When Emma Falls in Love

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"When Emma Falls in Love"
Song by Taylor Swift
from the album Speak Now (Taylor's Version)
ReleasedJuly 7, 2023 (2023-07-07)
Length4:12
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)Taylor Swift
Producer(s)
Lyric video
"When Emma Falls in Love" on YouTube

"When Emma Falls in Love"[a] is a song written and recorded by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Originally intended for but left out of the track listing of her 2010 studio album Speak Now, the song was included in Speak Now (Taylor's Version), the 2023 re-recording of the album. Produced by Swift and Aaron Dessner, the song is about the narrator's experience of watching a friend fall in and out of love and her admiration for that friend.

Incorporating crossover elements between country and pop, it begins as a gentle ballad before building up to its chorus. Some critics deemed "When Emma Falls in Love" a highlight of Speak Now (Taylor's Version). The song peaked at number 36 on the Billboard Global 200 and entered the charts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

Background[edit]

After signing a new contract with Republic Records, the singer-songwriter Taylor Swift began re-recording her first six studio albums in November 2020.[2] The decision followed a public 2019 dispute between Swift and the talent manager Scooter Braun, who acquired Big Machine Records, including the masters of Swift's albums which the label had released.[3][4] By re-recording the albums, Swift had full ownership of the new masters, which enabled her to control the licensing of her songs for commercial use and therefore substituted the Big Machine–owned masters.[5] In 2021, Swift released two re-recorded albums of her earlier releases: Fearless (Taylor's Version) and Red (Taylor's Version); each album also featured several unreleased "From the Vault" tracks that she had written but left out of the original albums' track listings.[6]

On May 5, 2023, at the first Nashville date of her sixth concert tour, the Eras Tour, Swift announced Speak Now (Taylor's Version) as her third re-recorded album; it is the re-recording of her third studio album, Speak Now (2010).[7] She shared on social media that the original album was "a tale of growing up, flailing, flying and crashing [...] and living to speak about it" that covered "brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness".[8][9] On June 5, 2023, Swift announced the track-list of Speak Now (Taylor's Version), which consists six "From the Vault" songs were intended for but left out of Speak Now's 2010 track listing.[10] One of them is "When Emma Falls in Love".[11][12]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"When Emma Falls in Love" is four minutes and twelve seconds long.[13] Swift wrote the track and produced it with Aaron Dessner, who plays instruments including acoustic, bass, electric guitars, piano, and synthesizer. Other musicians on the song include Benjamin Lanz (synthesizer), James Krivchenia (drums, percussion), James McAlister (synthesizer, drums, percussion), and Josh Kaufman (electric guitar, banjo, organ). Christopher Rowe and Mike Meadows provide background vocals, and Rowe engineered the vocals. Dessner and Jonathan Low engineered the track, with assistance from Lans, McAlister, Bella Blasko, and Thomas Bartlett. Low mixed the song and Randy Merrill mastered it.[14]

"When Emma Falls in Love" begins as a gentle ballad alongside a "lilting piano that lends the song a childlike spirit". It builds up to an "explosive chorus".[15][16] The song has a "classic Nashville pop-country backing" and crossover elements between country and pop, including the use of the banjo and a piano melody.[17][15] The lyrics detail the narrator's experience of watching a friend fall in and out of love.[18][17] The happy ending of the song, in which the friend and a boy begin a relationship, has been compared to that of "Love Story" (2008).[16] In the last verse, the narrator sings how she has learned from her friend's experiences with love and laments "To tell you the truth, sometimes I wish I was her".[18] Journalists observed that "When Emma Falls in Love" underscores the narrator's admiration for her friend.[18][15] Elle Australia described it as "a friendship song showing all her friend's best qualities".[1]

Release and reception[edit]

Speak Now (Taylor's Version) was released on July 7, 2023, by Republic Records; "When Emma Falls in Love" sits at number 18 on the track-list.[19] On the same day, Swift performed the track as a "surprise song" at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, as part of the Eras Tour.[20] Commercially, the song debuted on the US Hot Country Songs and the overall Billboard Hot 100, with peaks of number 15 and number 34 respectively.[21][22] Elsewhere, it reached the countries of New Zealand (37),[23] Canada (40),[24] and Australia (43),[25] and peaked at number 36 on the Billboard Global 200.[26]

USA Today picked "When Emma Falls in Love" as the best "From the Vault" track from the album.[15] Will Hodgkinson of The Times gave the song four out of five stars, describing it as "catchy and uplifting".[17] Jonathan Keefe from Slant Magazine called the song "spectacular" and said it brings "some much-needed outside perspectives" to the album.[27] Kate Solomon of the i considered the track "cloying" and said that she would never listen to it again.[28]

