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Fearless

Single | Fearless (2008) | Fearless (Taylor's Version) [2021]

This article is about the song. For the album, see Fearless (2008). For its 2021 re-recording, see Fearless (Taylor’s Version).
“Fearless” is the title track of Taylor’s second studio album, Fearless (2008). She wrote the song about the “best first date” she hadn’t had yet. The re-recording of the song, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on April 9, 2021 on the album Fearless (Taylor’s Version).

Background and Lyrical Theme

Taylor started composing the song while traveling on tour to promote her eponymous debut album, Taylor Swift (2006) in summer 2007. She later continued writing it with her frequent songwriting partner at the time, Liz Rose, before calling on songwriter Hillary Lindsey, who is best known for Carrie Underwood’s hit “Jesus, Take The Wheel” to help complete it. Taylor explained what the song means to her:

«This is a song about the fearlessness of falling in love. No matter how many break up songs you write, no matter how many times you get hurt, you will always fall in love again. When I wrote ‘Fearless,’ I wasn’t dating anyone. I wasn’t even in the beginning stages of dating anybody. I really was all by myself out on tour and I got this idea for a song about the best first date. I think sometimes when you’re writing love songs, you don’t write them about what you’re going through at the moment, you write about what you wish you had. So, this song is about the best first date I haven’t had yet.»

Taylor Swift
She commented on the line, “In this moment now – capture it, remember it,” in an interview with The Guardian in 2012 – the lyric seems to be a perfect summation of her musical MO: “I’m really intrigued by that. Whether it’s taking a photograph, or painting a picture with your words that make a song as vivid as a photograph. I’ve always felt music is the only way to give an instantaneous moment the feel of slow motion. To romanticise it and glorify it and give it a soundtrack and a rhythm.”

Live Performances

Taylor’s first televised performance of “Fearless” was on November 10, 2008, on the Late Show with David Letterman. She went on to perform the song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Clear Channel Communications’s Stripped. Taylor performed the song on all venues of her first headlining concert tour, the “Fearless Tour,” which ran from April 23, 2009, to July 10, 2010. During each performance, she played her signature sparkly acoustic guitar as floral patterns with a moving butterfly were projected on the stage.

The song was also performed on the “Speak Now World Tour” (2011-2012), in a mashup with Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” and Train’s “Hey Soul Sister”. She performed the song acoustically on selected dates during both “The RED Tour” (2013-2014), and “The 1989 World Tour” (2015). In 2018, she performed it in place of “All Too Well” during the second East Rutherford show at Metlife Stadium on her “reputation Stadium Tour.”

Music Video

Footage from the “Fearless Tour” performances were used to comprise a music video for “Fearless”, directed by Todd Cassetty. The video features both footage of the tour itself and backstage.

Critical Reception

“Fearless” has received critical acclaim. Alice Fisher of The Guardian praised “Fearless” for its “perceptive lyrics about universal truths that can be enjoyed at any age.” Jim Harrington of The San Jose Mercury News expressed a similar sentiment in a review of Taylor’s “Fearless Tour”: “Moms and daughters, as well as groups of teens and couples out for a date night, [can sing] along with equal gusto.” Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone chose the song as a highlight from Fearless, applauding its “loud, lean guitars and rousing choruses.” Retrospectively, critics have remained favorable towards the imagery and passion of the lyrics. Nate Jones of Vulture ranked the song as her 25th best song (out of 173 ranked in total), highlighting that the emotion Taylor invested into the lyrics “is matched in the way she tumbles from line to line into the chorus.” Rolling Stone‘s Rob Sheffield ranked it 29th, opining that Taylor makes even some of her most common tropes feel fresh.

Commercial Performance

“Fearless” received acclaim from contemporary critics, many of whom complimented it for appealing to different age groups. The song was the fifth and final single released from the album, on January 4, 2010. In the United States, it debuted and peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. When the song became the fifth track from Fearless to reach the country chart top 10, Taylor became the first solo female to collect five top 10s on the chart from each of her first two albums. The only previous acts to achieve this feat were Brooks & Dunn and The Chicks.

Upon the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” debuted at No. 71 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 14 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and No. 36 on the Rolling Stone Top 100. The song additionally charted at No. 26 in Singapore, No. 46 in Canada, No. 53 on the Billboard Global 200, and No. 54 in Australia.

Taylor's Version

On April 8, 2021, a day before the album’s release, a snippet of the re-recorded “Fearless”, called “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” was teased on Good Morning America. After the album’s release, Taylor told a radio station:

«'Fearless' was the type of song that, as soon as I wrote it, I knew it would be the title track for the album. It was about fearlessly falling in love and not caring if you’re gonna get hurt. But it encapsulated that way I was moving through life. At that point I was just hurling myself into these situations, and making this album in a way that hoped for the best and disregarded what could happen if it all went terribly wrong. And it went out into the world and I got to see teenage girls, and young kids, and moms, and dads, and grandparents holding signs that said 'Fearless.' It was just the purest, joyful message for everyone I think – for us all to feel like we could try to live our lives fearlessly. And you could take that and it could mean what it meant to you specifically. However, I just wanted to write the song about the best possible date ever. And so, that’s what we did.»

Taylor Swift
In a review of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Hannah Mylrea of NME described the title track as brilliant, praising its “starry-eyed lyricism” and “stellar instrumental arrangements” that elicit memories of Taylor’s older music while simultaneously being much more refined in its production. A reviewer for Clash magazine highlighted Taylor’s improved vocals and the crisper production while also pinpointing the nostalgia the song evokes.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
There’s something ’bout the way
The street looks when it’s just rained
There’s a glow off the pavement, you walk me to the car
And you know I wanna ask you to dance right there
In the middle of the parking lot, yeah
Oh, yeah

[Verse 2]
We’re driving down the road, I wonder if you know
I’m trying so hard not to get caught up now
But you’re just so cool, run your hands through your hair
Absentmindedly making me want you

[Chorus]
And I don’t know how it gets better than this
You take my hand and drag me head first, fearless
And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance
In a storm in my best dress, fearless

[Verse 3]
So, baby, drive slow ’til we run out of road
In this one horse town, I wanna stay right here
In this passenger’s seat
You put your eyes on me
In this moment now, capture it, remember it

[Chorus]
‘Cause I don’t know how it gets better than this
You take my hand and drag me head first, fearless
And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance
In a storm in my best dress, fearless

[Bridge]
Well, you stood there with me in the doorway
My hands shake, I’m not usually this way
But you pull me in and I’m a little more brave
It’s the first kiss, it’s flawless, really something
It’s fearless
Oh, yeah

[Chorus Variation]
‘Cause I don’t know how it gets better than this
You take my hand and drag me head first, fearless
And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance
In a storm in my best dress, fearless

[Final Chorus]
‘Cause I don’t know how it gets better than this
You take my hand and drag me head first, fearless
And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance
In a storm in my best dress, fearless

[Outro]
Oh, oh
Oh, yeah

General Information
AlbumsFearless
Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedNovember 11, 2008
Re-ReleasedApril 9, 2021
WrittenMarch-June 2007
StudioKitty Committee (London, UK)
GenreCountry Pop
Length4:01
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Liz Rose
Hillary Lindsey
ProducersNathan Chapman (original)
Christopher Rowe
Taylor Swift
FEARLESS CHRONOLOGY
FearlessFifteen
Single Certification
Hidden Message
I loved you before I met you
Single Artwork
Music Video
Live Performance
Lyric Video
Taylor's Version
Original Audio