Taylor Swift’s latest re-recorded album, 1989 (Taylor’s Version), is finally here – and it’s kind of a big deal. Released on this very same day nine years ago, 27th October 2014 marked Taylor’s full transition into pop music and catapulted her career from country starlet to global superstar.
It feels quite special that 1989 (Taylor’s Version), an album which saw Taylor achieve unprecedented commercial success, comes at a time where Taylor is still very much at the top of her game. She is currently in the midst of her sold-out Eras Tour which continues to break records, supported by the accompanying concert film that’s taken over theatres worldwide.
The 1989 album was Taylor’s era of independence, defined by her own self-reinvention. It told a story of being in your early 20s, cutting your hair and moving to New York City. Deciding to prioritise your friendships, embrace change and become enamoured with the concept of possibility. Where Speak Now sees Taylor sing about growing up, 1989 can be best described as growing into yourself.
The story continues with five never-before-heard tracks ‘From the Vault’, songs that almost made it onto the original album. Interestingly, for the first time all of the Vault Tracks are solo (i.e. no collabs).
Here is my official 1989 (Taylor’s Version) Vault Track ranking:
1. Now That We Don’t Talk
Favourite lyric: I don’t have to pretend I like acid rock / Or that I’d like to be on a mega yacht, with important men who think important thoughts
‘Now That We Don’t Talk’ explores the feelings that arise when a relationship ends abruptly. It may be the shortest song on Taylor’s discography, but it packs a lot into its 2 minutes and 26 seconds. It’s quick-paced and pithy with Taylor favouring sardonic fast-talking over singing. Jack Antonoff’s Bleachers influence comes through in the punchy hook where he’s heard shouting the song’s title.
Favourite lyric: Love thorns all over this rose / I’ll pay the price, you won’t
When I heard this title, I expected the song to be a loud pop anthem (think ‘Bad Blood’) to angrily stomp to, perhaps with some rock influences, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. ‘Slut!’ is actually a sultry and ethereal song where Taylor paints a vivid twinkly dreamscape of being drunk in love. It feels like you’re in a tropical paradise when listening to it.
3. Is It Over Now?
Favourite lyric: You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor
This song may have ranked higher if it wasn’t for the distracting background noises. Unfortunately, there’s a strange screeching sound throughout the song which is unpleasant to my ears. Despite that, I enjoy the tempo of this song and the way it builds up to the bridge. This definitely feels like a cathartic song that fans will scream on tour.
4. Say Don’t Go
Favourite lyric: We’re a shot in the darkest dark / Oh no, oh no, I’m unarmed
Written with Diane Warren, ‘Say Don’t Go’ is a song that’s fans have been anticipating for years since it was revealed they wrote a song together in 2014. The opening instrumental sounds very similar to ‘Clean’ but interestingly, I found the song also reminded me of vault tracks from other albums – sonically ‘Electric Touch’ and lyrically ‘Forever Winter’.
5. Suburban Legends
Favourite lyric: I broke my own heart, ’cause you were too polite to do it
‘Suburban Legends’ has a strong electronic influence, with parts of it reminding me of ‘Mastermind’. The chorus and bridge is strong, but the verses don’t flow that well. With clunky lyrics and long sentences, I found it quite confusing and hard to understand the meaning. Taylor appears to be looking back on a high school romance , recalling how she would fantasise about their future. I’m not sure how this fits in to the rest of the 1989 story.