1989 (Taylor’s Version) Shines with Five New Songs

When Taylor Swift announced the rerecording of her 1989 album, she told fans it would include five “from the vault” tracks that were excluded from the original album. She said that looking back on it now, she likes them so much that it seems “insane” that they were left out. Since 1989 (Taylor’s Version) was released on October 26th, many fans have come to agree.

Some of the new songs show a darker side of Taylor’s experience as a young female celebrity than the original album did. They may have been excluded because they seemed not to fit with the more innocent image her producers wanted to create for her in 2014, when the original album came out. Today; however, these songs resonate with many members of her now enormous audience. One of these songs is the provocatively-titled Slut!, in which she declares that “If they call me a slut/You know it might be worth it for once / And if I’m gonna be drunk / I might as well be drunk in love.” Another is Is It Over Now?, which debuted at #1 on the Hot Billboard 100. In that song, Taylor sings to someone she broke up with, “You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor / You search in every maiden’s bed for something greater” and asks in the chorus: “Was it over when she laid down on your couch? / Was it over when he unbuttoned my blouse?” This catchy tune is in our heads all the time and many people are doing TikTok dances to it as well.

Some of the other vault tracks are great examples of the variety and sophistication of Taylor’s songwriting. In Now That We Don’t Talk an up-tempo chorus combines with a slow section that may remind the listener of tracks on Evermore. A clever bridge talks about what it can be like to feel suddenly freer when you’re on your own: “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 part of the song has also inspired many TikTok videos in which people add lyrics that reflect their own lives, giving the song a new meaning each time. Say Don’t Go is a song whose structure may remind listeners of “Anti-hero” from Swift’s “Midnights” album. Just as “Anti-Hero” lends itself to the audience echoing the lyric “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem it’s me,” the words in the title of this song can also be sung that way.

The song both of us like best of all the 1989 vault tracks; however, is Suburban Legends. It tells the story of a romance in a similar way to some other songs of hers, such as “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Price” and “’Tis the Damn Season.” Taylor also uses the deeper registers of her voice for this song and it includes a great chorus: “I didn’t come here to make friends / We were born to be suburban legends / When you hold me it holds me together / And you kiss me in a way that’s gonna screw me up forever.”

kimberly and sofia jackson
Kimberly Jackson is a longtime contributor to KOM’s Poetry Corner. Sofia Jackson, her daughter, is a longtime Taylor Swift fan and a rising junior in high school. Together they attended the 13th concert of Swift’s 2023 Eras Tour. They can be reached through Kimberly’s website.

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