Taylor Swift’s 1989, an album so nice I bought it twice. I may actually go in on buying it a third time later with a digital copy. Arguably her best album, though fans will of course argue over that until the end of time, it’s certainly my favorite Taylor Swift Album. I have them all, and I’ve listened to them all, quite a lot. Taylor Swift ranks quite high on my Last.fm all-time scrobbles (#4 I believe). The original version of this album, 1989, is carrying a lot of the blame for that.
The recent release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) is the 4th re-release of this style. In case you’re not aware of the whole situation, the general gist is that after her 6th album, Reputation, Taylor left her original record label, Big Machine. For whatever reason, they refused to sell her the rights to the masters of her songs. She still owned the rights to the songs, just, not the original recordings. Rights are weird man. So a few years ago, on the new label, she started effectively re-releasing those albums, each subtitled, “(Taylor’s Version)”. Previously, we have gotten, Fearless, Speak Now, and Red. I can’t imagine Reputation and the original self-titled album Taylor Swift, can’t be that far behind.
These are not straight re-releases though. Due to the nature of it all, it’s all been freshly re-recorded. This is actually a lot more obvious with albums like Fearless and Speak Now, which are quite a bit less “twangy” in the (Taylor’s Version) releases. There is definitely a cleaner sound for the 1989 Re-recording, but it’s much closer to the original. Another aspect of all of these releases however is the inclusion of additional tracks, or “From the Vault”. 1989 is a bit lighter on these tracks than the previous albums with only 5 Vault Tracks, but it does include the three tracks originally only on the Deluxe edition of the original release (which is what I had previously, on CD).
I don’t plan to rack up Taylor Swift Vinyls like other artists I like, but as 1989 is my favorite Swift album, I’ve opted for the Vinyl release on this one, specifically the green edition. I’ll probably pick up the digital FLAC version eventually like I’ve done for the previous Taylor’s Version albums, (everything else is on CD), but for now, Spotify works for regular listening.
The album itself is nice, the records themselves on this edition are a nice light green color. When opened there is a nice spread of photos, with a record on each half inside. Each of the sleeves has the song lyrics scrawled across them. The box also contained a few small paper stars for some reason. Like large confetti pieces. Part of the reason I picked this version was also because I like the front image on this cover better than the normal edition release (which I think has blue records).
There are way too many tracks to cover all of them, and frankly, I’m not a super fan of doing that style of write-up anyway. I’ll just say that I do enjoy pretty much every track though, which shouldn’t be surprising since I’ve essentially heavily implied it’s kind of a top-tier album on my list of favorite albums. Instead I’ll touch on some of my favorites. I’ll just start off and throw out there that probably the most popular tracks on the album, Shake it Off, and Bad Blood, are probably my least favorites on the album. I like both, but they are kind of low on my list.
Probably my favorite track on the album is Style. I really love the low-key even flow of this track. It has a really nice running beat going through it. I also really like its follow up Out of the Woods. The little story it tells along the way is fun, I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, and it has some really fun builds and falls through its run.
Another one that’s high on my list is Wildest Dreams. I love the airy feel of this one, and it also has a good feel that reminds me of Style. One of the Vault Tracks I can see becoming a favorite as well for this reason, Is it Over Now? really reminds me of Style as well. I have no idea of the writing process behind these, but I could actually see Style and Is It Over Now? as having the same root, and it was maybe decided to only keep one on the original release.
The last track I want to mention on my list is New Romantics. It was originally only on the Deluxe release of the album, I really love the theme and build-ups on this track. The little break moments with the “Ahhh ah ahhh ahh”s. It’s also frankly, kind of a better anthem of “Don’t sweat the small stuff” than “Shake it Off” is.
For the sake of mentioning another of the Vault Tracks, I’ll mention “Slut!” I suppose, which seemed to be sort of getting pushed as a release signal. It’s an alright track, but it’s a bit slow for my tastes these days. It’s definitely a slower, almost plodding track than a lot of the others, though the overall feel does fit with the other tracks of 1989.
All in all, the album is still great. It doesn’t add quite as much as the previous Taylor’s Versions, but it was already such a strong album it would be kind of hard to add much.