MOORHEAD — Taylor Swift’s 2014 album “1989” was re-recorded and released on Oct. 27. As Swift’s fourth re-recorded album, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is one step closer to Swift owning a copy of each of her albums.
Swift’s passion project of re-recording her albums started back in 2019, where she announced that she would re-record her first six albums: “Taylor Swift”, “Fearless”, “Speak Now”, “Red”, “1989” and “reputation”. Releasing both “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” and “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in 2021 and “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” earlier this year, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is her reclamation of her “reinvention era”, according to Swift.
“I was born in 1989, reinvented for the first time in 2014, and a part of me was reclaimed in 2023 with the re-release of this album I love so dearly,” Swift said in an Instagram post.
With her past re-recordings, Swift stays as consistent to the source material as possible, even bringing back some of the musicians to have the consistency that the original album had. This seems to be the case for “1989 (Taylor’s Version,” which is very similar to “1989” in terms of production and quality. One perk of the re-recordings is the presence of “From the Vault tracks,” which were songs that got cut from the original record. But now, they are getting new life as fully produced and published tracks, an incentive to buy and stream the re-recordings.
For a bit of context going forward: from Oct. to Dec. 2012, Swift dated fellow pop musician Harry Styles. He is who many of the songs on “1989” are rumored to be about. Then, in 2014, her “reinvention” happened. She cut her hair into a bob, moved to New York City, and took the pop-style elements of “Red” to make her first full-blown pop record. She originally worked with producers Max Martin and Shellback, but neither returned for the re-record, where she worked with Christopher Rowe and fellow “1989” collaborator Jack Antonoff.
So which songs are better in the re-record? How good are the vault tracks? And most importantly, is she ever going to release “Style” featuring Harry Styles? Well, as she says in the original “1989” liner notes, we begin our story in New York.
Welcome to New York
We are welcomed to “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” with “Welcome to New York.” A song about new beginnings and reinvention, Swift captures that energy even stronger than the original. The opening synth sounds seem to have more depth, energy and vibrance than the original. The first bit of the song seems oddly autotuned, but then clears up very quickly. It could symbolize how so many people were talking for her at the time of the album coming out, and focusing in on her own voice shortly into the first song could be her way of saying that she has her own voice? It was a very interesting choice. Otherwise, the vocals within this song were much stronger and is such a “get up and dance” song.
Blank Space is meant to be tongue in cheek, and not meant to be taken as an accurate representation of how Swift views relationships. It’s such a cheeky little song and sounds nearly identical to the original. The vocals are slightly stronger, but other than that, it is hard to distinguish between the original.
The intro to this song has more depth and had more rich bass sounds in the song. The guitar riffs in the song are much stronger, but also sound slightly more precise and like they are just playing notes, but overall, this song sparkles. The harmonies in this song are slightly louder, and the vocals are eating (as always). Swift didn’t sound as hurt when she sang the line “with some other girl”, referring to whoever the person this song is about was seeing other than Swift. The original song had a light shimmer, but this version just sparkles.
Out of the Woods
This song just shines in the re-record. It is probably one of the best songs that had been re-recorded, and it felt like it was elevated. The harmonies really shine through on this one, and just feels more powerful than the original. It seems as if she yells “Yeah!” instead of “Good!” right after the chorus, which is a small change that we’re curious about. It did feel like it was rushing and off beat at times, especially in the chorus. But minor flaws aside, this is slaying, your honor. She eats. And, of course, the bridge eats as always. It is in the Holy Trinity of Taylor Swift re-records (Back to December, Treacherous and Out of the Woods).
All You Had To Do Was Stay
This song wasn’t our favorite before the re-release, but upon fresh ears listening to “All You Had to Do Was Stay (Taylor’s Version),” this immediately became a fan favorite. The higher notes within the song feel less strained and more defined. It seems more emotional than the original recording, and it works very well within the content of the song.
Shake It Off
This eats. Genuinely, it is so much better than the original version. The production of this song is very similar, but the parts that were changed make it more defined and stronger. The vocals are also almost identical to the original. Beware, however: if you are listening with headphones, you may hear an odd clicking sound, especially in the second verse.
I Wish You Would
For both of us, “I Wish You Would” is a top 5 on the album. Though, this version of the song feels slower. The drums are a lot smoother and the harmonies are much more defined, but the original version has a power and emotion in the instrumentals that elevated that version. This song still eats, but we both prefer the original. However, we will be streaming this version.
The production of this song sound nearly identical, but the vocals completely changed in this song. The vocals have improved tremendously and make it sound angry, bitter and as if she’s been WAITING to record this one again. The synth sounds were turned up in the prechorus, and it makes it much more powerful and it just makes this song so powerful.
Wildest Dreams (Aka Elizabeth’s Top “1989” Song)
This song had initially been released in 2021, as it blew up on TikTok and was geared to be in a trailer for the hit Amazon Prime show “The Summer I Turned Pretty”. It has a lighter production, but the vocals made it feel much dreamier and light. The bridge is extra intense and powerful, making the lyrics hit even harder. There is an intense build up at the end of the bridge in the original that the re-record didn’t quite capture, but she makes up for it with the tremendously improved vocals.
How You Get The Girl
“How You Get the Girl (Taylor’s Version)” got a massive facelift with the production quality. She added what we believe is a tambourine that hits in all the ways we needed it to. It sounds crispy, flawless, and incredible. 11/10 no notes.
