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REVIEW: Taylor Swift’s recent re-recording overwhelmed by lackluster performance

Mia Debelevich
1989 (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift Vinyl Records at Reckless Records in Chicago.

In Taylor Swift’s fourth re-recorded album, “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” she undergoes a waning of her former brilliance, pursuing a game of poker where, despite her lyrics on “New Romantics,”  she fails to play her ace. 

The production fuses ‘80s pop and contemporary programming. With sparkling synth on the vault track “Now That We Don’t Talk,” Swift’s blood is no longer red; instead, it runs glitter and gold. She plays to her audience, their appetite for vulnerability, and lets it envelop her writing: “And the only way back to my dignity/was to turn into a shrouded mystery.” 

However, this personal exposé is only fleeting—she declines to further her visceral edge, falling back to the familiarity of self-restraint. Subsequently, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” occasionally sacrifices its depth for mainstream appeal, marking it as superficial and overshadowed by a sense of predictability. 

Swift’s anticipated lyrical prowess hangs ghostlike, teasing a wave of sophistication before ultimately crashing back down to a low tide. On “Is It Over Now?” she sings, “I think about jumping off of very tall somethings/Just to see you come running.” The concept, while backed with previous lamentations of abandonment and betrayal, lacks the lyrical refinement expected of such a notion — to truly captivate an audience when detailing suicidal intent, there needs to be substance. 

The failures of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” fall mainly on her mixing engineers, who seem adamant about stripping the album of all the excitement its predecessor contained. “Blank Space” borders on mundane and is, well, blank; “Wildest Dreams” lost the ambiance that defended its pop power-ballad label; “Suburban Legends” is more suitable for her 2022 release, “Midnights,” due to its thematic nostalgia and reliance on a repetitive synthesizer. 

With the unsatisfactory recreation of “Style,” which may be her most far-off re-recording yet, it seems like she’s sailing just to sink. Despite its brief merits, such as an added vocal growl on “I Know Places,” “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is defined by low emotional impact. The cards hold no royal decree in her favor… folding might have sung a sweeter tune. 

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About the Contributor
Mia Debelevich, Staff Writer
Hello, my name is Mia Debelevich. I am a senior and this is my first year in journalism. Aside from my love for reading and writing, music is my passion. My vinyl records are my most prized possession.

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