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1989 (Taylor’s Version) (Gabby And Caleb’s Version)

A+graphic+representing+1989+%28Taylors+Version%29+album+cover+and+its+new+beach+aesthetic.
Caleb Balos
A graphic representing 1989 (Taylor’s Version) album cover and its new beach aesthetic.

On October 27th, Taylor Swift’s re-recording of her hit album 1989 was released into her fans’ hands. Taking the name, 1989 (Taylor’s Version), Swift has been re-recording her older albums to have the rights to her music and allow her to make money off of them, hence the name, Taylor’s Version. 

For months, fans have been very excited over the release of this newest album as 1989 has been a fan-favorite ever since its release. 1989 was Taylor Swift’s second Album Of The Year Grammy award and its hit songs like “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” have earned their fair share of awards and recognition as well. This album marked Taylor Swift’s entrance into the pop scene and an album that transformed her music from country to undeniably pop.

However, with every re-release of Taylor Swift’s albums, there have always been differences between the songs, and their older counterparts. Although the differences may be small and insignificant to many people, to those who have listened to Taylor Swift’s music for years, these changes are immediately noticeable. Many of Swift’s listeners have different opinions on changes made to the song and whether they believe the song has been improved or not. 

One of the largest changes was a shift in aesthetic for the album from city to beach. In the original album cover, there are seagulls on her shirt, and for the re-record, she decided to dive into that specific portion of the cover and turn it into a beach theme. The colors yield themselves to the beach theme, however, it still changes the way the album could be consumed by listeners. “Welcome To New York” acted as the perfect opener to the album when it was first released, but with her changing the aesthetic of the whole album to more of a beach theme, the song doesn’t seem to welcome listeners to the album as well. 

What Was Improved

While the vibe of the album may have changed, it doesn’t take away from how good of a song Welcome To New York is.  The re-recording of “Welcome To New York” features fuller and brighter synths that even more successfully illustrate the feeling of being in a big city. The vocals within this song have also greatly improved with Swift’s matured and skillful vocals and larger harmonies that lead to an exquisite-sounding production. Although the original song was good, this re-recording of Welcome To New York took all the best things of the original song and amplified it into something amazing, full, and still transportive.

A photo of Taylor Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version) limited edition vinyl from Target with a pastel orange vinyl pressing. (Caleb Balos)

She also made a slight but needed improvement to “Blank Space (Taylor’s Version).” She enunciated the line “I have got a long list of ex-lovers” to make it sound more clear. In the original version, many thought that the line was “I have got a long list of Starbucks lovers.” The song is still just as nostalgic and dramatic as it was when it was first released with slight improvements making the song even better.

In “Out Of The Woods,” there are small changes within the song and the sound of the chorus, however, the production improves the overall sound of the song and makes the song and the chorus sound larger. “Out Of The Woods” is a song that builds up throughout the entirety of the song and leads to a huge and encapsulating finishing chorus. Despite the percussion changes, “Out Of The Woods” still sounds similar to the song originally released and is glittered with even more fun ad-libs from Swift.

Taylor also is known for adding vault tracks to all of her albums. These are songs that did not make the original album, but because she is her own record label now, she can add those songs. 

One excellent addition to the album was “Now That We Don’t Talk.” Many of these vault tracks on 1989 sound very inspired by her album Midnights, and “Now That We Don’t Talk” is no exception. This song features a deep encapsulating bass with synths that teleport the listener back into her famous Midnights sound. 

In this song, Taylor describes her thoughts about a past relationship and how she had to cut him off because the relationship was becoming too toxic despite her deeply missing him. This song effectively uses synths, a dramatic bass, and a catchy chorus to create a darker sound that effectively contrasts the songs on the main album, yet fits perfectly with Taylor’s new sound and matured point of view since she originally wrote this album.

In the song “Is It Over Now?” Taylor uses her expert lyrical ability to describe encounters she has had that would signal the end of a relationship, yet describes still feeling trapped in the relationship leaving her to ask “Is It Over Now?” The song seems to directly call out Harry Styles, her ex, for dating people who look like her. 

“Is It Over Now?” is the most hype and dramatic of all the vault tracks. The full production and catchy chorus make the song breathtaking to listen to.

What Hasn’t Improved

Although there were many things in 1989 (Taylor’s Version) that improved, there were some parts of the album that many would agree were less than enjoyable.

As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the production of the original “I Wish You Would,” it is hard to ignore the production changes within the new song. The bass line within the chorus of the re-record is slightly different as well as even the opening electric guitar riff. The chorus and verses almost seem to miss a little bit of the enunciated beat of the original, however can be said is improved with louder, stronger, and more mature harmonies. A large part of the song that was so enjoyable was its dramatic, fast-paced, and exciting percussion, which almost seems to be toned down in the re-record. 

Taylor’s Version is warming up to me, but the original version has a more crisp guitar intro and more passionate and aggressive vocals. It was just that good.

— Anna Schwartz

Style is a lot of Swiftie’s favorite song on the album, and for some, their favorite Taylor Swift song of all time. In “Style (Taylor’s Version),” Taylor and her producers made multiple stylistic changes in the production making the song less exciting and satisfying, leaving many fans to feel like the song isn’t as enjoyable anymore.

According to Style stan, Anna Schwartz, “Taylor’s Version is warming up to me, but the original version has a more crisp guitar intro and more passionate and aggressive vocals. It was just that good.”

With a song with such a loud synthesizer and dramatically large production, it is easy to hear the differences when these things are changed, especially when many would consider the original “Style,” perfect.

Another song that many fans feel was butchered in the re-record was “Wonderland. “The drums in the verses are particularly jarring. It sounds like they just turned up the volume on all the instruments. It is missing the magic of 1989, and what made it so good. It makes me sad.” said Taylor Swift fan, Madison Hachmann.

One song that was specifically popular off the original 1989 deluxe album is “New Romantics,” and is a favorite of many Swifties. In this re-record, there are some very notable changes throughout the song that lead to the song not sounding as exciting and powerful as the original. One main change that is highlighted in the song is the vocals that transition the verse into the chorus. On the original song, these vocals are loud and crisp, however in this re-record, they start quiet and slowly get louder which is an immediately noticeable change for those that often listen to the song.

In reality, this is not a necessarily negative change, and some people might even like it. However, other changes including the loss of some of the percussion during the song and a different-sounding bass almost make the song sound less catchy and exciting. Many have agreed that these types of changes such as a smoother bass and less percussion have strayed away from 1989’s iconic 2010’s electronic pop sound, and even led to a sound that almost resembles her Midnights album.

Conclusion

Despite the many changes made throughout the production of 1989 in its re-record, the album is still absolutely iconic, nostalgic, and exciting. Most of all, fans are excited that she can own her music. Some stylistic choices have left fans mad while others have made the album better, but maybe eventually all Swifties will come around to all the new changes. Because after all, Taylor Swift is a “Mastermind.” 

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    Abby WilliamsNov 18, 2023 at 1:16 PM

    Great article!

    Reply