Critics Are All Saying The Same About Taylor Swift's Re-Release Of 1989

The album contains delightfully faithful recreations of classic T-Swift bangers and ballads.
Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
Catherine Powell via Getty Images

In 2019, Taylor Swift announced that she would be rerecording her first six studio albums due to a dispute with former manager concerning the ownership of her masters.

Four years later, and Taylor has stuck to her word, today (27 October) re-releasing her fourth instalment of the back catalogue; 1989 (Taylor’s Version).

The album, originally released exactly nine years ago, marked Taylor’s full shift from country starlet to pop-star poised for global domination – and nearly a decade on, and it’s clearer than ever that she wasn’t messing around.

As with her previous re-recordings (Fearless, Red, Speak Now), the album contains delightfully faithful recreations of classic T-Swift bangers and ballads, and five glittering ‘From The Vault’ tracks – songs written for the 2014 album that didn’t make the cut.

Stats-wise, it’s been a phenomenal business decision for Taylor; according to Billboard, when she re-released Fearless, Taylor’s Version was streamed 1.47bn times, against the original’s 680mn. Red’s rerecord charted 2.86bn streams against 476mn. 1989, the album where “everyone became a Swiftie”, is expected to do even better.

This is what critics are saying about Taylor Swift’s fourth re-recording; 1989 (Taylor’s Version)...

Taylor has just re-released her version of 1989
Taylor has just re-released her version of 1989
Kevin Winter/TAS23 via Getty Images

“Reader, a confession. I made a mistake with Taylor Swift’s magnum opus. Not a nightmarishly terrible one, in truth: I gave her fifth album 1989 a broadly positive write-up when it came out in 2014. But the three-star rating that I awarded it has gnawed at me ever since. I should have given it the full five.”

The i – 5/5

“It is a snapshot of an artist going places at the speed of light. We know where that journey would lead: to Ticketmaster meltdowns and Matty Healy becoming famous for 10 minutes in Middle America. How thrilling to travel back in time and watch Swift achieving lift-off all over again.”

1989 is the album that changed everything for Swift, but also for us. After 1989, everyone became a Swiftie, whether it was the 65-year-old neighbour who offers to mow your lawn or the three-year-old you babysit who likes “Shake It Off” because of Sing. The album marked Swift’s official abandonment of country music to become a full-fledged pop star. She had already signaled this change on her 2012 cross-genre masterpiece Red, but this time there was absolutely no confusion which path she was taking, trading in her cowboy hat for some mirror shades, her guitars for glossy synths.”

NME – 5/5

“1989 (Taylor’s Version) feels more symbolic than her previous re-releases. Not only is it another step closer to having a full back catalogue of albums that she will own, but it’s also a celebration of the moment Swift really took ownership of her pop sound. As we’re witnessing the biggest year of Swift’s career so far, the artist’s ability to reinvent herself while honouring her core blueprint is only becoming more impressive. By journeying into the past, it’s a reminder that the future of Taylor Swift may hold so much more that will continue to surprise us.”

The Standard – 4/5

“Say Don’t Go also feels understated until a dynamic chorus cracks the song wide open. Now That We Don’t Talk is the melodic and lyrical highlight, finding her smoothly taking down an ex after he’s gone: ‘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.’ Suburban Legend matches the nostalgic feel of its Eighties synths with lyrics recalling a high school crush, while Is It Over Now? sounds big and bright and like yet another potential hit. If she can leave stuff like this lying around for years, it’s no wonder she’s so far ahead of everyone else.”

“The 1989 Vault turns out not to have any songs that would have been obvious singles, like “I Can See You,” from the “Speak Now” re-do that came out just months ago. Or if there are any leftover Max Martin/Shellback cuts still somewhere in the can, she decided to keep them there for now, in favor of emphasizing what she’s got going now with Antonoff. It’s a good call, in my mind, to make the first Vault section that sounds kind of all of a piece, and a modern-day piece. She knows what never goes out of style, even if that means reverse-engineering some of her older writing here to feel like it takes place just before midnight.”

“Where some vault tracks felt like they muddled the existing story in past rerecordings, the vault tracks on 1989 (Taylor’s Version) give it more colour – a kaleidoscope of stories and feelings that mirror the sounds heard and explored throughout. Although the rerecordings and the persistent release cycle might cause some casual listeners’ interest to wane, 1989 (Taylor’s Version) should reignite the excitement that its original era brought for fans and pop music as a whole – it’s Swift being reborn, again, in her own way.”

“With a forensic attention to detail, Swift’s remake is astonishing in its exactitude, another reminder that she is a star of a different magnitude with a mastery of her own talents and a bold business acumen. A decision which might have been a moment’s whimsy has now become an art statement that has redoubled her popularity.… It’s the kind of dazzling songcraft and pointed delivery that reminds us that, when it comes to Swift, we should accept no substitutes.”

The Times – 5/5

″ all adds up to a masterclass in mainstream songwriting. This is the album that turned Taylor Swift into the biggest singer of modern times. Nine years after it was first released, you can see why.”


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