Taylor Swift’s new version of her album 1989 is a pop masterpiece revamped… and better than ever, writes ADRIAN THRILLS
1989 (Taylor’s Version)
Verdict: Swifties won’t be disappointed
Her astonishing work ethic has been putting most other musicians on the planet to shame for years, and Taylor Swift continues to reign as pop’s most prolific singer-songwriter.
Her Eras tour is set to become the most lucrative in history, its film spin-off is shattering box office records, and this year has already seen her re-record one of her early LPs in Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).
Now she’s back with her second revamp of 2023 – an expanded version of her best-selling album, 1989, pictured.
Named after the year she was born, it sealed her move from country to pop in 2014, replacing Nashville banjos and songs about high-school crushes with 1980s-style electronics and grown-up lyrics. It sent her career stratospheric.
Swift, 33, is re-recording her first six LPs over a rights ownership issue, skilfully replicating the original arrangements.
Taylor Swift is back with an expanded and revamped version of her best-selling album, 1989
Swift, 33, is re-recording her first six LPs over a rights ownership issue, skilfully replicating the original arrangements
Her ‘Swifties’ have been eagerly awaiting this one, and they won’t be disappointed.
Her voice is now more mature, but these restorations generally stick to the LP’s original contours.
Of most interest, though, are the five ‘from the vault’ tracks that didn’t make the original cut, and they are uniformly gorgeous, taking 1989’s pop template and enhancing it with swooning melodies, backing vocalists, whip-smart lyrics and potent hooks.
One song, Say Don’t Go, pairs her diary-style lyrics with another songwriting giant in Diane Warren, queen of the power ballad. It builds into an epic.
In contrast, Slut!, despite that title, is a softer ballad in which Swift laments that it is she (rather than any former lover) who is publicly shamed for her romantic dalliances: ‘If they call me a ‘slut!’, you know it might be worth it for once,’ she shrugs.
Slut!, despite that title, is a softer ballad in which Swift laments that it is she (rather than any former lover) who is publicly shamed for her romantic dalliances. Pictured: Taylor with former beau Harry Styles
Another highlight is Now That We Don’t Talk, a love-gone-wrong tale in which Swift drily finds the bright side of a break-up (‘I don’t have to pretend I like acid rock’).
When it was first released, 1989 won album of the year at the Grammys, and turned Taylor into a superstar.
Nine years on, it sounds better than ever.
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