Taylor Swift was born in 1989, but her reinvention began in 2014. Her album 1989 started her escapade into the pop genre. In the forward to the album, she talks a lot about reinventing herself because of the genre switch. Swift started in country music, but her pop music is some of my favorite music she has ever done.
1989 was originally released in October 2014 but re-released on October 27th, 2023. What is different about this record is that now Swift owns it herself. Because her original masters were sold, she has now re-recorded her albums through Reputation and owns the rights to them. 1989 is her fourth re-record of six that she will be doing in total.
The product for all of the original 1989 songs has somehow improved to a more crisp and elevated style (pun intended). The highlight of this album for me was the vault tracks. Swift created the idea of “from the vault” songs, tracks that did not make the cut the first time around. 1989’s vault tracks are my favorite so far.
The first vault track is called “Slut!” and discusses the shaming she has experienced in her dating life. The media has always had a field day with her relationships. In this song, she states that all of the negative attention might be worth it for the person she is in love with. Fans were extremely curious about how this song would sound. Initial beliefs were that it would be an upbeat song, but it turned out to be a beautiful song about love.
The second vault track is called “Say Don’t Go” and grapples with a situationship, where one person is seemingly way more committed to the relationship than the other. When listening to this track for the first time, this line made me pause: "I said I love you, you say nothing back”. It took me aback because unrequited love is such a universal and heartbreaking experience that Swift vocalized so well in this song.
“Now That We Don’t Talk” is one of the most Jack Antonoff songs I have ever heard and I love it. The synths and the layered vocals at the end of the song, when she sings “Guess this is how it has to be” (with Antonoff singing backup) are some of his staples. Antonoff and Swift worked together for a lot of this album in its original release and in 2023. I admire this track a lot because I think that it can be related to losing any sort of relationship in your life, whether it be a significant other or a friendship.
The fourth vault track is named “Suburban Legends.” Swift talks of a relationship that is destined to fail, but continuing to be in said relationship anyway. The outro is my favorite part of the song because I think that the cadence of the song induces that anxious feeling of knowing a relationship is going to end before it actually does.
“Tick-tock on the clock, I pace down your block
Waves crash to the shore, I dash to the door
You don't knock anymore and I always knew it
That my life would be ruined”
“Is It Over Now?” is the last vault track and honestly in my top 5 Taylor Swift songs ever. Two words: The. BRIDGE. It has been constantly rattling around in my brain since its release. To listen to the lyrics and production of this song together can only be described as a great work of pop art.
1989 (Taylor’s Version) has debuted at #1 On the Billboard 200. It is also her biggest sales week ever! The success is not surprising since it has been a fan-favorite album since 2014, but Swift has somehow made a perfect pop album, even better.