Swifties and critics alike have been raving about Taylor Swift’s latest re-recorded album release, “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”
Growing up during the height of “1989,” I consider myself a fan of the acclaimed album.
I vividly remember the excitement that I felt whilst watching the music videos for “Blank Space” and “Wildest Dreams” as a child. So when Taylor Swift announced “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” on the closing night of The Eras Tour, I felt the same excitement as I did almost a decade ago.
However, the new song recordings don’t quite live up to the original.
The success of Swift’s original “1989” album marked a major turning point in her career as she shifted from a country music singer into a pop star. At the time of its release in 2014, Swift marketed the album as her first official pop album.
Following its release, “1989” became immensely popular and topped the Billboard 200 at No. 1 and remained in the top 10 albums list for an entire year. The album also landed Swift 10 Grammy nominations and 3 Grammy awards, including Album of the Year in 2016.
I still consider “1989” to be Swift’s best pop album to date, which makes the lackluster re-recording even more disappointing to me.
Following the satisfying execution of “Red (Taylor’s Version),” my hopes were high for the rest of Swift’s re-recordings. I was especially excited to hear her newly developed versions of “Speak Now” and “1989” but neither delivered the memorable era that “Red” did.
With impressive vault tracks and much-improved production, “Red (Taylor’s Version),” felt like a love letter to the original “Red.” As a way to celebrate its initial launch, Swift performed on Saturday Night Live and released a short film for “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).”
The album rollout for “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was iconic as fans were ecstatic to be receiving such special treatment from the singer-songwriter, especially through the release of her new vault tracks.
“1989 (Taylor’s Version),” on the other hand, was hardly promoted by Swift and her team on social media.
In addition to the lack of live performances and music videos, the only actual promo that was done for the album was a few Instagram posts asking fans to pre-order and pre-save the album on streaming services.
With this all being said, the new album felt rushed and more like a money grab, which goes completely against Swift’s original intentions for these recordings.
The re-recorded tracks on “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” are simply inferior to the originals and this is likely due to the harsh differences in production.
In my opinion, “New Romantics” and “Style” were both butchered by poor production and vocal mixing. The new versions of these songs messed up the original beats and made Swift’s voice sound a lot quieter than the rest of the production.
This could partially be because Swift did not work on the project with the original producers of “1989.” Instead, she opted to re-record the album with her longtime friend and fellow collaborator Jack Antonoff.
Antonoff worked on Swift’s latest album, “Midnights,” which seems to shine through a majority of the new vault tracks on the “1989” re-recording.
Although they are admittedly catchy songs, tracks such as “Suburban Legends” and “Now That We Don’t Talk” sound like they were pulled directly from “Midnights” rather than “1989.”
Despite my complaints concerning “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” there were still a couple of tracks that I did happen to enjoy, such as “I Know Places,” “Out Of The Woods” and “Wonderland.”
These tracks sounded the most similar to their original recordings and that helped restore some of my faith in Antonoff’s overall production.
Swift has proved time and time again that she can put out an impressive re-recorded album, so it is upsetting that “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” failed to do so.
For her final two re-recordings, “Reputation” and “Taylor Swift,” one can only hope that she will make a stellar comeback.