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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
Josiah Poynter, Managing Editor
Josiah Poynter is a 21-year-old journalism major in his fourth semester at Fresno City College and his third in the Rampage. He was born and raised in Camarillo, CA (go PVCS Lions) but has lived in Chicago and now lives in Fresno. Josiah previously held the positions of both the Entertainment and Sports Editor and is now the Managing Editor. He loves journalism and has excelled at writing, even winning a writing contest in second grade against high school students. He has been a part of a newsroom since 2020 going all the way back to his high school in Downers Grove, IL. Moving forward into the future, Josiah knows journalism is calling. He takes pride in knowing his voice and his writing can shape the news landscape and be the voice for people for many years to come. He wants to do something like political reporting, courtroom reporting, or taking on bigger issues that affect local communities but is ultimately unsure where journalism will take him. When he’s not in the newsroom, Josiah is enjoying life and taking it easy as he sees no need to rush when the world has so much to enjoy. He takes one day at a time and prefers relaxing and going out with friends than anything. Some of his hobbies include watching movies (especially those up for award-season), being a nerd about things whether it be comic book media or breaking down the ins and outs of sports, and constantly trying to convince his girlfriend he’s Batman.  
Christianna Schiotis
Christianna Schiotis, News Editor
Christianna Schiotis is an 18-year-old who loves the color pink and dinosaurs; paired with that she has childish humor and enjoys a good joke. 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. This is Schiotis’s second semester with the Rampage; this semester she is fulfilling the News Editor role. 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. She currently shoots with a Canon R6 and a 24-105mm lens. Schiotis also has her own pets who she spoils- her cat Mocha and puppy Azura. She loves to spend time with her best friend of eight years and her boyfriend of four years. She grew up in Fresno with her three siblings, all younger than her. She is going to do something in the journalism field, but doesn’t know what yet.  

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