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Thursday, Feb. 29
The Indiana Daily Student

arts music review

COLUMN: '1989' (Halie’s Version)

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To quote Stephen Colbert, “I sang, I laughed, I screamed along with my fellow Swifties. 

1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is like a direct time machine to my middle school self. I vividly remember being 12 years old, dressed in my best daisy chain top, attending the 1989 Tour at MetLife Stadium with my mom. High off the release of Red, I was prepared to “remember this moment. 

As the concert started, that was the moment I realized I didn’t know any of those songs. There’s nothing that bruises the ego more than a middle school girl who doesn’t know all the lyrics at a concert that she attends. To top it all off, I decided to take a bathroom break just when the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team made their grand entrance to “Style,” fresh off their Women’s World Cup victory.  

Needless to say, the second I got home, I studied that album. I dug myself deeper into the lyrics, aimlessly trying to pinpoint words that could be about Harry Styles. I defended Swift from every sixth-grade boy that made fun of “Shake It Off” when it played in gym class. My relationship with Swift’s music and her personhood felt deeply personal as she gave me something to relate to. I had never dated anyone or come close to being in a snowmobile accident, but her lyrics made sense. 

When Taylor announced, she was planning to re-record “1989” next, I had just left behind the excitement of the rerecording of “Speak Now.Although I felt I had a connection to the album, I found myself lacking the same level of enthusiasm. The idea of revisiting “1989,” an album where I had such mixed memories left me feeling torn. I wondered whether the re-recording would capture the same magic I had experienced as a preteen.  

As I sat down for my official 1989 (Taylor’s Version) listening, I felt a flood of memories rush in.  

“Welcome to New York, the album’s first track, transported me back to the start of the concert in 2015. It felt extra special being with Swift in New York (well I was in New Jersey, but so close!) to hear the hit. The energy was off the charts. Swift’s newer version makes it clear that this is the best opener for 1989. It sets you up knowing that this is a pop album, and it is going to be catchy. 

The original Blank Space” is pop perfection. The music video made me beg my parents to take me to Long Island to visit the Oheka Castle, where it was filmed in 2014. The portrayals of Swift at her most jilted, mascara pouring down her cheeks, golf club in hand, was Swift at her very best work. The rerecording is crisp, but I didn’t get the hints of a woman on the verge. As a listener, I wanted to scream with her, but I didn’t feel it.  

The “Style” rerecord has become infamous on social media. The vocals take on an almost staccato quality, losing that dreamy essence of the original. My guess is the shift in producers, from Max Martin to Jack Antonoff, is responsible. Antonoff’s notoriously clean touch imparts a hollower vibe to the track. It proves the point that you can’t replicate any producer’s style.  

In contrast, “Out of The Woods (Taylor’s Version) is a standout. The passion and the added background vocals hit it out of the park. “When you started crying baby I did too,” but solely because this song brought back the euphoric energy of the original1989.”  

“All You Had to Do Was Stay” is a song that demands to be blasted from a car’s speakers. Unfortunately, my Honda is parked somewhere in New Jersey, but I will find a way. “Shake It Off” is 10000% sassier, with an emphasis on the “oh my god, I’m just gonna shake.” It is an absolute blast of energy, but we already knew that. 

“I Wish You Would” has always been a perfect song to me. It's genuinely underrated and deserves all the praise on this album. Swift has gone out of her way to enunciate on this version. Every lyric is clean (no pun intended). Swift knows we couldn’t have another “Starbucks lovers” moment on this album. 

The new “Bad Blood” lacks some anger, but I have to remember the eight years that have passed. Knowing that Swift has healed is a treat. The stability in her voice proves this. 

We’ve had Taylor’s Version of “Wildest Dreams” for a while, but it remains whimsical and pure magic. Similarly, “This Love” held no surprises. It is a beautiful testament to Swift’s lyrical authenticity and her matured tone. 

“How You Get the Girl” is a serotonin boost. If you were a Swiftie in 2014, you must remember Swift’s Diet Coke era. It’s like a beach day filled with never ending sunshine and ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. It is probably my favorite track on the album.  

We reach a distinct tonal shift with “I Know Places. Her rasp and belted growl on “we run” represents a clear upgrade from the original. 

The latest “Clean” offers a smooth listening experience. It provides a moment to “finally breathe” and it marks a glorious listen. Calming and genuine, it is the healing anthem for Swifties.  

“Wonderland” feels “new and exciting.” It was one of my least favorite tracks growing up but has transformed into a must-play. Her tone is velvety, allowing the track to reach new heights. 

Some moments feel softer like in “You Are in Love. Whilst “New Romantics” let me down. The once mighty track’s chorus feels like a dance remix of the original.  

The vault tracks are always a gem, but this album’s clear winner was “Now That We Don’t Talk.” Lyrics read “You grew your hair long; you got new icons” hinting at the metamorphosis of a relationship from all-important to no communication. It is wistful and paints a melancholy picture of change. Another favorite of mine was “Slut!”, Swift’s official reclamation of the word. She denounces the very popular perception that she “goes on too many dates.” It is a timeless love anthem.  

1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is a rollercoaster of nostalgia, heartbreak and comfort. As a listener, you feel as if you are on a journey with Swift herself. You can appreciate the timelessness of her music and, as you get older, relate to the nuances in her lyrics. This album remains a gem with its re-recordings, providing a breath of fresh air into the original.  

As for me, I have been equipped with lyrics since I left the concert on July 11, 2015. If you saw me at The Eras Tour Concert Film, you would’ve seen me rendered speechless at the “Bad Blood” strut and whispering along to the talking part of “Shake It Off. 

Taylor Swift, I love you, and although we may have our differences sometimes, I promise I will always “Stay Stay Stay” a Swiftie. 

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