Adult Contemporary

The Year in Music 2021: Taylor Swift’s past comes back…to top the chart

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Beth Garrabrant

In 2020, Taylor Swift made headlines by putting out two critically acclaimed new albums. In 2021, she continued to make headlines — for, among other things, re-releasing her old albums.

Here are the highlights of Taylor’s year:

–Taylor started off 2021 by winning her third Album of the Year Grammy for folklore. That made her the first female artist ever to win Album of the Year three times, after her wins for 2008’s Fearless and 2014’s 1989.

–One of the year’s hottest new artists, Olivia Rodrigo, gave songwriting credit to Taylor on two tracks on her number-one album, SOUR, because she’d interpolated or otherwise borrowed melodic elements from two of Taylor’s songs.

–The first of Taylor’s re-recorded projects, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), came out in April and topped the Billboard album chart, making it the first re-recorded album to do so. The 26-track project included six “From the Vault” songs written around the same time as the original album, and featured guest vocals from country stars Maren Morris and Keith Urban.

–Red (Taylor’s Version), Taylor’s re-recording of her 2012 album, came out in November, with a whopping 30 tracks, plus guest appearances from Phoebe Bridgers, Ed Sheeran and country superstar Chris Stapleton.

–Red (Taylor’s Version) featured a 10-minute version of fan favorite “All Too Well.” Taylor wrote and directed a short film to go with the song and also appeared in it, along with stars Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien.  “All Too Well” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, setting the record for the longest song ever to top that chart.

–In addition to re-recording her own music in 2021, Taylor appeared on one song on the expanded edition of HAIM’s album Women In Music Pt. III, and on two tracks from Big Red Machine‘s album How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last.

–In 2021, Taylor also won the BRIT Awards’ Global Icon trophy, and the Songwriter Icon award from the National Music Publisher’s Association.  Her 2020 documentary Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions won a Gracie Award.

–In October of 2021, Taylor inducted one of her musical heroes, Carole King, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed one of King’s compositions, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” during the ceremony.

–In November of 2021, Taylor received yet another Album of the Year Grammy nod, this one for evermore.

(Note: All Too Well short film contains uncensored profanity.)

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