Taylor Swift is currently headed toward another No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, as her new release Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is unbeatable this week. The set is bound to debut atop Billboard’s all-genre list of the most-consumed full-lengths in a few days, and while that’s always reason to celebrate for any artist, this latest drop is special for the singer-songwriter.
When it does hit No. 1, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) will mark Swift’s third trip to the Billboard 200’s penthouse in less than a year. During that time, she released a trio of new projects, and they all went right to the top, with at least the first two racking up more than a month in charge of the competitive list.
This kind of musical output is expected from some of the most prolific rappers in the world, but it’s a new phenomenon for Swift…and fans clearly love what they’re getting from her.
For much of her career, Swift stuck to a strict release schedule, and since it worked so well, there was no reason to shake it up. In a run that lasted more than a decade, the singer dropped one new album every two years, with each new title arriving in either October or November, meaning the first single(s) were doled out a few months prior. That timing meant the latest launch from the Grammy winner was out just in time to be snapped up by holiday shoppers, and usually to end the year as one of the biggest sellers.
After conquering the world with her first six albums, Swift departed Big Machine, the label that helped make her a household name, and went over to Republic. In the move, she was granted greater control over her own career and her destiny, and she was finally allowed to make the music she wanted…and release it whenever she desired.
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Her first album with Republic was Lover, which was huge, but it didn’t shake up her release plan much, other than the fact that it came out in August, as opposed to the fall. As the music industry changed and things sped up, Swift saw she had to adapt as well, and she wasted no time in doing so.
Less than a year after Lover arrived, and only a short time after she and her label stopped promoting the set with singles, Swift made an announcement that shook the world: She had a surprise album coming. Folklore debuted in July 2020, and fans almost couldn’t believe their ears. Not only had she completely changed her sound, swapping top 40, radio-ready bops for ethereal folk-pop, she barely spaced the set out from her last tite.
Little did fans know just what a sign of the changing times that No. 1 effort would be.
As the masses continued to stream and buy Folklore, Swift shocked them once again. Evermore, a sister record to its predecessor, dropped in December of the same year, less than six months after the titan that was Folklore. Both albums went right to No. 1 and spawned Hot 100 chart-toppers, and they ended 2020 as some of the bestsellers in the world.
Now, once again, Swift has delivered another full album less than half a year after her previous release. Sure, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) isn’t an entirely new full-length, as it’s largely comprised of re-recordings of her sophomore title Fearless, but it still took a lot of work to get it ready, and fans are snapping it up in huge numbers.
Swift has stated she intends to re-record her first six albums in an effort to regain control over the material that helped her rise to superstardom, though she hasn’t yet shared when the other five LPs will arrive. She may space them out over a number of years, or she could unleash them all before 2021 wraps. And, this is all to say nothing of new material, which the singer is likely working on as well.
Now on her own and allowed to do as she pleases, it’s obvious that Swift is working harder than ever, writing, recording and releasing more music than she likely would have been able to under Big Machine. While her original plan certainly went smoothly for a long time, nobody can argue with the results of her newfound energy and vigor, and fans hope this pace keeps up for a long time.