Taylor Swift recorded acoustic versions of her song “Delicate” and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” for a Spotify Singles session that were released Friday morning. By early afternoon, an uproar had broken out on two fronts.
First, her hushed, banjo-driven take on EWF’s most popular song (head here for an excellent history of the original version) received such a torrent of less-than-enthusiastic attention on social media that Hollywood Life published a story with the headline “Twitter Needs to Seriously Chill About Taylor Swift’s ‘September’ Cover.” Swift’s version is calmer and dramatically different from EWF’s euphoric original.
At around the same time, according to reports, the press release announcing the songs was revised to eliminate the second two sentences in this paragraph: “Taylor says that she chose ‘September’ for sentimental reasons. She’s always loved the classic tune by Earth, Wind & Fire, and notes that the month of September is especially meaningful to one of her relationships. An added layer of sentiment came from being able to record the song in a Nashville studio, the city Taylor moved at age 14 to pursue country music.” Spin has done some speculative analysis on the edit, as well as Swift’s alteration of the date in the song’s opening line, which she changes from Sept. 21 to Sept. 28.
Unaltered in the press release were Swift’s comments about the other track: “‘Delicate’ is a song about the vulnerability that immediately surfaces in all of us the minute we meet someone we want to like us,” it reads. “We think about everything they might’ve heard about us, every reason they wouldn’t want us. Every step forward toward that other person scares us, but it thrills us too. ‘Delicate’ is about the balancing act of the rush and the fear and hoping it’s really worth it to take that chance.”
The singles session was Swift’s second Spotify exclusive in recent weeks, along with the “Delicate” vertical video. Swift had harshly criticized the service in 2014 and removed her music from all streaming services over what she said were unfair royalty payments; a few months later she relented with Apple, and ultimately returned all of her albums to the major services in June of last year. Her latest album, “Reputation,” was withheld from all streaming services until three weeks after its release last November.
Swift launches her “Reputation” stadium tour on May 8 in Arizona.