Taylor Swift Shakes It Off With ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’
Taylor Swift’s fourth rerecording, “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” was released Friday, Oct. 27, marking nine years since the original release of “1989” in 2014. The album contains 21 tracks on the standard edition and 22 tracks on the Target and Deluxe versions; the Target edition includes “Sweeter Than Fiction (Taylor’s Version)” while the Deluxe version, an online exclusive, includes “Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version) [feat. Kendrick Lamar].”
With every rerecording, as with any album from Swift, there is an album prologue. The four (Taylor’s Version) albums have included commentary on the process of recording the albums, observations of the songs, and acknowledgements toward the fans. The prologue for 1989 (Taylor’s Version) is especially notable as Swift speaks about a topic she has historically shied away from: theories about her love life regarding her female friends. After swearing off dating, Swift says, she focused on female friendships.
“If I only hung out with my female friends, people couldn’t sensationalize or sexualize that—right?” Swift writes, “I would learn later on that people could and people would.” While this is not necessarily a condemnation or confrontation about so-called “shippers” (people who think Swift is in relationships with friends or former flames), it continues Swift’s annoyance at those who treat her writing as a convoluted game of Guess Who rather than what it is: art.
The aspect of the rerecordings intended to entice people to listen to (Taylor’s Version) rather than the originals is the Vault, something that fans have delighted in. Each rerecording includes a number of songs “From The Vault,” which indicates that these songs were intended for the original album but did not make the album for whatever reason. “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” has five vault tracks, the least of any rerecording; they are titled “SLUT!,” “Say Don’t Go,” “Now That We Don’t Talk,” “Suburban Legends,” and “Is It Over Now?.”
“SLUT!” subverted many fans’ expectations, especially when placed in the context of the voice memo released on Tumblr. Originally, this track was the alternate choice for track two; track two ended up being “Blank Space” instead. Both songs include nods to the media’s “boy crazy” persona of Swift, but while “Blank Space” is 3:51 of biting satire, “SLUT!” is a dreamy love song, accepting the fate that comes with a new relationship.
“Say Don’t Go” was co-written by music legend Diane Warren, known for songs such as Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” and Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me.” A slow ballad, “Say Don’t Go” details Swift’s desperate pleas to a lover who doesn’t return her energy. “Say Don’t Go” was announced via Google after fans completed 33 million word scrambles.
“Now That We Don’t Talk” is a punchy pop song reveling in both the heartache of losing someone and the celebration of newfound personhood. She is an observer on the outside of her ex-lover’s life, she can’t even be their friend because of the way the relationship ended. It includes nods to Andrea Swift, Taylor’s mother and best friend.
The penultimate track “From The Vault” is “Suburban Legends,” another track about the effects of fame on love. This track contains possible references to other tracks on the album, specifically “I Wish You Would” and “Style.”
The final track of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is the scathing, upbeat song, “Is It Over Now?” To casual fans, it may seem like a song that would fit perfectly on the original album, but Swifties who experienced the first 1989 era can see exactly why it wasn’t included. The song includes explicit references to an ex-lover, chastising them for infidelity and miscommunication.
With two rerecordings left and months of touring in 2024, fans look forward to what Swift has up her sleeve. Some believe that Swift’s eleventh studio album might be in the cards for 2024.