1989 (Taylor’s version)
Verdict: Swifties won’t be disappointed
Her astonishing work ethic has eclipsed most other musicians on the planet for years, and Taylor Swift continues to be pop’s most prolific singer-songwriter.
Her Eras tour is set to be the most lucrative in history, her film spin-off is breaking box office records and this year she has already re-recorded one of her early LPs, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).
Now she’s back with her second revision of 2023 – an expanded version of her best-selling 1989 album, pictured.
Named after the year of her birth, it marked her transition from country to pop in 2014, replacing Nashville banjos and songs about high school crushes with 1980s-style electronics and adult lyrics. It launched her career into the stratosphere.
Swift, 33, re-records her first six LPs due to an ownership issue over the rights, skillfully reproducing the original arrangements.
Taylor Swift is back with an expanded and remastered version of her bestselling 1989 album
Swift, 33, re-records her first six LPs due to an ownership issue over the rights, skillfully reproducing the original arrangements
Your “Swifties” have been waiting eagerly for this and they won’t be disappointed.
Her voice is more mature now, but these restorations generally stay true to the LP’s original contours.
Most interesting, however, are the five “from the vault” tracks that didn’t make it into the original version, and they’re great across the board, taking the 1989 pop template and mixing it up with stunning melodies, backing singers, upbeat and powerful lyrics enrich hooks.
One song, “Say Don’t Go,” combines her diary-style lyrics with another songwriter: Diane Warren, the queen of the power ballad. It turns into an epic.
In contrast, Slut! despite that title, a gentler ballad in which Swift laments that she (and not every former lover) is publicly shamed for her romantic affairs: “If she called me a ‘bitch!’ “I know it might be worth it,” she shrugs.
Slut! is, despite that title, a gentler ballad in which Swift laments that she (and not every former lover) is publicly shamed for her romantic affairs. Pictured: Taylor with former boyfriend Harry Styles
Another highlight is “Now That We Don’t Talk,” a love story in which Swift wryly finds the positive side of a breakup (“I don’t have to pretend I like acid rock”).
When it was first released, it won Album of the Year at the 1989 Grammys and turned Taylor into a superstar.
Nine years later, it sounds better than ever.