Taylor’s 1989: It Never Goes Out of Style

Kayle Brody ’25

Now that we have had some time to digest the album that is 1989 (Taylor’s Version), we can fully appreciate the remastered version. With Swift’s matured vocals and “cleaner” instrumentals, the result is magic. Swift’s ever-rising popularity has only increased with her re-recording process. A process that began as a personal mission for the singer to regain her music has since been coined the “re-recording era” by her loyal fanbase. Critics and Swifties alike were quick to point out differences, comparing the minor note changes, slight instrumental variations, and the obvious maturity in her vocals. Another difference between the original album is the addition of the five “From the Vault” songs– some of Swift’s strongest compilation of “From the Vault” tracks to date.

The long-anticipated “‘****!’” did not disappoint listeners, but also was not quite what they expected– sonically or lyrically. The sound alone procures romantic imagery in the audience’s mind, yet the lyrics do not quite align with that narrative. Specifically, lyrics such as, “Everyone wants him / That was my crime / The wrong place at the right time,” instantly stuck out to listeners. Swift pokes fun at the shaming she received during this era of her life. She does this similarly with the song “Blank Space,” finding humor in some of the negatives that the media would say about her. Beginning the “From the Vault” collection, fans did not know what to expect from “‘****!’” but it is safe to say that Swift delivered. 

Second in the “From the Vault” collection is “Say Don’t Go.” The vocals in this track feature some of Swift’s best, displaying her vast range. The track begins with Swift singing in a low register, but by the end, she is heard shouting the words, “I said, ‘I love you,’ you say nothing back.” Her vocals are not only on point but deeply emotional. Lyrically, too, the song is based on intense emotions of anxiety, sadness, and longing. Even when the relationship is over and there is not much of a relationship, to begin with, the voice is still begging for the other to return. 

The shortest song in the singer’s discography, “Now That We Don’t Talk” was an immediate hit. Swift lamented that she did not include this piece in the original 1989, as she was unable to get the production she wanted. One can only imagine the process that produced this ever-escalating song. The lyrics itself explore a relationship that used to be a big part of the singer’s life, but has now ended as she says, “Truth is, I can’t pretend it’s / Platonic, it’s just ended.” These were not the only memorable lyrics, as many people found themselves googling the definition of “acid rock.” Although short, “Now That We Don’t Talk” is an unforgettable track.

The parallel between “We Were Born to be suburban legends” and “We Were Born to be national treasures” led to some speculation that this song might be another song about Harry Styles. Their private life was hard to manage when they were both so popular. They truly were and are “national treasures,” but that meant that their love story could only exist as a substory to their lives and careers. This song follows the same narrative that the album as a whole creates, perseverating on how Swift’s career affects her life, relationships, and privacy.

Swifties were quick to point out the ambiguity in the final track “Is It Over Now?” The title alone led the fanbase to theorize that there might be a double album. The lyrics themselves were concluded to be about Harry Styles, one of Swift’s muses from the original album. Fans were quick to point out the lines, “Oh Lord, I think about jumping / Off of very tall somethings / Just to see you come running / And say the one thing I’ve been wanting / But no!” Swifties were concerned at first, but then found humor in the fact that even Swift is a little delusional like them. All in all, this song was the perfect closing to one of Swift’s strongest albums.

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  • K

    Katherine HornbyJan 31, 2024 at 10:25 am

    The Harry and Taylor lore behind the OG versus (Taylor Version) 1989 albums goes insane! I love dissecting these songs. In “Is It Over Now?” my favorite hint, which is not mentioned here, “When you lost control
    Red blood, white snow. Blue dress on a boat”. These lyrics hint to significant events about the relationship of the two singers. Such as their skiing accident and their infamous fight on one of Styles freind’s yachet.

    I think it is interesting that Swift chose to be painfully obvious that this song was about Styles rather in the past she took a more subtle easter egg approach. I wonder if this newer, bolder Taylor, awoken by the Reputation Era, will stay or will eventually mellow out.