, I was there / Down the stairs, I was there, I was there / Sacred prayer, I was there, I was there / It was rare, you remember it all too well.” She truly lived these lyrics, experienced the joy and the pain in the relationship, and grown from it all. The 10-minute version is even more lyrically beautiful than the original as Swift takes agency over the relationship’s power imbalance, but more importantly, makes it clear that she has only become stronger in the end.  

Best lyrics: “From when your Brooklyn broke my skin and bones / I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight / And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue? / Just between us, did the love affair maim you too?”

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About the Contributor
Jovana Luna
Jovana Luna, Chief of Features
Whether it’s her closest friends or her fellow classmates, everyone who knows her agrees that Jovana Luna ('24) is an unforgettable presence on Webb’s campus. As a Feature editor of the Webb Canyon Chronicle, she is keen on improving the publication by expressing her creativity through multimedia endeavors on the WCC website. Beyond her academic pursuits, she possesses a musical flair and has mastered the electric guitar over five years to serenade her friends and neighbors alike with songs such as "Bohemian Rhapsody". She is an avid fan of classic rock and Taylor Swift, her favorite artist. Attending a Taylor Swift concert over the summer has only deepened Jovana’s love of her music after her amazing experience. Jovana has been an avid dancer for the entirety of her life and enjoys performing even at Webb. During the summer, she had a bustling schedule working at Coldstone Creamery, but she never forgot to walk her beloved dog, Apollo, every morning. Now that she’s back at school, Jovana's weekends are filled with quality time spent with friends as they hang out and talk together.   Song: Long Live - Taylor Swift

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