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The Student News Site of Brentwood High School

The Nest

The Student News Site of Brentwood High School

The Nest

Coming Clean About 1989 (Taylor’s Version)

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I handwrote my initial reactions to 1989 (Taylor’s Version).

October 27, 2023, was a big day for lots of people, including Five Nights at Freddy’s fans, but also anyone who is a fan of Taylor Swift. On Friday at midnight, the world-famous artist dropped her fourth re-recorded album, a “Taylor’s Version” of 1989. For those of you who don’t know, Swift is currently in the process of re-recording her first six studio albums. This way, she will be able to own the copyrights to her own songs, after having switched record labels in 2018.

With 1989 being one of her most popular albums, fans were very pumped for this re-release, especially because Swift announced she was going to drop 5 new songs along with the re-recordings. As a Taylor Swift enthusiast and someone who grew up listening to the original 1989 album, I knew immediately that this was going to be one of my favorite “Taylor’s Version” albums. As I have done for the last five Taylor Swift albums, I stayed up to count down the seconds to the release and listened to the album as soon as it came out. This way I was able to form my own opinions about the songs before being influenced by anyone else’s.

Without further ado, I present to you my own opinions on 1989 (Taylor’s Version):

Overall, I thought this re-release was fantastic. The production quality has definitely improved on these songs from 2014 to now, and Swift has added lots of new little details to the songs that I love. She did an excellent job at keeping the passion and catchy pop of the original tracks.

I was pleasantly surprised that “Shake It Off” and “Bad Blood” (two songs I previously didn’t listen to a lot because I thought they were mediocre and overplayed) ended up being so good.

I am, for the most part, very satisfied with these re-recorded songs, especially my previous favorites like “Clean,” “I Know Places,” and “Out of the Woods.” I was a major fan of these songs before, but Swift has somehow made them even better in this re-record!

However, I do want to talk about two songs that frankly, I was a little bit disappointed in.

“Style” sounded a little more robotic and auto-tuned than I was expecting, and of course, her vocals nine years later are going to be different, but something about the new track felt … off. Of course, I am a “Style” superfan and grew up listening to the original song hundreds of times over, so these things are only noticeable upon careful analysis, and if I listen to “Style (Taylor’s Version)” less closely it does sound practically identical to the original. I’d still give it an 8/10. 

The other song that I was also slightly let down by is “New Romantics.” Similar to my critiques on “Style,” I thought it sounded a little stiff and lackluster – it was missing some of the original enthusiasm. My biggest issue with it is the sequence of ah ah-ah ah!s that echo before the chorus kicks in. I loved them in the original, but they sound vastly different in the new version, with more of a robotic feel and less vitality. Plus, there was something about the vocals that almost sounded like she was bored. Again, I came to these conclusions after a very close listen, so unless you were really picking the song apart, it’s hard to tell the difference between this and the original. I am unfortunately giving it a 7/10, as compared to the original which I think is 10/10. 

Of course, there would be less enthusiasm around the Taylor’s Version releases if it was all just the same songs as before – that’s why, with each re-record, Swift has released new ‘vault’ tracks with each Taylor’s Version – songs she wrote around the time of each album, but never released.

This new version of 1989 has thus far had the least vault tracks, with five, but the fact that I think these might be my favorite vault tracks of all time makes up for it! I loved every single one of these. She started off with:

“Slut!” 

When the title of this track was released, I fully expected this song to have a Blank Space, Sabrina-Carpenter-vibe and be a sarcastic, upbeat feminist pop anthem. Instead, it’s a dreamy, echoey melody with a Lana-Del-Ray-esque influence.

It’s a sweet, heartfelt love song on the surface, but digging deeper, it’s very empowering – Swift was a magnet for slut-shaming in her early career and into her 20s, and by echoing the word several times throughout this light and hazy track, Swift is taking back the bricks they threw at her, so to speak.