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes[14]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriting, production
  • Aaron Dessner – production, engineering, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, electric guitar, piano, synthesizer
  • Benjamin Lanz – synthesizer, additional engineering
  • James Krivchenia – drums, percussion
  • James McAlister – synthesizer, drums, percussion, additional engineering
  • Josh Kaufman – electric guitar, banjo, organ
  • Christopher Rowe – background vocals, vocal engineering
  • Mike Meadows – background vocals
  • Jonathan Low – mixing, engineering
  • Randy Merrill – mastering
  • Bella Blasko – additional engineering
  • Thomas Bartlett – additional engineering

Charts[edit]

Chart performance for "When Emma Falls in Love"
Chart (2023) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[25] 43
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[24] 40
Global 200 (Billboard)[26] 36
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[23] 37
UK Streaming (OCC)[29] 70
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 34
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[22] 15

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Officially titled "When Emma Falls in Love (Taylor's Version) (From the Vault)"[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Green, Cassandra (July 7, 2023). "Speak Now (Taylor's Version) Release Proves That Swifties Know The Value Of A Good Meme". Elle Australia. Archived from the original on July 7, 2023. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  2. ^ Melas, Chloe (November 16, 2020). "Taylor Swift Speaks Out about Sale of Her Masters". CNN. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "Taylor Swift Wants to Re-Record Her Old Hits". BBC News. August 22, 2019. Archived from the original on August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  4. ^ Finnis, Alex (November 17, 2020). "Taylor Swift Masters: The Controversy around Scooter Braun Selling the Rights to Her Old Music Explained". i. Archived from the original on February 12, 2021. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
  5. ^ Shah, Neil (April 9, 2021). "Taylor Swift Releases New Fearless Album, Reclaiming Her Back Catalog". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 8, 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  6. ^ Espada, Mariah (July 6, 2023). "Taylor Swift Is Halfway Through Her Rerecording Project. It's Paid Off Big Time". Time. Archived from the original on October 27, 2023. Retrieved November 6, 2023.
  7. ^ Lipshutz, Jason; Aniftos, Rania (May 5, 2023). "Taylor Swift Announces Speak Now as Next Re-Recorded Album at Nashville Concert". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 6, 2023. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  8. ^ Hussey, Allison (May 5, 2023). "Taylor Swift Announces New Re-Recorded Album Speak Now (Taylor's Version)". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on May 6, 2023. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  9. ^ Avila, Daniela (May 5, 2023). "Taylor Swift Announces Speak Now (Taylor's Version) at Nashville Show: 'I Love to Surprise You'". People. Archived from the original on May 6, 2023. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  10. ^ Strauss, Matthew (June 5, 2023). "Taylor Swift Reveals Hayley Williams and Fall Out Boy Features on New Speak Now (Taylor's Version) Tracklist". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 10, 2023. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  11. ^ Gibson, Kelsie (July 10, 2023). "Who Are Taylor Swift's Speak Now Songs About? What She Has Said About the Inspirations". People. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  12. ^ Strauss, Matthew (June 5, 2023). "Taylor Swift Reveals Hayley Williams and Fall Out Boy Features on New Speak Now (Taylor's Version) Tracklist". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on June 10, 2023. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  13. ^ Swift, Taylor (July 7, 2023). "Speak Now (Taylor's Version)". Apple Music (US). Retrieved August 4, 2023.
  14. ^ a b Speak Now (Taylor's Version) (CD liner notes). Taylor Swift. Republic Records. 2023.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  15. ^ a b c d Ruggieri, Melissa (July 7, 2023). "Taylor Swift's Speak Now: This is the song you must hear on new version of her album". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 8, 2023. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  16. ^ a b Willman, Chris (July 7, 2023). "Taylor Swift Speak Now (Taylor's Version) Vault Tracks Review: Key Co-Stars Include Hayley Williams, Fall Out Boy and… Grandmother Marjorie". Variety. Archived from the original on July 7, 2023. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  17. ^ a b c Hodgkinson, Will (July 7, 2023). "When Emma Falls in Love by Taylor Swift review — a classic comes out of the archive". The Times. Archived from the original on July 7, 2023. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  18. ^ a b c Huff, Lauren (July 7, 2023). "Taylor Swift's new song 'When Emma Falls in Love' is (probably) about Emma Stone". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  19. ^ Sager, Jessica (July 7, 2023). "Speak Now (Taylor's Version) Lyrics, Easter Eggs and Song Meanings". Parade. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  20. ^ Ruggieri, Melissa (July 8, 2023). "Taylor Swift is adding surprise songs to every Eras tour stop. See the list so far". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 5, 2023. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  21. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  22. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  23. ^ a b "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. July 17, 2023. Retrieved July 15, 2023.
  24. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  25. ^ a b "ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart". Australian Recording Industry Association. July 17, 2023. Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  26. ^ a b "Taylor Swift Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  27. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (July 8, 2023). "Taylor Swift Speak Now (Taylor's Version) Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2023.
  28. ^ Solomon, Kate (July 7, 2023). "Speak Now (Taylor's Version) gives Taylor Swift's most underrated album a new lease of life". i. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  29. ^ "Official Streaming Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 15, 2023.