“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” Review

Album cover for “1989 (Taylor’s Version)”

Kerry Kadel | Arts and Entertainment Editor 

Oct. 27 was a big day for two kinds of fans: those who love “Five Nights at Freddy’s”, and those who love Taylor Swift–and if you’re both, then the 27th was the best Friday ever (at least, for me it was). Taylor Swift was my first concert ever at twenty-one-years-old, and I saw her this summer for The Eras Tour and revisited that experience when I saw “The Eras Tour” film. The release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) was highly anticipated by her fans, the Swifties, but everyone was more excited for the “vault tracks.” 

The vault tracks are select songs added into each re-recording that didn’t make the final cuts in the original versions of Swift’s albums. Some of the vault tracks feature popular artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, Keith Urban, Fall Out Boy and Paramore’s Hayley Williams. However, when the titles for each of the vault tracks were released, fans were surprised that none of the vault tracks or remastered songs had features, making “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” a solo album. Some Swifties were hoping for artist Harry Styles to be featured in “Style (Taylor’s Version),” since the album covers the year in which they dated.

I was happy that didn’t happen, because Swift herself stated that re-recording the pop album was her favorite re-recording and because of that I like seeing Taylor going solo on this one. Also, the vault tracks allude to some turmoil between her and Styles…but the vault tracks had been written in 2014, and now it’s all water under the bridge between Swift and Styles. 

Before I touch on the vault tracks, I thought I’d share my notes regarding the first time I listened to the main tracks on the morning of the album’s release. My top three tracks that seem to have some sort of enhancement to make them better than the original were “Blank Space,” “Out Of The Woods” and “I Know Places.” 

And now for the vault tracks, starting off with the first titled “Slut!” which many fans such as myself expected to be much like “Blank Space,” with a daunting beat and powerful message about the media portraying Swift during this time. Fans were right about one thing, which was the latter, the song, however, took my surprise by the music and lyrics. It’s aesthetically pleasing to the ears while the lyrics have melancholic meaning towards how the media slandered Swift for dating. 

My takeaway lyric: “And if they call me a slut/You know it might be worth it for once” 

“Say Don’t Go” is the second vault track, and the beat struck me immediately as it sounds like a slower sampling of Swift’s song “Clean” that’s on the album. This song is a heartbreaking lyrical ballad of Swift telling her significant other to not leave her, like he led her on in a relationship that wasn’t going to go further. The lyrics show that Swift would’ve stayed if only her partner told her to not leave, but inevitably, they don’t. 

My takeaway lyric: “Why’d you have to give me nothing back?/Why’d you have to make me love you?” 

“Now That We Don’t Talk” is the third vault track, starting off with a low bass stutter that sounds very retro. This is one of those songs with a beat that’s so good but has lyrics that are so heartbreaking and relatable to the listener. It explains Swift and her partner’s relationship, now ended, but she checks up on his life to see how much he’s changed, while having opinions about it, but since they don’t talk anymore she reminisces about their relationship. To pull herself out of this, she reminds herself of all the things she doesn’t have to pretend to like anymore to win her ex-partner’s affection. 

My takeaway lyric: “Remind myself the more I gave, you’d want me less” 

“Suburban Legends” is the fourth vault track and gives the story of Swift envisioning her and her partner being more than what they both want to be in a small hometown, such as leaving a history in their past, hence calling themselves “suburban legends.” Swift sings of fantasizing showing up back years later with who she’s singing about, wanting to surprise everyone that they were together. This track is good, has a great outro, but this one didn’t quite hit like the other ones. 

My takeaway lyric: “I broke my own heart ‘cause you were too polite to do it” 

Finally, the last vault track, “Is It Over Now?” starts off slow at first, then picks up in beat. This is the song that has fans Harry Styles shocked by the lyrics, due to the lyrics “You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor.” Fans suspect this is about Styles as there are lyrics alluding to the bridge of “Out Of The Woods.” I thought that this would be the song that would hurt my feelings the most, but my jaw dropped at the lyrics and their subtext. 

My takeaway lyric: “I was hoping you’d be there/And say the one thing I’ve been wanting, but no” 

I truly love the Taylor’s Version of this album, being that her voice is mature and clear, as there were a handful of songs in the original recordings that were greatly misheard. My only con is that some of the songs that were a little fast-paced were slower, such as “Style” and parts of “Out Of The Woods,” but some songs needed the slow touch for Swift to enunciate her voice. Other than that, I have no problem with the album, and I await the announcement of the re-recording of “reputation”.

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