Top 10 Taylor Swift “From The Vault” songs of 2021


graphic by Evelyn Stewart

Taylor Swift in each of her Fearless and Red Eras.

by Evelyn Stewart, Reporter

During this year, Taylor Swift released two re-recordings of her old albums Fearless and Red. In addition to re-recording each song on the original version of these albums, Swift recorded her “From The Vault” songs. The Vault consists of songs Swift wrote for each album, but were never released.

When releasing the re-recordings of Fearless and Red, she also dropped the From The Vault songs along with each album. Six unreleased songs were included in Fearless (Taylor’s Version) released on April 9, 2021 and nine unreleased songs were included in Red (Taylor’s Version) released on November 12, 2021. With my adoration of Taylor Swift, I’ve compiled a list of my top ten From the Vault Taylor Swift songs released in 2021. 

“I Bet You Think About Me”

Swift sings with disappointment towards her ex (allegedly Jake Gyllenhaal) in the heartfelt country song, “I Bet You Think About Me” on Red (Taylor’s Version). “I Bet You Think About Me” feels like one of Swift’s top pop songs from 1989, “Blank Space” based on the way she portrays herself how another person views her. In “Blank Space” it was the media, in “I Bet You Think About Me” it’s the ex.

Raised on a farm in Pennsylvania, Swift had a very different upbringing from Gyllenhaal, who was born to a film producer. Although Swift did not grow up poor and her family’s farm was quite nice, she writes in a way that seems more dramatic because that’s how her ex viewed the differences between them. He thought of them as so far apart and any differences they did have probably should’ve been blamed on their difference in age not difference in upbringing.

Swift confronts her lover for using superficial reasons (such as the differences in background) to justify a breakup. In the music video, Swift is pictured as a vision of her ex on his wedding day, showing up all around him and painting the scene red, perhaps representing how he could never escape his love for her. Although country is generally not my favorite genre, “I Bet You Think About Me” is a catchy tribute to Swift’s self-titled album and brings nostalgia as well as having incredible Easter eggs, making it number 10 on my list of favorite Vault songs.

“Bye Bye Baby”

Originally titled, “The One Thing,” “Bye Bye Baby” is about putting yourself first and realizing when you need to leave an unhealthy relationship. This song displays Swift’s realization that the relationship she held onto isn’t going to get better and she is only hurting herself. At first listen, “Bye Bye Baby” was one of my least favorite songs on Fearless (Taylor’s Version) but its catchy tune and lyricism has grown on me heavily, now one of my favorite From The Vault songs. 


While working with Ed Sheeran for her 2012 album Red, Swift wrote “Run” along with “Everything Has Changed” on a trampoline where she and Sheeran met. “Run” has many different theories as to who or what the song is about, but the song clearly references her fame and wanting to escape from it all.

This idea of escape has similar themes across Swift’s entire discography. In the song, Swift encourages her lover to escape with her and, “run from it all.” “Run” holds number 8 in my From The Vault list because of the gentle instrumentals and repetitive lyricism, once again making a signature soothing Swift song. 

“Better Man”

Swift cut the country-style song “Better Man” from the original Red album released in 2012, but gave the song to Little Big Town in 2016. Their rendition of Swift’s song won a Grammy in 2018. “Better Man” expresses Swift’s experience in a toxic relationship, coming to terms with the fact that she is better off without her ex-partner. Still, she pines for the relationship, wishing and wondering what it would’ve been like if things were healthier. The slow tune, chorus, and bridge really stand out to me, displaying the tragedy and grief Swift wanted to convey. 

“The Very First Night”

In “The Very First Night,” Swift takes herself down memory lane, affectionately looking back on a past relationship. Swift misses the relationship and although both partners are on a different path, she wishes they could go back in time. With upbeat vocals, drums, and acoustic guitar, she illustrates the rush of young love while also creating a romantic and danceable song, making this one of my favorite songs on Red (Taylor’s Version).

“Forever Winter”

Allegedly about Swift’s old high school friend Jeff Lang, “Forever Winter” on Red (Taylor’s Version) is an intense song written from the perspective of someone watching a close friend deal with addiction and mental health issues.

Swift sings about her constant state of anxiety for her friend, concerned about their actions and mental state. The outro is what draws me to the song in particular, Swift singing, “He says he doesn’t believe anything much he hears these days. I say, ‘Believe in one thing, I won’t go away’” which holds a special place in my heart, having experienced this very same deep connection with a close friend.

“Nothing New”

Featuring Phoebe Bridgers, “Nothing New” was released with the rest of Red (Taylor’s Version) and is a vulnerable tribute to the fear of aging. In this song, Swift and Bridgers sing about how scary change and loss can be.

The lyrics attribute to fearing that a partner will lose interest even as the other inevitably grows and changes as an individual. In the chorus, Swift sings, “And will you still love me when I’m nothing new?” questioning whether her value will change to her lover as she ages.

Covering multiple topics about the struggles of aging, “Nothing New” also touches on Swift’s life in fame and her position as a role model who has been in the spotlight since the ripe age of fifteen. In the bridge, Swift and Bridgers sing “I know someday I’m gonna meet her…The kind of radiance you only have at seventeen. She’ll know the way and then she’ll say she got the map from me, I’ll say I’m happy for her and then I’ll cry myself to sleep.” These lines refer to Swift meeting other young women in the future who gained their success young and struggle with self image just like she did. Swift sees these young women and is happy for them while also knowing how hard being in the spotlight can be and that their path in aging will be tumultuous. She is highly aware of how significant she’s been in others’ lives, which is both honorable and extremely overwhelming.

“Nothing New” is one of my personal favorites on Red (Taylor’s Version) with its soft instrumentals contrasting the heavy, honest lyrics. 

“Mr. Perfectly Fine”

Also released on Fearless (Taylor’s Version), “Mr. Perfectly Fine” was the first From The Vault song to drop, dropped 2 days before the full Fearless (Taylor’s Version) release. This song allegedly refers to Swift’s relationship with Joe Jonas, painting him as a player who promises Swift he will stay, but flees from the relationship each time he gets bored. “Mr. Perfectly Fine” has many aspects that connect to the Fearless Era, from naive love and short-lived, carefree relationships to upbeat drums and subtle guitar, making it a loveable, danceable, and nostalgic song for older Swifties.

“That’s When”

Released on Fearless (Taylor’s Version), “That’s When” is a beautiful duet with Keith Urban describing the aftermath of a harsh breakup. Swift sings from the perspective of the person who left the relationship due to needing space, and Urban sings from the perspective of the individual considering whether to take her back. Despite its meaning, the song is soft and calming, and I fall asleep listening to it regularly. Yet again, Swift blessed us with another soothing breakup song. 

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” 

The last song on Red (Taylor’s Version), “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” is an extension of her original Red song “All Too Well.” The original version is 5 minutes and 27 seconds long and is widely known as one of her best songs. The full release is 10 minutes and 12 seconds long. Up until the release of Red (Taylor’s Version), Swift’s fans pined for the song, bubbling up all kinds of excitement both in and outside the fandom.

“All Too Well” is a powerful breakup song written in one of Swift’s most vulnerable moments, allegedly about Jake Gyllenhaal. The 10 minute version of “All Too Well” included lyrics that she had scrapped from the original version, sending Swifties into a frenzy after hearing the “new” and even more heartbreaking lyrics.

This song gives me chills every time I listen to it and I had it on repeat for days. Even if you’ve never experienced heartbreak, Swift will vividly bring it to life in “All Too Well.”