A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

Welcome to 1989 (Taylor’s Version), It’s Been Waiting For You


Copy Edited by Samia Orva


Overall Rating: 4.6/5

In a world of musical re-recordings, few artists have succeeded in replicating the success of the original. However, Taylor Swift’s re-recording of her 2014 pop masterpiece, 1989, has both respected its iconic predecessor, but has also reinvented it in a way that is just as perfect (some of the time). Starting in 2021, Swift has been in the process of re-recording her first six albums, all of which had very high critical acclaim. First came Fearless, then Red, and in this past July, Speak Now. Within these albums, besides just re-recording the original tracklist, she adds a few “From the Vault” tracks — songs she wrote for the original album, but were cut from the tracklist, and are now becoming full-produced songs. 1989 has nostalgic pop hits such as “Bad Blood,” “Blank Space,” and “Shake It Off,” all of which were at the top of the charts in the 2010s. With the re-recording, that same level of fame can be difficult to replicate. Often, these songs do not nearly match up to the quality of the original. As one of the biggest self proclaimed  Swifties in the world, I absolutely loved the new album (mainly for the vault tracks). However, it was missing the same emotion and liveliness of the original album.

The album starts out with an absolute banger “Welcome to New York.” As as native New Yorker, this song always held a special place in my heart. The entire album follows the theme of a 20-something-year-old girl living the dream New York City life. The song is still relatively similar and has the same energetic, carefree tone, but it lacks a bit of the oomph.

Next up is “Blank Space,” a song that I personally used to love to scream to in the backseat of the car. The chorus and the verse pretty much stand the test of time. They still evoke the feelings of teenage-angst and a dash of stereotypical craziness, but the bridge is nowhere near as good. The entire song sounds a bit bland. 

“Style” used to be my favorite Taylor Swift song. Often described as “pop-perfection,” it was most people’s favorite song, of all time and off the album. However, “Style (Taylors Version)” was extremely disappointing. It felt off, having no substance. As I have discussed this song with my friends, the most common conclusion was that it sounded like AI, or like a robot. This is coming from the same people who used to praise it. Even though it was still pretty good, it was just not nearly as good as the old version, leaving fans disappointed. 

Some of the less mainstream songs, such as “All You Had To Do Was Stay,” “How You Get The Girl,” “I Know Places,” “This Love” and “Clean” were all still just as good. Sure, they sounded different of course, but I believe the production value increased — the emotions that some of the other songs were lacking were a little more apparent here. Although these songs often fade in the background when the media is discussing this album, I think that they sounded even better re-recorded.

Three of my favorites from the original were “New Romantics,” “I Wish You Would,” and “Out Of The Woods.” Although it is disheartening to say, they just didn’t match the same excellence and pure joy of the OG.  I still really enjoyed them, but in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think of what could be better.

And finally, the most important part: the vault tracks. With the new album, Swift released five new songs, all written during the era, but recorded now. The clear stand-out among these was “Is It Over Now (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault].” As the new closing track, it encompasses what 1989 is all about: love, heartbreak, and reflection. All of the vault songs are absolutely great, some even better than the originals, which led me to feel shocked that they were ever excluded from the album.

1989 (Taylors Version) was excellent, nostalgic, and could even be considered a testament to Taylor Swift’s skill, but it lacked the spirit and warmth of 1989. It felt a bit too robotic to be considered as great as the first one truly was. However, I think everyone should still give it a listen because Swift’s genius does still shine through — just not as much.

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About the Contributor
Madison Donenfeld, Managing Editor
Madison is a junior at Townsend Harris High School. She enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music (specifically Taylor Swift), and hanging out with her friends. You will often find her trying to learn a new instrument.
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    VivianNov 30, 2023 at 6:23 am

    Love the review!