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The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

Revisiting Taylor Swift’s Evolution: ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’

Image from Spotify

“You forgive, you forget, but you never let it go” — this infamous chant from the hit “Bad Blood” is known to every Taylor Swift fan, and it’s a motto that the singer-songwriter lives by. This is best exemplified as she takes ownership of her tracks after losing her original songs to media executive Scooter Braun.  

In October 2023, the popstar released the re-recorded version of her 2014 album “1989,” complete with bonus “From The Vault” songs. After a spate of success, she broke records yet again, as “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” became the most streamed album of the year in just the last three months. Swift outdid herself again by shattering her own record for becoming the most streamed artist in the first 24 hours of the record’s release.  

The original “1989” was a pivotal moment in Swift’s journey, highlighting a new era. At 24 years old, Swift underwent a notable transformation, accompanied by a fresh haircut and a bold move to a new environment — New York City. This transformative period was encapsulated in the opening track “Welcome to New York,” allowing listeners to experience this new transformation and love for the city with her.  

The album was a musical tapestry encompassing new beginnings, love, getting over ex-lovers, and the poignant journey of moving on through different lenses, as we see that in her songs like “Style,” “Wonderland,” and “Clean.” In re-releasing the album, Swift delves into a trip of nostalgia, recalling the emotions and memories tied to the original record — for both herself and her fans. But has she managed to replicate the essence of the original 1989 album, or did she accidentally hit the brakes on its magic? 

As I reminisced about her old songs, the memory of hearing “Wonderland” for the first time came rushing back; this song was an exhilarating experience, but not a song you should drive to unless you fancy a speeding ticket. Nevertheless, the new album failed me.  

Her re-recordings exhibit a remarkable level of clarity, cleanliness, and smoothness, surpassing the original versions. Some songs, however, were obviously different, whether because of subtle production changes or the absence of the youthful mania and raw emotion in her voice that she brought to the music in her mid-20s. The re-recordings of “New Romantics” and “Style” felt most disappointing to me, but that’s only if you meticulously compare each version to the other.  

At times, the songs do not convey the same pop punch that the original versions do, feeling somewhat emotionless in their delivery and overly clean. The vault tracks, on the other hand, made up for the lack of the original emotional experience.  

The song ““Slut!” (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” was predicted to have a vengeful vibe based on its title, like her 2017 “reputation” album, but the name of the song was clickbait. Lyrics such as “In a world full of boys, he’s a gentleman” were heartwarming, and I couldn’t help but say, “Aww!” when I heard those. The slow, twinkly, and hazy quality of the song was quite a shock. The track also topped Spotify charts, securing the top spot of the list in the United States. 

Even if the new versions of “Wonderland” and “Style” did not live up to my expectations, the vault tracks made up for them. Swift has yet to reveal when the final two re-recordings of the albums she made while signed with Big Machine Records — her 2006 eponymous self-titled album and “reputation” — will arrive. I can’t wait! 

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Shreyal Sharma, Business Manager
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