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“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” Review

Taylor Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” 2023 album cover. Photo by Beth Garrabrant.

Welcome to the review of 1989 (Taylor’s Version)! In this article, we will deep dive into each bonus and vault track, going into detail of Swift’s life at the time of the song as well as the background and intricacies of each song.  


Swift released “1989” in October of 2014. She had been working on transitioning her sound from country to pop, making 1989 her first true pop album. Swift gave the album the name “1989” after the year she was born, describing the album as a rebirth of her sound. From tear-jerking metaphors to painfully honest confessions, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is the embodiment of the sonically perfect pop album. Let’s take a look at the album that helped Swift make history, as it won her Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammys for the second time. 


”Wonderland (Taylor’s Version)” 

In her 2014 song, “Wonderland,” Swift parallels one of her relationships with the hit Disney movie Alice In Wonderland. With references to the Cheshire Cat and falling down a rabbit hole, Swift is able to allude to the point that her relationship was somewhat of a fantasy. She even goes on to add how her and her partner “got lost in” Wonderland, implying that they were lost in the fantasy and no longer knew what was real. The final lines include Swift saying, “in the end, in Wonderland, we both went mad.” Swift insinuates that this fantasy drove them both crazy, but even then, there would never be another love that could amount to it. 


“You Are In Love” (Taylor’s Version) 

In the majority of her songs, Swift uses complex metaphors to describe love and her relationships, but in “You Are In Love”, she states love as simply as possible, singing about the small things within it. As the song progresses, Swift describes the course of a relationship, starting with the couple first meeting all the way through their time together. In a breathtaking chorus, Swift echoes her own voice, creating a powerful effect on the lyrics: 

“You can hear it in the silence (silence)

You can feel it on the way home (way home)

You can see it with the lights out (lights out)

You are in love, true love”

One of her sweetest love songs, the simplicity of the sound and lyrics of “You Are In Love” make it a fan favorite. Some might say it is even timeless. 


New Romantics (Taylor’s Version)

In her 2014 anthem, Swift sings about heartbreak, freedom, and living in the moment as she continues to embrace her 20’s. She cries tears of mascara in the bathroom, learns difficult lessons, and is too busy dancing to get knocked off her feet. Swift lives carefree and shuts down the haters, singing that she “can build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me”. A true party anthem, “New Romantics” never fails to get her fans on their feet and singing. Full of lessons and inspirational lyrics, this bonus track never goes out of style. 


“Sl*t (Taylor’s Version)”

As the very first vault track to appear on her album 1989 (Taylor’s Version), “Sl*t!” has a strong impact on the rest of the album. Apart from being a sincere love song, Swift’s work on “Sl*t!” has an influential message. Being a female artist in the music industry is something that Swift admits to struggling with in this unique song. She comments on the media’s consistent criticism of her by saying “And if they call me a sl*t, you know it might be worth it for once.” Swift insinuates here that calling her a sl*t is something the media does often, but she is pushing it aside in order for her to express her love publicly. Additionally, she also says “The sticks and stones they throw froze mid-air.” Swift explains that the criticisms of the media are no longer influencing her in this line, which shows incredibly emotional maturity. Commenting on her muse by saying “In a world of boys, he’s a gentleman,” Swift is also expressing that his kindness makes it easier for her to take the hate. In all, Swift communicates the idea of being indifferent to the opinions of others when it comes to love, as the only people who matter in a relationship are the ones in it. 


“Say Don’t Go (Taylor’s Version)”

In one of her most emotionally vulnerable tracks, “Say Don’t Go” never fails to tug at your heartstrings. Chock full of metaphors, Swift compares her relationship to shooting in the dark, walking on a tightrope, and a door that just won’t close. Begging her partner to stay, Swift describes in detail the pain she experiences when he decides to leave her. Swift seeks answers, singing: 
“Why’d you have to lead me on?

Why’d you have to twist the knife?

Walk away and leave me bleedin’, bleedin’?

Why’d you whisper in the dark?

Just to leave me in the night?”

As the track closes, Swift’s voice fades, as she realizes that he’s not coming back. Chills anyone? 


”Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version)”: 

With the addition of this song to Taylor’s discography, it takes the crown for not only her shortest vault track, but also her shortest song overall at 2 minutes and 27 seconds. “Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” is a song where Swift speculates about a potential ex and where they are now, but she says, “I guess I’ll never, ever know / Now that we don’t talk.” Clearly written about a fallout, Swift’s new song addresses how uninformed she feels about someone who she used to be so close to. Later on in the bridge of the song, Swift writes, “I don’t have to pretend I like acid rock / Or that I’d like to be on a mega yacht,” describing her position after the fallout. She describes how sometimes in a relationship, you change yourself and your identity in order to fit the other person, but since they are no longer together, she does not have to change herself anymore. Swift practically ends by saying “Guess maybe I am better off / Now that we don’t talk.” Evaluating their relationship throughout the song, Swift comes to the conclusion that even though she doesn’t think so at the moment, she may be objectively better off without her ex. 


”Is It Over Now?” (Taylor’s Version)

Being Swift’s most famous completely from the vault song, “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version)” has a big reputation. Peaking at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, this song created many trends, such as a TikTok dance. Swift’s “Is It Over Now?” is composed of two verses, a chorus, and a repeating bridge that took the world by storm. With lyrics such as, “only rumors ‘bout my hips and thighs and my whispered sighs,” it truly is no wonder that this song seemed to be the favorite among her fans. Swift references what appears to be an on and off relationship throughout the song by using lyrics such as “You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor” and “If she’s got blue eyes I will surmise that you’ll probably date her”. Swift was no longer with her muse at the time of writing, and it is clear throughout the song. She compares herself to his new girl, and her new guy to him, wishing to get him back but knowing that it would not happen. 


“Suburban Legends  (Taylor’s Version)” 

In the last of the “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” vault tracks, Swift addresses the riveting moment she realizes a relationship will change the trajectory of her life. Singing about young love, Swift knew how profoundly it was impacting her, and her ignorant bliss as she continued on the relationship. Swift beautifully paints the picture of her dreams with the person, thinking about how she hopes they would “ be more than a chapter in my old diaries with the pages ripped out”. However, in the end, her dreams are crushed the love that once was fades away. 

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