Photo Credit: Taylor Swift
A Complete Rundown (Darian’s Version)
Darian Trabold, Managing Editor
Released nine years after the original, 1989 (Taylor’s Version), the fourth of Taylor Swift’s six re-recordings, left little to be desired. This album is one of my favourites and means a lot to me, especially since it was my first concert ever. Therefore, upon my first listen, I had high hopes for the new recording. Of course, I was not disappointed as certain songs really shine. I still feel like the Red (Taylor’s Version) vault tracks are the best, but the 1989 vault tracks are still incredible. I want to preface this review by saying it will rely heavily on comparing the Taylor’s Version tracks to the original ones.
“Welcome to New York”
This song sounds like what it feels like to land at JFK; not LaGuardia, not Newark, just JFK. It is a fun, upbeat album opener that does justice to the original 2014 track. It sets a solid foundation for the rest of the album.
No more “Starbucks lovers” — this track sounds clear with Swift’s mature vocals. My one issue with it is that it doesn’t seem to carry the same emotion as the original version. Taylor doesn’t seem to transmit the same kind of rage, which was also an issue I felt with “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).”
Right off the bat, I freaked out… but not in a good way. The guitar sounds off to me, and it doesn’t fit well. The voice modulator used for the chorus and occasionally in the verses does not work. It sounds wrong. “Style” went from the epitome of what a pop song should be to just another decent song you listen to when you hit shuffle on a playlist.
“Out of the Woods”
I have to say I hoped for a more rock version of this song, like from the Sydney performance of the 1989 World Tour. It sounds almost identical to the original, and does not disappoint, but it is not the rock track I was hoping for. Yet her vocals are crisper and I did find myself bopping my head while listening to it.
“All You Had To Do Was Stay”
I actually like this one better than the original track. The vocals are phenomenal, the beat is fun, and overall, I vibed with this track a lot. In typical T. Swift fashion, it is upbeat despite its sad lyrics. It stands out as a solid track five.
“Shake It Off”
While “Shake It Off” sounds really good and makes me want to get up and dance, I have to confess that this song is one of my least favourite ones. Even if the re-recording made me like it a little more, I would still consider this as the worst song on this album.
“I Wish You Would”
Another solid song! In a similar way to the last few tracks, it sounds better than the original and I hope it finally gets the recognition it deserves. Her vocals are just amazing! I know I keep repeating that, but her mature vocals work great on this track and are well complemented by the drums and guitar.
I think the emotion in her voice played a large part in this song’s success. Unfortunately, I do not feel the same level of anger as in the original version. The beat is still amazing and works well with the lyrics and her voice, but this doesn’t top the version with Kendrick Lamar.
This one has been out for about a year, and I have had a little more time to appreciate it. Her vocals really shine through in this song, and it makes me smile knowing she owns her heartbeat again. The bridge and chorus are wonderful: I honestly have no other words to describe what it feels like listening to them.
“How You Get The Girl”
This is another track that has benefited from her mature vocals. However, I feel there is some sort of autotune in the chorus that clashes with the verses. It makes the whole thing sound a little off.
This song was my favourite on the original version. Taylor’s Version is incredibly beautiful and is an exponential improvement compared to the original. It sounds ethereal and angelic. It is the musical equivalent of when Belly finally chooses Conrad, the best man for her, in The Summer I Turned Pretty. I genuinely cannot describe how much I love this song.
“I Know Places”
A criminally underrated track. While its opening “I…” sounds slightly off-putting, when she says, “We run,” I ran to bow to the 1989 (Taylor’s Version) poster in my apartment. The drums sound amazing and the vocals are incredible. Overall, another hit from Swift.
I heard the beat and just started crying. I love this song. The drought is finally over because we now have this song. After listening to this, I think I am finally clean.
Her voice sounds so good on this track. The pre-chorus is engaging and I bopped my head while listening. The bridge had me screaming. This was one of the songs that improved a lot from the original version.
“You Are In Love”
This one sounds so good I literally sobbed when I heard the opening note. Just like “This Love,” it has an angelic feel to it, especially in the chorus. I sure am in love with this song.
At this point, we all know about the infamous “ahh, ahh…” change. I had to play it again because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had really high hopes for this song, but it has been dragged down the way “Style” has. Its only saving grace is that the beat is incredible and makes me want to jump around and scream the lyrics.
“‘Slut!’ (From the Vault)”
I have to confess I thought this would be an empowering rock anthem; it was not. Once I got over the initial shock, I enjoyed the lyrics and mellow sound. It is definitely a cool-down song and I hate to admit it, but this might be the worst of the vault tracks.
“Say Don’t Go (From the Vault)”
The beginning sounds a lot like “Clean,” so much that you could mash up the two songs. It is a very sad piece, but I love it. The chorus seems very cheerful, yet the lyrics are sad. I was shocked to hear the bridge and I really liked the way she screamed “I love you” in the background. It really added to the “you say nothing back.”
“Now That We Don’t Talk (From the Vault)”
This song sounds like it belongs on Midnights — but in a good way. I have to stop myself from dancing every time this song comes on. It is the shortest song, but it packs a punch and contains another one of Swift’s iconic bridges.
“Suburban Legends (From the Vault)”
I do not think this track is getting the recognition it deserves. This is another one with a Midnights vibe. I like the soft beat; it matches well with her vocals. I scream the bridge in my head every time I hear it.
“Is It Over Now? (From the Vault)”
She ate and left no crumbs. This song sounds a lot like “Out of the Woods.” It starts off slow and then slaps you in the face with the chorus. The lyrics are complemented well with the beat. I cannot believe we have been denied this song for so long.
“Bad Blood (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)”
As I said earlier, I think this is the superior version of “Bad Blood” and I am grateful that Lamar came back to re-record it. “You forgive, you forget, but you never let it go” will always be iconic. Considering this is a pop track, the rap works well with the beat and the lyrics connect perfectly to the song.