Sunday, March 3, 2024

Album review: “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” will exceed your “Wildest Dreams”

MosaicAlbum review: “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” will exceed your “Wildest Dreams”

Co-Managing Mosaic Editor

On Oct. 27, another one of Taylor Swift’s first six albums finally got “Out of the Woods” as she released the fourth installment of her re-recording project:

World, meet “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”

Originally released in 2014, “1989” marked Swift’s first full-length pop album, making headlines not only because she fully dropped her country roots for the project, but also because it was a massive mainstream radio success. Do “Blank Space,” “Style,” “Shake It Off,” “Bad Blood,” “Wildest Dreams” and “Welcome to New York,” ring any bells? They might – they are all tracks on “1989,” and their domination of the Billboard charts greatly contributed to the album becoming Swift’s best-selling to date.

“1989” is an iconic era in Swift’s discography, as it embodies her moving from the country to the city, chopping off her signature long hair, embracing the female friendships in her life (in contrast to the media’s constant focus on her love life) and welcoming the fun of adulthood.

Needless to say, Swifties (myself included) have highly anticipated the release of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” – and the album does not disappoint.

With this new release, I am finally able to enjoy my favorite “1989” songs like “New Romantics,” “Out of the Woods” and “This Love” guilt-free because I know that “(Taylor’s Version)” means Swift owns the master recording herself. (The same cannot be said for the 2014 version of the album, which was bought and sold out from under her by her former management.)

As far as pop albums go, I think “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is a 10/10 — and that’s coming from a former pop hater (yes, Swift even converted me). Not only does it showcase Swift’s ability to tell stories through her songs; the album proves that she knows what makes a radio hit. She stays true to herself and her experiences while expertly channeling them into catchy “This is going to be stuck in my head all week” lyrics.

“1989” was bound to be a chart-topper. But “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” sees the successful Swift of 2014 collide with the earthquake-causing Swift of 2023, making the new album that much better.

Along with the 16 songs from the original deluxe version, Swift adds five new “[From The Vault],” which were previously unreleased. She even re-recorded her old fan-favorite single, “Bad Blood (feat. Kendrick Lamar).” However, the new “Vault” tracks make you feel how much time has passed since 2014.

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” embodies four different genres of music (which is what mainly contributes to my 10/10 rating): the romantic ballads reminiscent of songs that brought Swift fame in the first place (“This Love” and “You Are In Love”), pop hits that everyone has heard (“Shake It Off,” “Style,” “Bad Blood”), songs die-hard Swifties swear by (“New Romantics,” “Clean,” “Out of the Woods”) and songs that really sound like 2023 Swift’s version of pop (all of the “Vault” tracks).

In other words, this album is as well-rounded as it gets.

The “Vault” tracks (my favorites of which are “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version)” and “Slut! (Taylor’s Version)”) really tie the whole project together. They sound like they could have easily been songs on “Midnights,” Swift’s most recent pop album from 2022. Unlike Swift replicating her original “1989” tracks in a similar fashion, the “Vault” songs provide a stage for her 33-year-old voice and style to shine through.

My one complaint? There’s no new remix of “Style” featuring Harry Styles. But that was a long shot of a dream anyway.

I think anyone, Swiftie or not, can find a song they love in this album. And if you don’t love it, its tracks will probably be stuck in your head anyway. And to the veteran Swifites that may notice (and not like) how the introductory guitar riff of “Style (Taylor’s Version)” is slightly different from the original, I say this: Don’t be such a stickler! I know this is a re-recording, but you can’t expect Swift to make an exact replica. Where’s the fun in that?

Go give the album a listen. And if you’re ever — I mean ever — in need of a song to keep you awake during your early morning drive to work, trust me when I say that “New Romantics (Taylor’s Version)” is the song for you.




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