REVIEW: ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’

(Illustration by Kelsey Chellberg | Collegian Media Group)

Thirty-three years ago in 1989, the legend Taylor Swift was born. In 2014, after releasing four country albums, she decided to reinvent herself with a fully pop album called “1989.” It was a major success, obtaining 10 Grammy nominations and winning album of the year. The album is full of vocals and beats that stick in your mind and make you want to scream the lyrics. Songs like “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” were very popular hits. 

But in 2019, Swift’s masters to her first six albums were sold. Though she did not own the music, Swift decided if she made the albums once then she could do it again. The “Taylor’s Version” project has been a major success and “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” might just be the best rerecord yet. 

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” starts off with the familiar sound of “Welcome To New York (Taylor’s Version).” This song feels like you’re taking a late night taxi drive in New York City with your best friends. The album is full of songs that embody a fun night in a big city. But it also includes songs like “Out of the Woods (Taylor’s Version)” that give you visions of running through a dark forest or “Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version)” that makes you want revenge. 

The song “Clean (Taylor’s Version)” definitely stands out from the rest of the album and anyone who’s been in a toxic relationship can relate. The song features some of Swift’s best writing with powerful lyrics like “just because you’re clean doesn’t mean you don’t miss it” and “now that I’m clean I’m never gonna risk it.” Swift even sang the song multiple times as a surprise on The Eras Tour.

The original “Style” has always been the song that solidifies “1989” as the pop bible. It is an iconic song with an iconic intro that will never fail to get listeners on their feet. But in the re-record of “1989,” the intro to “Style (Taylor’s Version)” sounds a bit different from the original, more crisp and less produced. This will take some getting used to for seasoned fans of the original. Another song with differences is “New Romantics (Taylor’s Version),” which is one of my personal favorites from this album. Hearing minor changes was a bit disappointing, but I’m sure after blasting it in my car a few more times I won’t even notice the differences.

Another one of my favorites is “You Are In Love (Taylor’s Version).” The song is about watching someone fall in love and sounds like a lullaby. When Swift performed it during the 1989 Tour, the crowd echoed the lyrics back to her. 

There are a few more differences in the album, one of them being in “I Know Places (Taylor’s Version)”, which is better than the original. It has a grittier and more angry sound that works well for the song. Another upgrade is “Wonderland (Taylor’s Version)” — it sounds crisper and the singalong ability improved. 

The biggest difference between the original versions of Swift’s stolen albums and the re-records is the “vault tracks.” These are songs that didn’t make the original album and are released on the re-records. The first vault track for “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is “Slut! (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault].” This song is a powerful track that mocks media comments on Swift’s dating life. A similar mocking track is “Blank Space (Taylor’s Version).” The second Vault track is “Say Don’t Go (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault],” which sounds similar to “All You Had To Do Was Stay (Taylor’s Version).”

The best vault track is “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault].” It has amazing lyrics like, “I see your profile and your smile on unsuspecting waiters,” that really set a scene and take you into Swift’s mind. There are two more vault tracks, “Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]” and “Suburban Legends (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault].” The stand-out is “Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault],” which sounds similar to tracks from her most recent album “Midnights” and has great dancing potential.

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is an iconic album — a focal point is Swift’s creativity. Did you know the beat in “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” is actually her heartbeat? The songs in “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” are like no other and will stand the test of time — just like they have these past nine years.