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“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” protects Swift’s legacy

(Photo courtesy of: Forbes) “Taylor Swift announces the release of ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ during an Eras Tour show in August.”

Tyler Browne
Connector Editor

Pop star Taylor Swift released “1989 (Taylor’s Version)”, on Oct. 27, making it the fourth in her series of re-recorded albums. The original “1989” was released in 2014.

The “Taylor’s Version” series began in 2021, with the re-release of “Fearless”. Swift decided to re-record her first six albums in 2019, after losing control of her original masters.

After 2017’s “reputation”, Swift left her longtime label, Big Machine, after owner Scott Borchetta refused to grant her ownership of her masters, signing a massive deal with Republic Records.

In 2019, as Swift was preparing to release “Lover”, her first album with Republic, Borchetta sold Big Machine to Scooter Braun, who has had a longstanding feud with Swift. Thus, Swift decided to re-record her entire Big Machine catalog in order to prevent Braun from profiting from her music.

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is just as much of a masterpiece as the original album was nearly a decade ago.

The re-recorded versions of the original tracklist are flawless. While some fans were dissatisfied with the instrumentation of “Style”, it is nearly indistinguishable from the original, as are the other 15 tracks that make up the original “1989” songs.

While Swift sings in a slightly lower register at times, including on the hit “Blank Space”, her voice is perhaps stronger here than it was a decade ago.

The album opens strong with the trio of “Welcome to New York”, “Blank Space” and “Style”, before moving into more emotional material.

“All You Had to Do Was Stay”, the album’s fifth track, is reminiscent of an arena rock classic, and would be welcome in the setlist of any ‘80s rock band, while still being one of the most gut-wrenching songs on the album.

“Shake it Off” is just as fun as ever, as is “How You Get the Girl”. While “New Romantics” is still one of the weaker tracks in Swift’s discography, the rest of the album is an extremely fun listen.

A highlight is the re-recording of “You Are In Love”, a track about the (now dissolved) relationship between Swift’s co-writer, Jack Antonoff, and actress Lena Dunham. Swift’s spoken verses are hypnotizing, and the chorus, where Swift sings in falsetto, is stirring.

The album truly shines on the “From the Vault” tracks. A staple of the “Taylor’s Version” releases, vault tracks were originally written at the same time as the original version of the album, but were either given to other artists or shelved completely.

The final vault track, “Is It Over Now?”, sees Swift reflecting on her breakup with then-One Direction singer Harry Styles, who serves as the muse for many of the album’s tracks. Throughout the song, Swift tries to pinpoint the exact moment when the relationship fizzled out, as their breakup was famously drawn-out.

However, this is not where the album ends, as Swift had a surprise for her fans up her sleeve.

When the tracklist for the album was first announced, fans were dismayed to see that the only version of “Bad Blood” was the original, with the remix featuring Kendrick Lamar seemingly left off.

However, track 22 of the album is “Bad Blood (Remix)”, and Lamar re-recorded his verses for the new remix. This sends the album off on a high note, and shows why “1989” is one of Swift’s greatest masterpieces.

Grade: A

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