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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” REVIEW: Swift brings back a fresh, stylish take of her original album

Reclaiming her voice and surprising listeners worldwide with six new captivating tracks
Scarlett Houser / Hilltop Views
“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” becomes Taylor Swift’s fourth re-released album. The album joins “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” as Swift continues efforts to regain rights to her music in ownership battle with Scooter Braun.

At midnight on Oct. 27, Taylor Swift released the long-anticipated re-recording of her first pop album, “1989.” The album, which was released exactly nine years after its initial debut date in 2014, included all of the songs that were on the original track list, along with five new tracks that did not make the original cut.

In 2020, Swift announced that she would be re-recording her first six studio albums. She decided to go through with this project as a way to gain back ownership of her music when celebrity music manager, Scott “Scooter” Braun, acquired Big Machine Records, Swift’s former record label, in a $300 million dollar deal that was made in 2019. Along with this deal, Braun gained Taylor Swift’s masters, meaning he then owned the rights to any of her music recorded before her album, “Lover.” Swift explained her frustration at the situation via Twitter and other media outlets. She also included the fact that Braun’s ownership of her music meant that he ultimately blocked her from future performances of said songs. Swift’s re-release of those albums means that she brings all of the rights and revenue made off of her songs back to her.  

Each album is generally the same as before, just re-recorded and rebranded with “Taylor’s Version” in the title. So far, she has re-released four of her six albums: “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” “Red (Taylor’s Version),” “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” and now “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”

The album opened with the track “Welcome to New York”, which has the same jaunty synth beat of the original tune and carries on throughout the entirety of the song. This re-recording feels much fresher and new, a feat most swifties can appreciate. 

The majority of the track list for the album was a one-to-one rendition of the original. The tracks were the same songs that Swifties know and love, and though some of the tunes sounded a bit different, the difference wasn’t a bad one in the slightest. Hearing familiar riffs and bridges in a new and refreshing form was nostalgic and nuanced, reflective of the current pop-queen era of Taylor Swift. I personally had a deep connection with the original album and was very much anticipating the release of this new version.

My biggest hope was that the new album would provide the same impactful feeling that the original first provided me, and it did exactly that. Back in 2014, hearing Swift’s transition from country to pop music made me respect her more as an artist because she delivered such a spectacular album considering the significant genre gap she took. She provided that same energy within this new version. 

Despite what others on social media platforms are voicing, some claiming the album sounded “cheap”, I believe that this album re-recording was a successful venture for Swift and follows up her previous three re-releases with this glorious new rendition. As I mentioned before, most of the tracks sounded a bit different from when they were initially recorded. They had a higher, cleaner definition of sound with more prominent vocals than ever before. Still, the change is not at all a negative one. The point of the re-recordings isn’t to exactly replicate the original to a “T”, but rather to reclaim her music and make the album definitively her own again. It brings the same likability that made the original album a true landmark in Swift’s career, considering it was named the Grammys’ “Album of the Year” back in 2015.

On every “Taylor’s Version” album, Swift includes tracks “from the vault,” meaning they were songs that didn’t make the final cut of the original. The six vault tracks that were added to the album were “Slut! (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” “Say Don’t Go (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” “Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” “Suburban Legends (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” and “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).” The tracks added a surprising new solace-like mood to the album, switching the original upbeat atmosphere to a deep and, admittedly, very emotional setting.

From the iconic guitar riff at the beginning of “Style” to the extraordinary opening vocals of “Out of The Woods” to bringing the hype of “Bad Blood” by collaborating once again with rapper Kendrick Lamar, this album is impossible to dislike. It leaves listeners further anticipating potential re-recordings of “Taylor Swift” and “Reputation,” the only two albums left to claim. 

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” proves that Swift is back to take what’s hers and that she will never go out of style. With that being said, this album is more than deserving of my rating of five out of five goats. 

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About the Contributor
Zemira Recio
Zemira Recio, Staff Writer
Zemira is a freshman and this is her first year being a Staff Writer for Hilltop Views. She is a political science major and aspires to become a lawyer someday. When she's not writing or doing schoolwork, her favorite past times are reading and painting.

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