By Emily Rosenberg
I remember rolling my eyes profusely when my seventh-grade teacher tried to get hip with the kids by making a “Shake It Off” pun on a flier for skate night. “Skate it off! Skate it off!” - the flier read.
The release of the original “1989” was one of the most successful and controversial moments of Taylor Swift’s career. As Taylor took her music off of streaming platforms, serially dated, and finally won the Album of the Year for her first pop record, calling out Kanye West for calling her a “b*tch” in his song “Famous,” the world was torn over whether to love or hate her.
I was unfortunately someone who hated her. Now she is pretty much all I listen to.
But now Taylor is again at the pinnacle of her career, having just finished one of the highest grossing tours of all time, and has continuously ranked on the Billboard Hot 100 charts since 2020.
So “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” was bound to be her most highly anticipated re-recorded album.
Of course, the album is sonically the same, with five from-the-vault tracks.
These 2014 classics that we all know and love are radiating with an amplified level of glitter and metallic. Much like every Taylor’s Version, most tracks have a different production style, allowing them to sound much more crisp.
For example, background vocals by “Hide and Seek” singer Imogen Heap on “Clean” can be heard more clearly, creating a chilling effect on the already slow-burn anthem.
The snapping in the second verse of “Shake It Off” is so sharp, if you're listening with headphones it sounds much like someone is clicking their cheek next to your ear.
In “I Know Places,” her belt has become so desperate and angry, I’d believe she was actually running from something at the time of recording. Actually, the whole track radiates a sense of maliciousness never heard on the original track, and this made it one of the most enjoyable re-records.
As far as the vault tracks go, Taylor herself upon announcing the album said these were some of the coolest tracks to be left behind - and she was not kidding.
For niche sides of social media, some bad takes claim producer Jack Antonoff ruined vault tracks with his love for electronic ’80s synth sound. But that’s just it, they’re bad takes.
“Now That We Don’t Talk” sounds like a Bleachers song sung by Taylor Swift, but who says that’s a crime? Actually, the only crime this song commits is how short it is, coming in at 2:24.
The magic of Antonoff’s production, that can be heard in much of his famous work such as Lorde’s “Green Light,” or Bleachers’ “Rollercoaster,” is that these pieces literally burst through the seams with melancholy, but echo hope and underline strength.
“Now That We Don’t Talk,” and this vault track’s twin sister, “Is It Over Now?” both embody the Antonoff effect. And through Swift’s intimate lyric writing, fans too will experience the sense of freedom of leaving a toxic person that she portrays in “Now That We Don’t Talk,” with a compelling outro that lists off all the reasons she is “better off now.”
On the other hand, “Is It Over Now?” which instantly became a fan favorite, drops lines referencing scandals from her relationship with Harry Styles. It captures the constant instability felt right after a break up, as well as the question of when the relationship truly faded away.
This song is not only iconic because it would have caused chaos in the One Direction fandom in 2014, but because it is another instance of great lyricism that was kept from the public for almost 10 years.
However, of all the vault tracks, “Suburban Legends,” while not musically anything phenomenal, does not fit into the “1989” single-in-New-York-era, it is an adorable song as it paints a cozy picture of humble, domestic living.
As a Swiftie, I cannot objectively sum up this album in any other way than to say Swift’s re-recorded albums are providing a sparkling avenue for old fans to fall back in love with her old tracks, and for new fans to discover them while adding a new list of unapologetic ballads to her discography.
Her most scandalous re-record yet