Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

On Thursday, Oct. 26 at exactly 11 p.m., dozens of Swifties piled into the KRLX Record Libe to commemorate Taylor Swift’s newest release, “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” For over an hour, I, with my fellow fans, sang, danced and sat in utter silence as we overanalyzed every lyric of the new “Vault” tracks and listened for the changes in sound mixing of the songs that we knew.

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is the fourth album from her original discography that Swift has re-recorded, following “Fearless,” “Red” and “Speak Now.” Swift originally signed with Big Machine Records for her first six albums before severing ties with the label and signing with her current label, Republic Records.

“1989” was initially released in 2014 to glowing reviews as Taylor distanced herself from her country music past and entered an era of 80s-inspired pop. This album holds a large amount of childhood nostalgia for me. I vividly remember the first time I heard “1989” in my fourth grade classroom and became enchanted by Swift.

So with this new release comes new surprises for Swifties everywhere, and as a committed fan, here are my takes on “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”

First things first: the “1989” re-recording is by far my favorite. I understand why these songs might not have made the original album, considering many of them have a very different vibe than the album as a whole, but Swift shows genuine lyrical talent through these songs.

To start with the re-recordings, “Slut!” was quite a surprise. I, along with many other fans, expected this song to be a rageful breakup song. Instead, it is a beautiful love song. I find this song to be particularly interesting because Swift’s reclaiming the word “slut” is something that you would not expect from the singer that Swift was in 2014. It therefore wouldn’t be that surprising to think that this song was written and then cut from “1989” because it isn’t as PG as her general brand was at the time. The release of “Slut!” shows Swift’s increased creative liberty under Republic Records.

In a heart-wrenching shift, “Say Don’t Go” highlights Swift’s ability to convey emotion with her lyrics. Unlike “Slut!”, this song sounded about how I expected it to. The peppy backtracks are quite representative of “1989.” That being said, I think this song could fit in quite well in Swift’s most recent album “Midnights,” which brings together themes from many of her other pop albums.

Continuing with songs that are reminiscent of “Midnights,” “Now That We Don’t Talk” begins with percussion that I find to be a blend of both “Lavender Haze” and “Maroon.” Currently sitting second on Spotify’s Top 50 US songs, this clearly has become a fan favorite, and for good reason. I think that this song pulls off the perfect combination of peppy lyrics along with a catchy tune that made it viral on TikTok and other social media.

Full transparency, “Suburban Legends” is my least favorite song from the vault tracks. It doesn’t tell a very interesting story, and it doesn’t sound as good as the other tracks. However, this song does sound the most characteristically “1989” out of all the other vault tracks, and I do think it brings the slight feeling of Americana that “1989”’s branding provokes with beaches, seagulls and songs such as “Welcome to New York.” Also, what is more American than the suburbs? But I digress. As a diehard “Reputation” and “Folklore” fan, this song is nothing to write home about, but I think it is quite cohesive with the album as a whole.

In terms of production quality, I find “Is It Over Now?” to be one of Swift’s best works. Again, this song is quite reminiscent of “Midnights,” but with the lyricism I expect from “Folklore.” In my opinion, Swift is best at writing soul-crushing music, and this song is a prime example. Observant fans also are likely to realize that this song is most likely about Swift’s ex Harry Styles. Before the album’s release, there was a large amount of speculation that Styles could be featured in the album. This song shows that that was far from the truth. The song rips Styles (or whoever this song is written about) to shreds. I cannot wait for her to sing this acoustically as a surprise song at some point: hearing her and her lyrics alone will be quite moving.

And with that, there are the five new songs that were included in the rerecording of 1989. Swift has still yet to re-record “Taylor Swift” (sometimes called “Debut”) and “Reputation.” In the meantime, she continues to tour for The Eras Tour.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *