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"1989 (Taylor's Version)"

Review: "1989 (Taylor's Version)" is Taylor Swift's best re-recording yet

Welcome back to 2014, because “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is here, and it’s everything you could dream of. Taylor Swift, who announced in 2019 she would be re-recording her first six albums, just dropped the re-recorded version of her 2014 GRAMMY-winning album, 1989, on Oct. 27. 

The project was announced back on Aug. 9 on her final stop of the Eras Tour at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The sold-out crowd, and an extensive number of fans watching through livestreams, witnessed Swift donning a new blue dress (1989’s color according to the pop star) as she announced the release date of “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”

Known for leaving clues in her music and her love of numerology, even the date Swift announced the album was clearly significant. In a video of the announcement on Youtube, Swift said, “In the eighth month of the year, on the ninth day of the eighth month,” just before the screen behind her showed an image of the album cover and release date.

The album features all 16 of the tracks from the 2014 release, plus four previously-unheard “From The Vault” tracks on the standard “Taylor’s Version."

Album Highs

Anyone around in 2014 will remember the remix of Swift’s earworm track “Bad Blood” featuring Kendrick Lamar, which fans were unsure would be part of the re-recording process. But, on the morning of Oct. 27, Swift posted to Instagram announcing a deluxe version of the album on streaming that would feature the re-recorded remix. Just as much as it was in 2014, Lamar’s verses on “Bad Blood” not only make the song better, but are an absolute necessity on an album with no other features.

It would be impossible to talk about “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” and not gush over the Vault tracks. Even as an album that was rumored to have over 150 songs written for it, “1989” always felt like an album that was perfect as it was. But the four Vault tracks that made it to this “Taylor’s Version” add to this album in a way that brings back nostalgia from a bygone era. 

They’re all classic Swiftian earworms with lyrics that often require a double-take, but the standout moment “From The Vault” is absolutely “Now That We Don’t Talk.” Ringing in at only two minutes and twenty-six seconds, Swift’s shortest song to-date, the song chronicles the feelings after a relationship has ended between two people who just can’t stay friends. 

“I cannot be your friend, so I pay the price of what I lost/And what it cost, now that we don’t talk,” Swift sings in the chorus.

Even Swift expressed love for the uncharacteristically short song. For the release of the album, Swift released three companion explainer voice memos on Tumblr

“I think it’s the shortest song I’ve ever had, but I think it packs a punch,” Swift said. “But for the short amount of time we have, I think it makes its point.”

Album Lows

With every album release, it’s expected to find some weak spots. Especially when an artist is re-recording their old work. On past re-recordings, vocal maturation and production changes have often changed the overall experience of the album. But with “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” whether it’s due to it being the most recent album that’s been re-recorded, or an improvement after three prior re-recordings under her belt, Swift has delivered the most successful re-recording of her career so far.

Except for a few subtle discrepancies in production or note changes that only a diehard fan would notice, this re-recording is stunning. And as a fan, it can truly be endearing to hear the way Swift’s voice has changed as she sings songs I grew up singing along to.

Verdict

Swift brought her A-game to “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” whose namesake album was extremely well-received and critically-acclaimed. Its Vault tracks are the icing on the cake to a near-perfectly replicated album that will bring anyone back to 2014 a whole nine years later.

I give “1989 (Taylor’s Version)" a 10 out of 10 rating.

Ameera Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of Cellar Roots, EMU's Art Magazine. She has written news, opinions, and columns for The Echo.