Taylor Swift enthusiasts eagerly flocked to experience the newly re-recorded rendition of her pivotal album, “1989,” marking a notable moment in her ongoing mission to reclaim control over her earlier works. The release stirred such fervor among Swifties that technical glitches emerged on certain streaming platforms, a phenomenon widely documented across social media. Swift’s strategic re-recordings, aimed at regaining ownership of her musical catalog, have become a recurring theme. Notably, the revisited version of the 2014 chart-topper not only features beloved hits like “Shake It Off” but also introduces five previously unheard tracks from that era. Among these, a track named “Is It Over Now?” has fueled intense speculation, particularly due to its candid lyrics addressing an ex-boyfriend as a “lying traitor.” Swift’s musical journey continues to captivate both fans and the curious, creating a buzz around the uncovering of hidden narratives within her re-recorded classics.
Swift’s original “1989” album catapulted her into bona fide superstardom, clinching the coveted Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The genesis of her mission to revisit and reclaim her musical legacy traces back to 2019 when music mogul Scooter Braun acquired the rights to her previous recordings. The most recent chapter in this ongoing project unfolded with the release of the re-recorded album at 05:00 BST on Friday. Such was the enthusiasm among fans that, at one point, the surge in demand momentarily overwhelmed platforms like Apple Music and Spotify, resulting in reports of brief disruptions. The fervent response underscores the resilience of Swift’s fanbase and the significance of her quest to regain control over her artistic repertoire.
What is the new song like?
The new additions to the re-recorded “1989” offer a glimpse into Taylor Swift’s creative process, but they may not quite match the polished allure of the album’s original tracks. Despite Swift having initially recorded over 100 songs for the 2014 release, only five have made it to this revamped edition. In contrast to previous re-releases featuring extensive bonus material, these additions, including tracks like “Slut!”, Say Don’t Go, Now That We Don’t Talk, Suburban Legends, and Is It Over Now?, come across as somewhat experimental. The melodies lack the crispness, and the lyrics don’t quite reach the sharpness of the finalized selections. Notably, Suburban Legends contains a line that some might find clunky, referencing letting a partner’s indiscretions slide “like a hose on a slippery plastic summer.” It’s an interesting exploration into Swift’s creative archives, offering fans a nuanced perspective on the evolution of the iconic album.
“Slut!” has stirred considerable intrigue with its provocative title, but the song takes a thematic turn akin to Blank Space. It addresses the media’s portrayal of Taylor’s relationships with lyrics like, “But if I’m all dressed up / They might as well be lookin’ at us / And if they call me a slut / You know it might be worth it for once.”
Among the new tracks, “Is It Over Now” emerges as a standout. Infused with a palpable anger, it offers a contrasting take on the philosophical breakup songs of “1989.” The song delves into the Harry Styles snowmobile incident, a narrative echoed in “Out Of The Woods,” and intriguingly references the “Sad Taylor Boat” meme—a photo capturing Taylor’s solo retreat after a breakup. This nuanced exploration adds a layer of depth to Swift’s storytelling, connecting her music with real-life moments and fan-driven narratives.
In “Is It Over Now,” Taylor Swift pulls no punches, labeling an ex as a “lying traitor” and shedding light on their publicized new relationships, humorously noting a pattern in their choice of partners resembling her. Lines like “If she’s got blue eyes, I will surmise that you’ll probably date her” have fueled speculation among fans, pointing to Harry Styles as the likely inspiration for the song.
The exclusive collaboration with Jack Antonoff on the new tracks raises questions about potential rights issues with the songs co-written with Max Martin. Notably absent from the re-recordings, Max Martin’s influence leaves the vault tracks steeped in the dreamy, soft-focus atmospherics reminiscent of “Out Of The Woods,” rather than the bold pop stylings of “Shake It Off.” This shift in production adds a distinctive touch to Swift’s revisitation of her musical archives.
How else does Taylor’s Version compare?
Taylor’s Version has garnered praise as an “impeccable remake” of her stellar album, with The Telegraph hailing it as a flawless recreation enriched by five clever new songs. Neil McCormick’s five-star review underscores the album’s remarkable similarity to the 2014 version, which marked Taylor’s transition from country sweetheart to pop idol. While the remade album preserves the essence of her younger self, subtle changes emerge. Swift’s voice exhibits a deeper and richer timbre, and her singing flows with increased smoothness on the new tracks, offering a nuanced reflection of her artistic evolution over the past decade.
High acclaim for the extended recording of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” continues, with The Times’ Will Hodgkinson awarding it five stars and deeming it “a triumph,” emphasizing the newfound interest in unheard vault tracks. Hodgkinson highlights “Slut!” as a classic Swiftian love song, characterized by its winsome yet troubled nature, maintaining Swift’s signature blend of sincerity and playfulness.
Financial Times critic Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, previously reconsidering the significance of Swift’s “magnum opus,” acknowledges the album’s portrayal of the exhilarating and error-strewn phase of young adulthood within the framework of perfect pop songs. The addition of tracks that didn’t make it to the original album further explores the theme of love affairs gone awry, enhancing the narrative depth of “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” The critical acclaim underscores the enduring impact and resonance of Swift’s musical journey.
Why has she released a new version?
Taylor Swift’s decision to release new versions of her albums, starting with “Fearless” and now “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” is a strategic move in her ongoing campaign to reclaim control of her musical catalog. The initiative was sparked by the acquisition of her former label Big Machine by music mogul Scooter Braun, whom she accused of “bullying” and attempting to dismantle her musical legacy. This situation, labeled by Swift as her “worst-case scenario,” escalated when Braun sold her master tapes to an investment fund.
To regain ownership of her recordings, Swift has undertaken the process of re-recording and re-releasing her first six albums, branding them as “Taylor’s Versions.” This approach ensures that, under the terms of her new record deal, Swift holds the rights to these recordings. The first three re-releases—Fearless, Red, and Speak Now—achieved chart-topping success in the UK. With the recent release of 1989, only two albums, Taylor Swift and Reputation, are left to complete her mission of reclaiming artistic control over her entire discography.