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The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Welcome to “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” it’s been waiting for you

Via Taylor Swift
On Friday, October 27, Taylor Swift released a re-recorded version of her earlier album “1989,” making this “Taylor’s Version.” Though the album wasn’t too different from the original with no changes in lyrics or beat, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” serves purpose for Swift to take back her music.

It’s a new soundtrack… but not really. The re-recorded version of Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” was released last Friday, October 27. It’s the fourth stop on Swift’s journey to reclaim her previous works. “1989,” named after Swift’s birth year, was originally released in 2014 by Big Machine Records. Swift signed with them at 15, giving Big Machine Records ownership to all her master records.

Swift would go on to release six albums with them: “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989” and “Reputation.” In 2019, a year after Swift had switched to Republic Records, Scooter Braun bought Big Machine Records through his company Ithaca Holdings, giving him ownership to these six albums. Braun, a big name manager in the music industry, is best known for his clients like Justin
Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Kanye West.

The significance in this is that Swift and West have some serious bad blood, beginning when West stole the microphone from Swift during her acceptance speech at the MTV Awards. Bieber and Braun later collaborated with West to belittle Swift on social media, so when it was announced that Braun owned Swift’s albums, it was especially distressing.

Thus, Taylor’s Version was born. By re-recording her songs with “(Taylor’s Version)” in the title, she could reclaim the rights to her music and finally be in control of her narrative. In order to keep her fans excited, Swift began releasing vault songs — songs written at the time of the original release, but never recorded — along with each Taylor’s Version album.

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1989 TV includes five new vault songs. Our final ranking of them is as follows:
“Say Don’t Go”
“Is It Over Now?”
“Now That We Don’t Talk”
“Suburban Legends”

Worst vault track: “Slut!”

Forever a lover of leaving her fans clues to her album releases, Swift shared puzzles through her Instagram and even google searches that allowed viewers to find out song names. From the Easter eggs, one vault song in particular seemed to gain attention: “Slut!”.

Swfities were crazed, and the anticipation was palpable. But weeks of excitement led to three minutes of disappointment.

If Swift’s going to title a song “Slut!,” she can’t condone slut shaming. The chorus, which is the only time the song fits the title, repeats the line “And if they call me a slut! You know it might be worth it for once.” This line is meant to be ironic, as it seems no matter what she does she cannot escape being slut-shamed, but the message is so hidden that it just seems condoning. Perhaps if more of the song was spent addressing this idea, it could have made a powerful note on an important social issue. Swifties expected a “The Man ”-type feminist rock anthem and instead were met with this. And so, quite rightfully, “Slut!” will be placed at the bottom of our rankings of the vault songs.

Best Vault Track: “Say Don’t Go”

For a catchy anthem of betrayal and one-sided love, consider giving “Say Don’t Go” a listen. It perfectly describes the feeling of wishing for someone to fight to stay with you through lyrics like “and the only way back to my dignity, was to turn into a shrouded mystery,” that describe the shame that can come along with a breakup. The gradual increase of guitar strums paired with fast beat instrumentals builds and slows — creating tension released upon arguably the most screamable chorus of the vault songs, placing “Say Don’t Go” at the top of our vault song rankings.

The album as a whole seems to follow the same production style from Swift’s latest studio album “Midnights.” With random bell chimes and snare drums, the familiarity of it can feel redundant despite the deeper meaning she weaved into lyrics from 2014. Starting the album with lead track “Welcome to New York” that tells listeners “it’s been waitin’ for you” ultimately takes Swifties on a journey through young love. However, such stories feel voided by the production of these vault songs that don’t live up to the original tracks — the production isn’t as impressive since they’ve already been heard in “Midnights” and are simply repeated.

The real purpose of “Taylor’s Version” is to mimic each song as the original — only re-recording with a new voice and the help of her current producer, Jack Antonoff. You can certainly hear the change in her voice with the maturity and control she’s developed over the past decade, especially in the vocal layering in songs like “You are in Love TV” and “Clean TV”. Ultimately Swift returned nostalgia to listeners while reclaiming the rights to her music. And of course, the vault songs keep Swifties on their toes from day one.

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About the Contributors
Ellie Ji
Ellie Ji, Arts & Culture Editor
Matilda Haney Foulds
Matilda Haney Foulds, Staff Writer

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