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“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” Vault Tracks Review

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Molly Kober, Staff Writer

Taylor Swift, 1989 ‘Taylor’s Version’ Promotional Poster. Photo// Strike Magazines

Since 2021, Taylor Swift has been in the process of re-recording her master tracks in order to own the rights to her entire music catalog. In 2019, music manager Scooter Braun - who had no prior connection to Taylor's work - bought the rights to her music without her consent or knowledge. Soon after, she announced she would be re-recording all of her previous work.

This would include new photoshoots, album concept art, music videos and previously scrapped songs “From the Vault.” On October 27, exactly nine years after its original release, Taylor Swift released “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” including five never-heard-before songs.

The first of these vault tracks, “Slut!”, is a dreamy song about dealing with criticism and protecting what’s important. The song’s title juxtaposes its message – much like Swift’s tabloid caricature juxtaposes her real life. This song contains beautiful imagery and is full of color.

The next track, “Say Don’t Go,” starts slow and unravels beautifully into an epic chorus. This song is all about wanting something from someone who can’t give it to you. Full of uneasiness and tension, it is a heartbreaker that you can dance to. This song will soon fall into the category of Jack Antonoff classics right next to “Getaway Car.” It is hard to believe that this track was left behind the first time around.

“Now That We Don’t Talk” is a satisfyingly spiteful song. It is Swift’s shortest-ever song but is full of lyrical zingers like “I don't have to pretend I like acid rock/ Or that I'd like to be on a mega yacht/ With important men who think important thoughts.” This song is about the battle between freedom and regret. It’s full of sass and spunk, something Swift is a master in.

“Suburban Legends” was a highly anticipated track. Many fans speculated that it would fall into her friendship anthems next to “22” and “Welcome to New York.” However, this song is about reflecting on past hopes that someone might change and realizing how wrong you were. This song is sonically similar to “Mastermind” and easily gets lost in the shuffle the first few listens.

The final vault track, “Is it Over Now?”, doesn’t hold back. This song says everything you never did but always wish you had. The catchy bridge section is full of devastating lyrics like “Oh, Lord, I think about jumpin'/ Off of very tall somethings/ Just to see you come runnin'/ And say the one thing I've been wanting, but no.” This track contains painful feelings of abandonment and frustration while maintaining that catchy ‘80s pop sound.

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” has already begun to break records, just like her other re-recordings. Because of her success in this endeavor, record labels are beginning to add a clause to their contracts that prevents artists from re-recording their work until decades after it is originally released, as a way for label executives to prevent artists from owning the rights to the art that they make – just as Swift has done.

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