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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ is never going out of style

Shavonne Chin

It was 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 26. The house was quiet as my roommates peacefully slept, but any noise present would’ve been muffled by my earbuds. In what seemed like an hour instead of a mere 60 seconds, the clock struck midnight and a familiar synth beat once again filled my ears. Much like the winning quarterback being interviewed at the end of the Super Bowl, I knew where I was going — but it wasn’t to Disney World.

I was going to New York.

For those who didn’t take the midnight train into the city that never sleeps, Taylor Swift released her latest rerecording — “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” — on Oct. 27. The album, which originally released on the same date in 2014, marked Swift’s official departure from the world of country into her reigning domain of pop music.

From only one listen, it’s clear that the album — which has long been nicknamed “the pop bible” — easily earned every broken record. Swift’s rise to pop stardom was well fought for, and lucky for us, it sounds incredible too.

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” starts with “Welcome to New York (Taylor’s Version),” a synth-y ode to Swift’s home in the city. The track was co-written and produced with pop production powerhouse Ryan Tedder, the frontman of OneRepublic who’s worked on more no. 1 songs than you could ever dream of. It’s pure poppy fun, and sets the scene for the iconic album perfectly.

The next three tracks on the album are arguably some of Swift’s most famous hits — and for good reason. “Blank Space,” “Style” and “Out Of The Woods” proved that Swift had the skills to take her trademark tell-all, relatable lyrics and translate them into an extravagant production that would live on the radio for months.

“Out Of The Woods” would also mark Swift’s first hit with Jack Antonoff, of Bleachers, who has since become her longtime collaborator on her five original albums since “1989.” Antonoff and Swift have an uncanny ability to create quintessential pop music — everything they touch turns to gold, and “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” carries the tradition on.

While several songs on the album are just as good as they’ve always been, a choice few stand out as better than ever. “Clean (Taylor’s Version)” somehow manages to elevate the beautiful melancholy of one of the best and most honest getting-over-it songs. In a similar vein, “New Romantics (Taylor’s Version)” — which is truly the defining track of the “1989” era — ups the ante on its own fun, creating a song that’s just as much fun to go out and dance to as it is to cry in the bathroom of a club to.

A deluxe version of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” that was released on streaming the morning of Oct. 27 includes a version of the fan favorite “Bad Blood” remix, featuring Kendrick Lamar. Swift, who wrote on Instagram that the collaboration “was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life,” shared that Lamar joined her in the studio to rerecord his verses for the “Taylor’s Version” album. The collaboration has always been one of Swift’s best, but her mature vocals combined with Lamar’s always-excellent rapping creates an even stronger version of the duet.

The pre-existing songs stand the test of time, but the album hits a hiccup when the vault tracks roll along. While they’re not bad by any stretch of the imagination, compared to the unreleased songs on the previous rerecords — “Red (Taylor’s Version),” I’m looking at you — they fall a little short.

Standing against the brilliant songs that make up the rest of the original album, it makes sense why they didn’t make the cut the first time around. Lyrically they stand strong, but the monotone instrumentals have a habit of dragging the songs down, which is perhaps the biggest downfall across the five new tracks.

“Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” is a notable exception to the rule, featuring a Bleachers-esque melody and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that are perfectly relatable to those of us who’ve had catastrophic endings to relationships we never should’ve been in.

“Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” on the other hand, would’ve been the clear winner of the vault tracks if it wasn’t for the odd production choices. Why a synthesized chirp makes an appearance throughout the verses I couldn’t say, but it takes away from the rest of the song, which is genuinely excellent. The tell-all lyrics still shine, however — and proves that even men who paint their nails and wear pink feather boas are capable of being just as bad decisions as the rest of them.

Overall, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is just much of a pop triumph as it’s always been. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go dance to this beat forevermore.

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Zoe Leone
Zoe Leone, Arts & Life Editor

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