1989 (Taylor's Version): Live verdict on new tracks of rerecorded classic

1989 (Taylor's Version): Live verdict on new tracks of rerecorded classic
Taylor Swift's most iconic 1989 era moments as singer re-releases album
Mixed Credit

Taylor Swift has released her long-awaited re-recording of her 2014 hit album '1989.'

The new release is Swift's fourth re-recorded album, following on from 'Fearless (Taylor's Version),' 'Red (Taylor's Version), and 'Speak Now (Taylor's Version).

Swift's purpose in re-recording her back catalogue is so that she can ownthe copyright to all of the new recordings.

This '1989' era marked a swift shift in music genre from country to pop for the singer, a risk that ultimately paid off as '1989' propelled Swift further into mainstream stardom and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2015.

From the feel-good 'Shake It Off' to the anthemic tracks of 'Blank Space,' 'Out of the Woods' and 'Style' to the heartful and cathartic notes of 'This Love' and 'Clean,' Swift explores every avenue of pop.

A journey that continues with the five 'From the Vault' tracks with 'Slut!', 'Say Don't Go,' 'Now That We Don't Talk,' 'Suburban Legends,' and 'Is It Over Now?'

Now, indy100 is here to listen to '1989 (Taylor's Version) along with you, with commentary on every song as well as fun facts about the album.

Bad Blood (and Bad Blood remix featuring Kendrick Lemar)

(Left) Kendrick Lamar and (right) Taylor Swift in the 2015 'Bad Blood' music video

YouTube/Taylor Swift

With hard-hitting lyrics and a music video with a star-studded cast, Swift didn’t come to play with this 1989 single back in 2015.

The song is rumoured to be about the singer’s feud with Katy Perry, though years later the pair appeared to make up after Perry starred in Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’ music video.

Out of all the songs so far, this is where the vocal change stands out the most – in the best way, Swifter’s more powerful vocal performance only adds to the attitude and boldness of the song’s message.

Swift has just dropped the re-record version featuring Kendrick Lemar and in a recent Instagram post described of working with the rapper as “was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life.”

“I still look back on this collaboration with so much pride and gratitude, for the ways Kendrick elevated the song and the way he treats everyone around him."

She added: “The reality that Kendrick would go back in and re-record Bad Blood so that I could reclaim and own this work I’m so proud of is surreal and bewildering to me."

Lemar’s delivery on the re-record is just as punchy as the original and the production makes the feature more seamless than the previous version.

'Bad Blood remix' featuring Kendrick Lamar is now available on '1989' (Taylor's Version) Deluxe Edition.

I Wish You Would

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs onstage during Taylor Swift The 1989 World Tour Live In Los Angeles at Staples Center on August 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TAS

Another underrated bop on this record, where Swift sings of how she wishes that her ex-love wanted to get back together.

Initially Jack Antonoff had created the guitar soundtrack when Swift heard it and “could hear this finished song in my head.”

“This guy who is driving down the street in the middle of the night and he passes by his ex-girlfriend’s house.

“He thinks she hates him, but she is still in love with him. Very dramatic,” Swift said about the song's premise on her songwriting memos on the 1989 deluxe edition.

The pulsing snare drums and infectious guitar riff were the key ingredients to the OG, and they make a triumphant return in the re-recording.

While the “I, I, I, I, I, I, I wish, I,” hook will remain in my head for the rest of the day and once more a flawless vocal performance from Swift.

Pop perfection.

Shake It Off

Taylor Swift in the 'Shake It Off' music video from 2014

YouTube/ Taylor Swift

‘Shake It Off’ was the lead single off of ‘1989’ and the first signal to fans of her genre shift into pop – and the saxophone infused feel-good dance pop song was a smash hit.

In April this year, the song hit 1 billion streams on Spotify, and so fans were curious to see how Swift would approach the re-record.

Revisiting this song in 2023 will no doubt give Swifties nostalgia as it sounds exactly like the original, just with stronger vocals from Swift.

Even down to the spoken word bridge, though the “Why don’t you come on over baby we can shake, shake, shake,” part does sound cheekier as it's clear Swift is having a fun time re-recording her previous work.

