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The Hawk Eye

Hebron High School News Online

The Hawk Eye

Era’s (Saahir’s Version): 1989

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Saahir Mawani
Welcome to Eras. (Saahir’s Version), the series where I go through all of Taylor Swift’s re-released albums chronologically, analyze the era and rank the songs. This installment will cover “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” — the ‘Pop Bible.’

The year is 2014. 

Taylor Swift is on top of the world, taking New York City by storm. She is on top of the Empire State Building, her iconic bob blowing in the wind, as she finally announces her new album — “1989.”

Welcome to Eras. (Saahir’s Version), the series where I go through all of Taylor Swift’s re-released albums chronologically, analyze the era and rank the songs. This installment will cover “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” — the “Pop Bible.” 

Album Synopsis

Titled after Swift’s birth year, “1989” is a synth-pop album filled with both radio hits and sleeper bops, beginning Swift’s transition into pop. After “Red” lost “Album of the Year” at the 2014 Grammys, Swift quit the country aesthetic fully and dedicated the next album to doing what she loves: “making pop music.”  

This album was not just any era. It was “the era.” Swift was at the first peak of her career, prancing around the city with her group of iconic female status symbols such as Selena Gomez, Lorde, the Haim sisters, Blake Lively and Kendall Jenner. This, coupled with Swift’s official status as New York City’s “global ambassador,” led to the album being sonically and visually cohesive. 

Re-recording Review

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” was a piece of art. While Swift can not replicate the sound of the 2014 release, the new sounds have grown on me. My favorite re-recorded songs were “New Romantics,” “You Are In Love” and “I Know Places.” These songs not only replicate the past iterations, but also add more depth to them. This change is particularly exhibited in “I Know Places,” with Swift adding a deep growl in the spot where she belts the words “and we run.”

However, a few of the songs did not initially meet my expectations. The iconic songs from the album, such as “Style” and “Out of the Woods” had me shocked upon first listen. The new “Taylor’s Version” of the songs were the originals  with a bottle of glitter thrown on them. Having listened to the album multiple times a day for five days consecutively, I have gotten used to the mature, elevated version of the re-records.  

Vault Track Review

“‘S**t!’” opens with Swift singing lyrics describing different colors, all of them corresponding with the different vinyl variants of the album. The first vault track has a light and airy vibe, opening the vault with a completely different energy compared to the intense city vibe of the original. The message behind this song is amazing because of the singing about the rocky relationship Swift has with the media, and their constant analysis of her dating life. Though the song is slower-paced, it is one I love to listen to in my bed. 

A musical counterpart to “Clean” (an original track on the album), “Say Don’t Go” describes a story where the main character (Swift) is in a tumultuous relationship. She asks, “Why’d you whisper in the dark, just to leave me in the night?” expressing how blindsided she was by the betrayal. I can picture myself rolling every single window down in my car, blasting the song and screaming every word. 

A synth-pop banger, “Now That We Don’t Talk” is a short bop, expressing how Swift and her ex-lover (rumored to be Harry Styles) are no longer talking, and how Swift is grateful for it. This bridge is one of my favorites; the cadence of the words fits right in time with my head nodding. I wish this song was longer, just so I could have more to sing. I think this song is most in line with the album’s aesthetic, with its funky synth riffs scratching every itch in my brain. 

My favorite track in the vault, “Suburban Legends” instantly took me back to last year, when I heard “Mastermind.” This song expresses how Swift knew that the duo she sings about was destined to be legendary. Since I first heard this song, I knew that this would be stuck in my head 24/7. This glittery pop tune has made me start dancing in my room more times than I would care to admit. 

“Is It Over Now?” Fortunately, no. There is still one more song in the album. Allegedly about global pop star Harry Styles, this song asks questions about the end of their relationship and when it actually ended. This is my second favorite song, making me scream each question in sync with Swift. The lines “blue dress, on a boat” made my jaw drop, connecting the dots between the lyrics and her relationship with Harry Styles. 

This vault is my favorite of them all, leaving me hopeful for vaults to come with “Reputation” and “Taylor Swift.” The tracks are a beautiful blend, with the base being from the original “1989” era, and influences from the recent “Midnights.” Swift did an excellent job of taking tracks written in 2014 and making them suit the soundscape of today without disregarding the memories of the original.

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About the Contributor
Saahir Mawani, Design Editor
Junior Saahir Mawani is the design editor and this is his second year on staff. In his free time, he loves editing YouTube videos, reading and watching the “Eras Tour” TikToks.

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