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REVIEW: Taylor Swift re-introduces her best-selling pop album

Many+students+listened+to+1989+Taylors+Version+when+it+came+out+on+Oct.+27
Isabella Edghill
Many students listened to 1989 Taylor’s Version when it came out on Oct. 27

It’s indisputable that Taylor Swift is at the height of her career; from her sold-out Eras Tour to the soaring ticket prices to her movie, she is currently one of the most listened to artists in the world and is continuing to add dates to her tour for her international fans.

Swift is also in the middle of re-recording her first six albums after music executive Scooter Braun purchased Big Machine Records, including Taylor’s music, in 2019. After re-recording all the albums, Taylor will finally own the rights to these songs.

So far, Swift has re-recorded four of her first six albums, including “Fearless,” “Red,” “Speak Now” and “1989.” The release dates for re-recordings of “reputation” and her self-titled debut album have yet to be announced. 

These re-recorded albums each include a series of songs “From the Vault.” These tracks were written during the creation of the original album, but were never added until the re-release. The vault tracks of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” include “Slut!”, “Say Don’t Go,” “Now That We Don’t Talk,” “Suburban Legends” and “Is It Over Now?”

The midnight drop of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” on October 27 started off with the familiar sound of the first track, “Welcome to New York.” The song is a fun, refreshing night on the town girl anthem about fresh starts, which is a fitting introduction for Swift’s new era of owning her work. This song sets the scene for the rest of the album, which is filled with songs about the hustle and bustle of life in New York City.

Many of the songs on the re-recording sound slightly different than they did on the original. The electric guitar at the beginning of “Style” sounds almost muted, and the “ah-ah-ah-ah” parts of “New Romantics” have a robotic, Kidz Bop-like echo to them, according to some fans on TikTok. But not all of the changes to the songs on the album are disappointing. The vocals on “I Know Places” have improved and Taylor’s voice has more passion to it. “Shake It Off” and “Out Of The Woods,” both hits during the original release of the album in 2014, are on another level on the re-recording, with enhanced high notes and background vocals. “Shake It Off,” a song designed for dancing, is even more upbeat and groovy. On “Out Of The Woods,” the trademark synth notes of Swift’s longtime producer Jack Antonoff are evident alongside Swift’s strong vocals.

The last track on the original album, “Clean,” illustrates the feeling of finally moving past something that once haunted you for so long, hence the lyric “I think I am finally clean.” On “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” the song now has a sort of double meaning. Since Taylor now finally owns the album, something she has been struggling to do for years, she is clean of the fight for her right to own her music.

The vault tracks also have the noticeable touch of Antonoff. His electric drums and vibey sound effects add a tune similar to that of “Midnights,” Swift’s tenth album that was released last October. Antonoff relies on 80s synths and poppy guitars to give these five tracks an ethereal feel.

The first vault track, “Slut!” details Swift’s tendency to be singled out for her dating life by the media during this era and how she grappled with it. The line “And if they call me a slut you know it might be worth it for once” recognizes her acceptance of this stereotype the tabloids perpetuated as long as she was seen with the one she loved. Its music, unlike most songs on the album, is angelic instead of an upbeat pop anthem. Many fans expected this song to be a fast-paced banger, similar to “Bad Blood” or “Blank Space,” but instead Swift presented a sad and mellow number.

“Say Don’t Go” and “Is It Over Now?,” both vault tracks, question the ending of a relationship. While “Say Don’t Go” has longing feelings of wanting to be wanted, “Is It Over Now?” asks at what point the relationship ended, and if the other person was ever totally devoted. Taylor showcases her brilliant and hard-hitting lyricism in this track: “You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor.”

“Now That We Don’t Talk,” is Taylor’s shortest song ever, highlighting the realization that one may be better off without someone who used to be a big part of their life. The song strikes a chord with many members of her audience, especially teenage girls, with its relatable lines like “I miss the old ways, you didn’t have to change, but I guess I don’t have a say now that we don’t talk.” 

In “Suburban Legends,” Swift explains how some relationships aren’t meant to last forever. Although the song tells a heartbreaking story of passing time in a romantic relationship, it’s the least popular vault track on the album.

The only two remaining albums for Swift to re-record are “reputation” and her self-titled debut album, “Taylor Swift.” As many fans have put it online, all she has left to do is reclaim her name and reputation.

About the Contributors
Kaelin Gaydos, Editor in Chief
Kaelin Gaydos is the Editor In Chief of Manual RedEye. You can contact her at [email protected].
Liv Ashley, Staffer
Liv Ashley is a staffer for Manual RedEye. You can contact her at [email protected].
Isabella Edghill, Webmaster
Isabella Edghill is Webmaster for Manual RedEye this year. She enjoys reading and playing the violin, and is passionate about exploring issues around diversity, identity and empowerment. You can contact her at [email protected].
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