'1989 (Taylor's Version)' Reveals Why Harry Styles Actually Isn't Her Best Ex, by Rachel Foley
When 1989 (Taylor’s Version) hit Spotify, I was tuned in right at midnight to listen despite my 8:30 class the next morning.
1989 is one of the most timeless and classic eras for Taylor Swift — when she went against her previous country-girl aesthetic and came out with a full-blown pop album. “Taylor’s Version” has been an incredible journey for her, and listeners can definitely hear key differences in the new versions of the songs. With a new re-record, Harry Styles on blast and, most importantly, five new vault tracks, we’ve got a lot to dive into. One question to keep in mind: Is 1989 really the “pop bible” like so many fans think?
1989 (Taylor’s Version) has a few key differences from the original album. I was totally expecting lyric changes, such as in “Clean” from “10 months sober” to “10 years sober,” but I was a little disappointed about that one specifically.
What’s really different, though, is the production. Since this was meant to be a pop debut, it had to be really poppy — not to mention it was 2015, when this filtered, snare-track type of song was really popular. The vocal style and production fans expected sound really different on the re-record, especially on “Welcome to New York,” “Style,” “I Wish You Would” and “Wonderland.” But it’s not her vocal abilities that are the issue. It seems as if the vocals were edited in a way that makes them all sound similar and flatter now as opposed to the originals, which had more personality.
Despite this, my absolute favorite part of the re-records is that Jack Antonoff and Max Martin, Swift’s main producers, give her vocals so much more room. The re-records turn down the track and turn up Swift’s vocals, making it much more enjoyable to listen to. I was so excited to hear some of these songs with some room for her vocals to shine, and they 100% delivered. Her vocals have also just improved generally (not that they were ever lacking as some like to say), which is another thing about all of the re-records that I really look forward to. Hearing this on the five new songs just makes getting new Taylor Swift music even better.
Speaking of, we need to talk about Harry Styles and these vault tracks.
So we were all waiting and refreshing social media, hoping for “Style” to feature Harry Styles or at least include him in some way or another due to their newfound friendship. Instead, her newest vault track did the exact opposite: It absolutely tore him apart. The vault track “Is It Over Now” is all about Styles, and it’s brutal.
For some background, the two briefly dated before Swift ended things after a picture surfaced of him kissing another girl. It’s no secret Styles had a wandering eye, also a subject line in “Style,” but the vaults track shed new light on the situation.
In the first verse of “Is It Over Now,” with the line “once the flight had flown,” she seems to reference the paper airplane necklace she wore that fans speculated he gave her while they were dating. This new song is like the younger sister of “Question…?” from her album Midnights, where she seems to be interrogating Styles, asking when the relationship was finally over. After they broke up, Styles continued to pursue her for the better part of a year, as Swift talks about in “Out Of The Woods.”
The most brutal lines of “Is It Over Now” cut deep: “Let’s fast forward to 300 awkward blind dates later (Oh) / If she’s got blue eyes, I will surmise that you’ll probably date her / You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor (Oh) / You search in every model’s bed for somethin’ greater, baby.”
Styles clearly hurt Swift a lot more than we ever thought, and maybe that’s why we didn’t get the feature. I mean, no hate to Harry Styles at all as I love him, personally, and the two have a professional relationship at the least. We just finally got to know the real story now that we’re all older. It’s safe to say that Harry’s in timeout for now, though, with the resurfaced interest in their relationship.
Now let’s really dive into these vault tracks. I really expected “Slut!” to be a new anthem or a sad song. Either way, I anticipated a song about how everyone called her a slut during this era, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, this song is really sweet, with lyrics like “And if they call me a slut / You know it might be worth it for once / And if I'm gonna be drunk / Might as well be drunk in love” that lean into this media representation and say that it’s totally worth it for this relationship.
In the vein of other 1989 hits, “Say Don’t Go” is such a classic pop song. The anthemic shouting in the chorus is so 2015, and it’s obvious that Swift’s 2015 mindset wrote this one.
“Now That We Don’t Talk” reigns as one of my absolute favorites. It's another classic pop song, but at the same time, I feel like I haven’t heard anything like it. I love the outro, and a lot of girls are going to relate to having to pretend to like things for their man as the lyrics, “I don’t have to pretend I like acid rock” discuss.
I honestly don’t have much to say about “Suburban Legends.” It’s not a favorite, but that might change. The production is really clean and satisfying on that one so it’s likely to grow on me. This is another one that reminds me of Midnights with the futuristic track that’s full of Jack Antonoff-style synths.
Choosing which to include in the vault could not have been an easy task. The new vault tracks gave everything I wanted them to give and more.
1989 (Taylor’s Version) is going to be on repeat for a while for sure. The new production is just something to get used to, and the vocals easily make up for it. I’m still shocked about the Harry Styles slander, but I’m glad we finally got to hear the rest of the story. The new vault tracks did not disappoint; there are some future favorites in there. This album is an absolute classic and one that made a lot of people into Swifties. 1989 is the pop bible for sure.