On Friday, Taylor Swift released "1989 (Taylor's Version)," a re-recorded version of her hit 2014 pop album "1989."
When it was revealed that "1989" would be the 4 of Swift's 6 albums to undergo the Taylor's Version treatment, fans couldn't contain their excitement. They eagerly looked forward to Swift's fresh interpretations of classic songs as well as the inclusion of five "From The Vault" tracks that didn't make it onto her original album.
Although all five songs are worthy additions to Swift's catalog, here is a clear-cut ranking, from worst to best, of the "From The Vault" tracks on "1989 (Taylor's Version)."
"Suburban Legends (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)"
To clarify, none of the five vault tracks from Swift's album can be considered throwaways. But, among them, "Suburban Legends (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" stands out as the least integral to the album's overarching narrative. While it's an enjoyable track, it doesn’t leave as strong an impression as the others.
In "Suburban Legends (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)," Swift explores a complicated romance fraught with challenges but with moments of fantasy fulfillment. As she sings, she beautifully captures a sense of longing, drawing out her syllables and detailing scenarios that are destined never to work out.
The song shimmers with lively chords and subtle longing, culminating in the last 30 seconds, where the synths seem to fade away, reflecting Swift's bittersweet acceptance of her fate.
"Say Don't Go (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)"
"Say Don't Go (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" emerges as a quintessential Swift track, boasting a chorus so powerful it practically begs to be sung along with, seemingly crafted on nothing more than an acoustic guitar. Its seductive intro seems to share a sonic kinship with "Clean," yet the pleading tone in the lyrics, earnestly imploring a lover to make her stay, aligns more closely with "All You Had To Do Was Stay."
One of the most delightful aspects of Swift's "From The Vault" concept is how it allows her to interweave sounds and ideas from different phases of her artistic journey, resurrecting songs from years past with a contemporary twist. The chorus engages in a conversation with Swift's earlier country-pop era, while the post-chorus harmonies evoke memories of her "Midnights" era.
The end result is yet another stellar example of a song firmly rooted in a specific moment yet drawing upon Swift's diverse experiences to create a culminating sound.
"Now That We Don't Talk (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)"
"Now That We Don't Talk (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" is Swift's shortest song to date, yet it delivers a potent emotional blow. In this track, Swift turns to her mother for guidance while observing a former ex move on after their breakup.
With a runtime of just 2 minutes and 26 seconds, "Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" wastes no time, providing a delightful assortment of insights into a failed romance. It essentially describes heartache by amusingly critiquing an ex’s post-break-up behavior. Swift recounts each new detail about her ex, culminating in the emphatic delivery of the song’s titular phrase.
"Is It Over Now? (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)"
"Is It Over Now? (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" presents an intimate portrait of a fractured love that, despite the wreckage, might still hold a glimmer of hope. The production pulses with energy as Swift unravels a narrative of mutual betrayals, fruitless post-breakup encounters and the struggle to resolve lingering emotions.
In this storytelling endeavor, this track soars, painting a relationship that dwells in a nebulous gray area as Swift endeavors to transform it into a fairy-tale romance. The characters and their circumstances resonate instantly with the listener, and the conclusion feels well-deserved.
With its blend of synths and drum-machine beats, "Is It Over Now? (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" channels the spirit of "Out Of The Woods," but with a fresh twist reminiscent of her "Midnights" track "Labyrinth," creating a captivating fusion of past and present.
"'Slut!' (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)"
The vault's boldest title delves into Swift's enduring battle against those who have used derogatory terms to characterize her romantic life. Ironically, it emerges as the most understated track among the collection.
The song evokes the dark and dreamy essence of "Midnights," which can be attributed to producer Jack Antonoff's masterful handling of synthesizer landscapes.
This irresistibly catchy mid-tempo anthem sees Swift reinterpret "slut" as a derogatory term. She emphasizes how genuine love, or at the very least, a passionate fling, outweighs the background noise of naysayers.