In August, Taylor Swift first announced on Instagram that “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” would be released in October. Swifties were especially anticipating this album's release because Swift called this project “my most FAVORITE re-record I’ve ever done” in the announcement’s caption.
After listening, the overall quality speaks for itself as the best of Swift's re-released albums so far.
“1989” was a pinnacle moment for Swift’s career in 2014 during her pivot from country to pop music, with the album title serving as both a callback to her birth year and a rebirth of her artistic image. On “1989 (Taylor's Version),” Swift flaunts the strength and richness of her voice, as well as her massive improvement in quality and content since the original album’s release.
“Welcome to New York” is still the perfect opener to this album, with a few brand new sets of polished vocals that enhance Swift’s confident entrance to the pop genre. Similarly, “Blank Space” follows this trend of higher quality vocals and instrumentals compared to the first recording. However, Swift’s vocal delivery in this iteration feels like she’s biting back at the music industry and mocking the way the media had misogynistically painted her like a crazy ex-girlfriend.
“Style” is especially representative of Swift’s 2023 sound, with synth-pop instrumentals and a more confident and playful vocal delivery as she creates an illusion of a picture-perfect Hollywood couple.
“Out Of The Woods” has always been one of my favorites from “1989,” and Swift’s new version improves on its predecessor by putting the listener in a whimsical and anxiety-induced trance in the best way.
“All You Had To Do Was Stay” is a criminally underrated song from Swift’s original album, and the new recording improves on the original because of its stronger emotions and a more vulnerable vibe overall.
I was very thrown off at first by Swift’s less campy and more calm opening verses of “Shake It Off,” but I could hear she was having more fun with the backing vocals. I still prefer the more youthful vocals of the original track, though.
“Wildest Dreams” isn’t much different from the original, but it feels even dreamier and more captivating thanks to its improved production quality. Similarly, “This Love” gave fans gorgeous new vocals from Swift that feel dreamy, free and emotionally vulnerable.
Compared to the original track, “I Know Places” became more of an outlet for Swift to let out her frustration and anger, which becomes clear when you hear her powerful and engaging performance.
“Clean” feels smoother and, funnily enough, cleaner than its original version, with Swift’s vocals being much softer and silkier. Similarly, “Wonderland” feels smoother and more whimsical compared to the original recording.
“You Are In Love” feels like a song from a modern pop musical, which I especially adore as a former theater kid. I love this song, especially with its quiet atmosphere surrounding Swift’s breathtaking vocals.
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The recording for “New Romantics” is very similar to the original and helped tap into the euphoria and nostalgia I felt after hearing the slightly improved version of this classic “1989” song.
When I first saw “‘Slut!’” in the list of vault songs, I fully expected to hear a badass pop-rock anthem. What I didn’t expect is a compelling love song that serves as an ode to Swift’s desire to be unashamedly in love with someone, even if the media sexualizes and demeans her for it in the process.
“Say Don’t Go” sounds like a distant family member of other “1989” songs and fits perfectly in the lineup of songs in this album about Swift wanting stability in her relationships. Despite how short it is, I also love “Now That We Don’t Talk” because of its disco-pop sound paired with relatively bitter lyrics and a groovy beat.
“Suburban Legends,” despite just being released from the vault, felt oddly nostalgic and had an instrumental sound very reminiscent of “folklore” with the fun and bouncy lyrics that are present in “1989.”
“Is It Over Now?” is the perfect ending to the album and is my favorite of all of the newly released vault songs. It’s a bitter song filled with sorrow and rage. It almost feels like a sequel to “Out Of The Woods.” While this song is more electronic and funky in sound than the rest of the original “1989” album, it represents the rebirth of Swift’s newly crafted modern sound and represents the evolution of her music and career since the original release.
Overall, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” was a nostalgic listen as someone who has been watching her grow as an entertainer and an artist since this album was first released.