All You Had To Do Was Stay

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs onstage during Taylor Swift The 1989 World Tour Live In Los Angeles at Staples Center on August 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TAS

“Stay” was all Swift could say when her ex turned up at her door in her dream, and from that “All You Had To Do Was Stay” was born.

It is track five on the album, a place typically reserved for Swift’s most "honest, emotional, vulnerable, and personal,” songs, as per Time.

This is the quintessential pop song with an upbeat track where Swift sings about the sad subject matter of an ex that didn’t see the relationship through.

The high-pitched “Stay!” does stay true to the original, along with the catchy guitar and drum pads – no complaints here.

With so many great songs on 1989, maybe ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’ will get the appreciation it deserves this time around.

Out Of The Woods

Singer Taylor Swift performs onstage during The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

This song depicts anxiety within a turbulent relationship where in the chorus Swift repeatedly asks “Are we out the woods yet?”

(Another track also speculated to be about Harry Styles, and he’s thought to be the ex who was with Swift when she was involved in a serious snowmobile accident that’s reference in the song – “Remember when you hit the brakes too soon/Twenty stitches in a hospital room.")

Big fan of the percussion on the re-recorded version of this track, from the guitar to the backing vocals everything just sounds crisper and immersive – are we actually in the woods with Swift like in the OG music video?

This track was not a favourite of mine when the original came out, but this new version has pushed the song up my rankings.


Taylor Swift in the 'Style' music video back in 2015.

YouTube/Taylor Swift

Style’ is one of Swift’s most iconic songs (and a personal favourite of mine), which tells the story of an on-and-off couple who always find their way back to each other because “they never go out of style.”

(It’s been widely speculated the song is about Swift’s relationship with Harry Styles – with his surname being one letter from the song title and all).

‘The same but different,’ is the initial thought that came to mind immediately when the iconic guitar riff played.

I can’t quite put my finger on it but Swifties certainly have mixed opinions on this change, with some recommending how to change their audio settings to make it sound like the older version.

I don’t think it’s a bad change per se, I just have the original version drilled into my head since I was 16.

When the beat and bass kick in it does sound more like the OG track but with a more polished production, but I would've liked Swift's vocals to be louder as she belts "Just take me home" at the end as that's where her voice shines on this album.

Blank Space

Swift in the Blank Space music video for the original 2014 track

YouTube/Taylor Swift

It is one of Swift's most streamed song ever (1.3 Billion on Spotify as of July 2023), so it’s fair to say there was a lot of pressure to get this re-recording right.

‘Blank Space’ is a satirical reflection on how the media portrayed Swift as a serial dating man-eater simply for being a woman in her 20s with a love life.

The re-recording keeps the essence and attitude of the original but with Swift’s stronger vocals, it improves on a classic.

A particular favourite change of mine is the bridge, where the harmonies have a true standout moment – I would recommend listening to song with earphones on Apple Music with Dolby Atmos for this part alone.

Another difference is the spoken word parts such as “I can make the bad guys good for the weekend,” and “’Cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream,” which sound more confident on this version.

In the original, the lyric "Got a long list of ex-lovers" was misheard by some listeners (even Swift's mum) as "All the lonely Starbucks lovers" but Swift made sure this would not be the case this time around as the words sound clearer.

Welcome to New York

Taylor Swift performs at New Year's Eve 2015 at Times Square on December 31, 2014 in New York City.

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The opening track 'Welcome To New York' gave listeners a glimpse into Swift’s new pop sound with the electronic pop synths kicking things off.

Not only does it reflect a change in music genre but also Swift’s literal move from Nashville to New York almost a decade ago as she shared how she fell in love with the city.

"I approached moving there with such wide-eyed optimism and sort of saw it [New York] as a place of endless potential and possibilities,” Swift told Good Morning America about the song at the time.

“You can kind of hear that reflected in this music and this first song especially."

While the lyrics “And you can want who you want/ Boys and boys and girls and girls,” have been interpreted as Swift supporting the LGBT+ community, before she was vocal about her political views.

The re-recorded version stays true to the original track with little tweaks to the production as Swift sings with a mature voice.

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