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I Don’t Think This Album Is It

Taylor Swift “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” Review
Photo by: Christianna Schiotis
Taylor Swift released “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” on Oct. 27 as the fourth album she’s remastered from her discography.

Taylor Swift’s latest and highly anticipated album “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” was released on Oct. 27 and as a Swift fan, I’m disappointed by this, frankly basic and unimproved, album. 

I think she is one of the best songwriters of the last 20 years and maybe even the best performer ever. However, I can call it how I see it and I think “1989” is just meh.

Out of all the Taylor Versions so far this was the one that could, and should, be the best. In 2014, Swift made her full pop debut with the original “1989”. The original “1989” had class and grace, which I don’t think Swift had ever made as she made a full genre switch. 

Songs like “Welcome To New York,” “Out Of The Woods” and “New Romantics” (a deluxe version of the original “1989″) proved that this switch was the right choice and, more so, could be successful. 

Songs like “All You Had To Was Stay” and “How You Get The Girl” are pop but still keep that same Swift kind of style that fans had loved eight years up to that point. 

This album also pushed Swift to the point where she is now. We wouldn’t have an Eras Tour without “1989” nor would we think of Swift the way we do, in my opinion. I’d argue that this album is the most important to nail, even more than the original “1989.”

While “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” has all these same songs, ultimately, it just doesn’t sound the same as the original in terms of Swift being genuine or the quality of the songs themselves.

 I think this album is the first major misstep of the Taylor Version albums thus far.

The first, and biggest, gripe I have with this album is that the original album was produced by Max Martin, a Swedish pop legend, and is now nowhere to be seen on this album. Martin made a fantastic album with Swift and I think the newest version of it suffers because he’s not on it. 

Now Chris Rowe, most known for his work in country music, is producing this and I think Swift made the wrong decision.

Rowe is a fantastic producer in his own right and has done some things in country I love, including projects with Swift, like her debut in 2006, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” and my favorite Swift album “Red (Taylor’s Version).” Having a country sound on these projects makes absolute sense and if a pop producer touched them, they would not be as good. But for that same reason, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” should not be touched by someone like Rowe.

I’ll admit something sounded off but I thought that it was because I hadn’t listened to “1989” in a while. On first listen or even casual listening you won’t hear a difference but after doing research and stitching it together I think this is the biggest issue and one I think should have been avoided.

I think another issue is this album is a little more aggressive on replay. For example, on the song “Style” it was hard for me to hear the chorus over the sound of bass and synth.

The album isn’t all bad. I think songs like “Wildest Dream” and “All You Had To Do Was Stay” are highlights that sound even better than the original and I’m glad because I love these tracks.

The vault songs also grow on me the more I listen to them. “Say Don’t Go” is probably the best one on the album that fits the sound of “1989.” I think the vault songs really offer something that makes the listening experience more enjoyable. 

On the deluxe version, Swift includes a rerecord of the original version of “Bad Blood” with Kendrick Lamar.

Lamar adds to the song in every way. I think his feature feels more like the song than any Swift part; Lamar is one of the few artists that can outshine and outperform on a track. I think Swift was smart to include this version of the song.

I am hopeful for future Taylor’s Versions as both albums still left, “Reputation” and “Lover” are some of Swift’s worse albums both lyrically and sound-wise; both of them are annoying and overly cringe-filled with commercial pop hits. I think Swift’s new sound has been slower as of late and her more mature voice will greatly improve both of these albums.

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” has plenty of good but the bad, for me, cannot be overlooked and it feels more like a cash-grab by Swift rather than a genuine attempt to remaster one of her best albums and one of the best pop albums of the 2010s. 

It’s good for diehard fans and casual listeners but anyone who is looking for an improvement to the original and hoping for something like “Red (Taylor’s Version)” or even “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” where the genuineness and vulnerability shines through while adding something new. 

I don’t think this album is it.

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About the Contributors
Josiah Poynter, Sports Editor
Josiah Poynter is a 20-year-old second year college student. He’s from Camarillo, California, but has lived all over the country including Fresno where he attended Bullard and Tenaya and most recently spent his last three years of high school on the south-side of Chicago in a suburb called Downers Grove. He’s currently a Journalism major and looks forward to writing and being the Sports Editor for The Rampage. This is Josiah’s third year being in a journalism program going all the way back to high school where he was an editor for his school’s newspaper where he did anything from reviewing albums and films to interviewing congressmen. When he’s not at school or working you can find him going on drives, in the comic book store, listening to music or watching movies, hanging out with his friends, or watching football. He’s excited to report on all of the things that the coaches, athletes, and sports at Fresno City College are doing and making sure all students know what’s going involving their athletic programs.   
Christianna Schiotis is 18 years old and fresh out of high school. She graduated in 2023 from Sanger High School with plenty of merit and awards. She graduated with California Scholarship Federation (CSF) and a State Seal of Civic Engagement. She has made it clear that just because she is young, do not underestimate her. Schiotis was in journalism classes for two of her high school years. In her first year, she was the Photo Editor. Also in her first year, she was in charge of her school's Arts and Literary magazine, which got tenth in the nation at NSPA’s journalism conference. For her Senior year, she was her high school’s newspaper's Editor in Chief, where she led a group of 23 students. During her time, she made her mark and her story got third in the nation. She was ecstatic and will forever brag about it. She is also very thankful for the experience and the amazing staff she had. On top of that, she fell in love with photography. She entered many competitions and even opened her own small photography business. One of her pictures got first place in its division at the Fresno Fairs Junior Art Exhibit. Some of her photos are currently competing nationally. In her photography classes, she also got Adobe Photoshop certified. She currently shoots with a Canon R6 and a 24-105mm lens. Behind all the awards she absolutely loves dinosaurs. She has an abundance of dinosaur plushies and accessories. She lives for the color pink- anything pink she wants or already has. She also loves her cat Mocha and puppy Azura. She loves to spend time with her best friend of seven years and her boyfriend of three years. She grew up in Fresno with her three siblings, all younger than her. She hopes to do something in the journalism field since she fell in love with it but doesn’t know what yet.

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