I love that for her. The lyricism in this song is stunning, per usual. The imagery she paints as she starts the song, singing, “flamingo pink, Sunrise Boulevard…aquamarine, moonlit swimming pool” is beautifully dreamlike. It speeds up a bit to the pre-chorus, continuing, “Got love-struck, went straight to my head / got love-sick all over my bed.” The vocals are angelic and this song will definitely be stuck in my head for the next several weeks. It feels like the little sister of the Midnights song “Snow on the Beach.” This gets a 9/10. 

Say Don’t Go

I was enamored with this song right from the start. The melody felt a little similar to “Clean” and the Speak Now vault track, “I Can See You”, two songs I absolutely love. The verse starts out slow and builds – so I started to think the beat would drop and it’d be a peppy, pop-y chorus, but instead, the vocals paused for a split second, then melted into a beautiful slow pre-chorus that led into a super catchy and super emotionally wrenching chorus. “Why’d you have to lead me on? Why’d you have to twist the knife? Walk away and leave me bleedin’, bleedin’?” she sings in a cadence that mirrors the Midnights bonus tracks “You’re Losing Me” and “Hits Different”. I immediately knew this would be one of my favorite vault songs. I am all for a painful but upbeat, dreamy-but-catchy track like this one. What really sealed the deal was the perfect moment during the bridge, where she nearly screams, “I said “I love you,” / you say nothing back” and then everything – the instrumentation, the vocals, everything – stops, for a mere three seconds, before kicking back up again into the chorus. It was painfully effective and amazing. This song gets a 10/10.

Now That We Don’t Talk

This track immediately began with a sparkly instrumentation that was strikingly similar to the Midnights song “Mastermind.” The vocals were echoey and paced at just the right speed, similar to “Say Don’t Go”. As she draws closer to the chorus, she crawls up a scale of notes with the line, “I called my mom, she said that it was for the best”. This track was wistfully painful and jealous, and I loved it, but it was nothing super unique compared to her other songs. My one qualm with it is that it seemed far too short – cutting off after a mere two and a half minutes. Besides that, it was stunning. It gets an 8/10.

Suburban Legends

This song sounded very similar to the other tracks – dreamy, echoey, yet still upbeat and catchy. Swift has beautiful vocals, as always. Though the rhyme scheme of this song seemed a little more simple than what Swift usually puts out, the lyrics in this song were some of my favorites – especially the heartbreaking “I broke my own heart because you were too polite to do it.

To be honest, I feel like the melody sounded like it was building up to something that never happened, and the chorus and bridge could have gone crazier — I felt that she was holding back.

Still, it was a lovely track. 8/10.

Is It Over Now? 

The beginning of this song was wildly different than the others – and I loved it. After a 20-second intro of slow, intentional instrumentation, and a subtle cacophony of soft sounds including an echoey, underwater-muffled yelp, and a quiet male voice saying, “Hey!”, she starts singing the first verse, slowly. I was unsure about this track at first, but as soon as it approached the pre-chorus, I fell in love. “Let’s fast forward to three hundred takeout coffees later,” she sings over catchy mallets and drums. Things got even better at the bridge of the song – “Think I didn’t see you? There were flashing lights / at least I had the decency to keep my nights out of sight,” she continues as most of the instruments disappear for a couple of seconds, then kicks up into a driving, steady melody that will for sure get stuck in my head many times in the future. I have already listened to this song multiple times and somehow the striking lyrics and dreamy synth background get better each time. Swift really killed this one. It’s my absolute favorite. 10/10.

All this to say, if you haven’t given 1989 (Taylor’s Version) a listen yet, you absolutely should. Swift wasn’t kidding when she mentioned in an Instagram caption that this was one of her best re-records. If you’re a fan of pop music and soul-stunning lyrics, this is an album that 100% should be in your playlist. Happy listening!

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About the Contributor
Haven White
Haven White, Staff Reporter
Haven White is a senior at BHS. She is an extreme theater kid and wants to become a teacher in the future. She loves traveling, listening to music, writing poetry, and Starbucks. In her free time, she enjoys doing cool makeup looks and rewatching Mean Girls for the hundredth time. This is her third year on the Journalism staff.

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