We Are Finally Out of the Woods: Reviewing 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift on the Eras Tour. Photo by Cassidy Petroccione.

Cassidy Petroccione

Senior Staff Writer

All our wildest dreams came true when Taylor Swift announced the release date for the re-recording of her album “1989.” When Swift first released music, she was 16 years old and brought a new era to country music with her self-titled debut album — “Taylor Swift.” This album was the start of her career: with hits such as “Teardrops on my Guitar” and “Our Song,” Swift started to make a name for herself. Since this, she has received 12 Grammys and recently was nominated for six more. She is as rare and versatile as the Beatles because she started off as a country-pop sensation and is becoming mainstream. 

Swift has released ten studio albums and has since re-recorded four of her originals, easily putting her at number one. The re-recorded albums are “Fearless,” “Red,” “Speak Now,” and now include, “1989.” In addition to re-recording the original songs, the records include bonus tracks that include “(From the Vault)” following the song name. These special songs had been written for each original album, but didn’t end up making the final cut. By including them in the re-recordings, the album releases feel new and special. There were many rumors as to why Swift decided to re-record her albums, but one thing is clear: she wants to own her music. 

Originally released in 2014, the album turned “fans of Taylor Swift” into Swifties. From catchy songs to breaking records on Spotify, Swift is currently the most streamed artist and will likely continue to be. 

“1989” features five new songs from her vault that are honestly pretty good. The first, “Slut!” was rumored to have Nicki Minaj featured on the track, but ended up being a letdown when she was not listed as a performer. The song is somewhat of an interlude to the following track “Say Don’t Go.” This song is what every heart-break girl wants their lover to say to them when they are on the verge of breaking up. However, this only happens in Swift’s fantasies as she makes audiences think ‘I wish this would happen to me.’ The next vault song “Now That We Don’t Talk” is meant to be in a romcom: the actors doing their hair and makeup ready to go out while blasting this song and singing along to an upbeat tempo. The song was produced by her friend Jack Antonoff who is known for having an ’80s nostalgic feel in his music. 

The penultimate song “Suburban Legends” is, according to Spotify, the least listened to vault song on the album. Despite this, it remains my favorite of all the vault tracks because her techniques with producing and writing make this a catchy song. The last song on her album “Is It Over Now” is the most streamed new song from her vault tracks. I personally dislike this song because it makes me sad and her lyrics are far too relatable. For example, when she sings the line “Only rumors ‘bout my hips and thighs’” portray Swift the same as everyone else as she opens up about her own insecurities too. Despite it being my least favorite of the vault tracks, it has begun to grow on me the more I talk about and listen to the song. 

A Swiftie can easily tell the difference between the 2014 and 2023 versions of “1989.” The original album sounds like a piece of tissue paper is placed over the record, but the recent version is loud, as if Swift was letting go of the past. Despite this fresh new take, I prefer the original and can even remember the day Swift released the 2014 album. I was 14 years old, barely a freshman in high school, and falling in love. This record turned me into a Swiftie — blasting and screaming the lyrics at the top of my lungs: “Cause baby, I could build a castle / Out of all the bricks they threw at me / And every day is like a battle / But every night with us is like a dream” from New Romantics.

In an interview with The Bottom Line, Miriam Gaona offered her take on the album: “In her re-recorded album, Taylor shows how she is working through her confusion and where her relationships stand. No one understands what is going on, however, we all know what she is saying.” Gaona enjoys the nostalgia of the re-recorded version but ultimately prefers the original version. 

Swift’s re-recording of the album is significantly different in that she focuses more on pronouncing the lyrics correctly. In the re-recording of “Blank Space,” she clearly sings the “Got a long list of ex-lovers,” when many originally thought the line was “Got along with Starbucks lovers.” Now listening to the newer version of the song, I stand by my opinion to liking the older version better as “Blank Space” left room for my own interpretation. 

You will either love or hate this album. But Taylor Swift will always be leaving you heartbroken and wishing you got out of the woods and talked to the kid next door. So, grab your headphones, give “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” a listen, and escape to wonderland.