Another song that had been re-released earlier than the album release. This is one of her best re-recorded songs and hits so so hard. It is one of her most underrated songs across her 10 albums. The bridge is so dreamy and hits so hard. It is crispy, sparkly, soothing and feels like a nice, refreshing glass of cold water.
I Know Places
This one features a slight key change, starting in a minor key and progressing into a major in a way that itches the brain. The biggest difference in this song is the repeated “I-I-I-I” introduction, which sounds more auto tuned and robotic in this version. Given the tape clicking noise at the beginning, this could represent the paparazzi attempting to manipulate her story, but she refuses to let that happen. It added more depth to a darker song. The biggest highlight is the slight growl at the high “And we run” right before the 2nd chorus, which was mind-blowing in the best possible way.
This song is a fan favorite, and she did not disappoint with “Clean (Taylor’s Version).” It sparkles and shimmers, and her vocals beautifully tell a narrative that she seems to finally feel clean from the relationship discussed in the song. Taylor’s Version made us love this song more, and she needs to work with Imogen Heap again.
The first of three “bonus tracks” on the original 1989, and an underrated one amongst fans. The heavy production in the bridge goes way harder now, and the vocal inflections during the chorus were incredible. This song is a reminder that “reputation (Taylor’s Version)” is coming soon to end all of our lives once and for all, and we couldn’t be more hyped for it.
You Are in Love
Another song that sounds exactly like the original. “You Are in Love” was the second “bonus track” on the original “1989” album. It sounds like a carbon copy of the original song, but somehow better?? This song’s production sounds like it could have easily actually come out of the year 1989.
New Romantics (aka Ross’ Top “1989” and #1 Taylor Swift Song)
This song somehow managed to get even better than the original, which is hard to top. It does RINGS around the original and it became even more of an epic club bop, which we didn’t think was possible. Everything about this song is pop perfection and is 100 times better than the original. 100/10.
With a name like ““Slut!” (Taylor’s Version),” we were expecting a “Blank Space”-esque song about slut-shaming (which was a very prevalent issue in Swift’s life back when “1989” originally came out), but we got a love song that had similar vibes to “Midnight Rain” from her 2022 album, “Midnights.” The lyricism in this song is extremely powerful and gorgeous. “Everyone wants him, that was my crime” hurt in ways that we were not expecting. We love the cheeky name of “Slut!”, but it could’ve easily been called “Drunk” or “Drunk in Love” instead.
Say Don’t Go
OUCH. That’s the best way to describe this song, a 4 ½ minute synthy ballad reminiscent of “All You Had To Do Was Stay.” It’s painful and raw, especially for those currently in a situationship. With collaborator Diane Warren (a prolific ‘80s songwriter), this would make a fantastic single with how catchy it is.
Now That We Don’t Talk
Probably Swift’s shortest song ever, “Now That We Don’t Talk” is the ideal choice for reminiscing over a past relationship. It is criminally short and should have an extended version to tell a fuller story. It is such a catchy song and has been stuck in our heads since the release.
Wake up babes, Swift gave us a song that you can pretend you’re the main character to. “Suburban Legends” is becoming the underrated vault song which is CRIMINAL. It has a top tier bridge and lyrics like “And you kiss me in a way that’s going to screw me up forever.” Wow. Ouch. It would have BROKE Tumblr in 2014 if it had been released on the initial recording.
Is It Over Now?
The best performing and fan favorite vault track, and for good reason. It’s another example of her classic detailed songwriting. Out of all the songs on 1989, this is the most damning one for Harry Styles. Nearly every lyric is cutting. For example, in the second verse, she sings, “red blood, white snow,” referring to a snowmobile accident she and Styles were involved in (also referenced in “Out of the Woods”). Then she immediately follows that up with, “blue dress on a boat.” For the unaware, in 2013, supposedly taken shortly after breaking up with Styles while on vacation, a paparazzi photo leaked of Swift in a blue dress sitting sadly on a boat pulling away from the dock. As if it could get even more intense than that, she launches into the bridge, where she sings about having “the decency to keep (her) nights out of sight,” the “rumors of (her) hips and thighs and whispered sighs” (sung in a super satisfying way), and thinking “of jumping off of very tall something’s just to see (him) come running.” OUCH! And to top it off, there’s this line: “You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor.” Safe to say “Style (Taylor’s Version) (Feat. Harry Styles)” is not coming out anytime soon.
Bad Blood (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
Released as a remix to Bad Blood originally and then as part of the streaming-only “Deluxe” edition, this cuts Swift’s verses and replaces them with new ones, rapped by Kendrick Lamar. This is superior to the original because of its more complex production (the low synths? Hello??), and for Lamar’s iconic ad-lib during the bridge, “You forgive, you forget, but you never let it go.”
Upon release, Swift’s original “1989” era felt like her peak as an artist. “1989” signified her first reinvention from her shift from country music to pop, and it broke records, stereotypes of women in music and how people worldwide view Swift and her music. “1989 (Taylor’s Version) felt like a new life was breathed into her original album. The vault tracks released gave new depth to the album with a newfound heartache within this era. Overall, we thought that this album was a strong rerelease, with many songs being almost indistinguishable from the original. Swift, you have outdone yourself yet again.