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Champaign Central Chronicle

1989 Taylor’s Version – The Vault is Cracked

On October 27th, 2023 Taylor Swift re-released her album titled “1989” Swift is re-recording her first six albums along with songs that were not on the original album.

In order to make money from them, Scooter Braun bought the record label where she recorded the albums, taking the rights away from Swift. 

A lot of people question why she is re-recording her first albums. In June of 2019 Taylor’s contract with “Big Machine Records” expired, which is where she recorded her first “Taylor Swift” through her sixth album “reputation”. Scooter Braun bought the company for approximately $330 million. When buying the company, Braun also gained ownership of Swift’s masters.

In August 2019 Taylor announced she would be re-releasing all six of the albums since through publishing rights she is the primary songwriter for every single one of the songs. Before she released any re-recordings, Scooter sold all of her masters and many others to Shamrock Holdings, an American private equity company. 

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Shortly after this, Swift began re-recording. She released Fearless (Taylor’s Version) in April 2021, then Red (Taylor’s Version) in November. Following that she released Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) in July 2023 and 1989 (Taylor’s Version) in October 2023. In between re-releasing, Swift released her tenth studio album “Midnights” in October 2022. 

With each re-release, the number of (Taylor’s Version) beats the original version in streams. “It’s dedicated and petty in the best way possible” Summer Tolbert described.

Taylor Swift released her fifth studio album titled “1989” on October 27th, 2014. This album was her first pop album since she was originally a country singer. The deluxe version of the album had 16 songs. The album consisted of songs like “Welcome to New York” which is about going to New York with your friends and having fun, and songs like “Clean” which is about realizing you’re finally free of heartbreak, you feel clean and healed. 

Swift described “1989” as a “storyline never told before”. She describes this album as showing a more complicated side of a breakup, instead of it just focusing on her emotions. Swift titled the album 1989 after the year she was born, and she used the album as a form of rebirth in the industry. It was her first non-country album and unlike her other albums, it focuses more on living life and less on her long list of ex-lovers. “It goes into more on how she lived with friends and not just about her failed relationships since people gave her a lot of crap for singing about those,” Abby Wenzel described. 

Every re-recording has a number of newly released but not newly written songs called “vault tracks”. With the rel

ease of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) there were five vault tracks. “Slut!”, Say Don’t Go, Now That We Don’t Talk, Suburban Legends, and Is It Over Now?.

Some people describe the order of the tracks as the stages of grief for a heartbreak. The song “Slut!” is more of a love song than people thought it would be, in the song Taylor says “And if they call me a slut, you know it might be worth it for once”. It’s a jab at the people who have come after her for years saying she dates too much and only writes about her failed relationships. Allie Tucker described her initial reaction to the song. “It’s more upbeat than I expected, I thought it was going to be a sad song,” 

Then immediately in Say Don’t Go she very clearly shifts and is begging for her partner to stay. “I would stay forever if you say, ‘Don’t go’.” The song is asking someone to say and prove that they still care and want to make the relationship work. But inevitably, they didn’t. 

People described Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault) as a reminder for herself to not break no contact with her ex, she’s better since they don’t talk. “Guess maybe I am better off, now that we don’t talk”. “ It’s really relatable especially in the age of situationships” Tolbert stated.

Then in “Suburban Legends” (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault). Swift describes a love interest that she feels she could have but it just never worked. “I had the fantasy that maybe our mismatched star signs would surprise the whole school.” She felt as if she couldn’t compare or live up to her partner. The lyrics tell the story of a girl who hoped her teen love would blossom into a great story in their small town, but it never got to that.

Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault) really opened people’s eyes to how Swift and Styles’ relationship really was. “Since no one thought of Harry and Tayl

or’s relationship in that way, “Is It Over Now?” was very eye-opening to who Harry was at the time,” Wenzel expressed. “Was it over when she laid down on your couch? Was it over when he unbuttoned my blouse?” This lyric opened the door to the vulnerability and secrets that occurred during the relationship. 

A question of how people will act after the release of the vault tracks has come up. The songs were written in 2013/2014 after Swift and Styles broke up. 

A recurring thing that happens after Taylor releases music people tend to come after her, saying she is just doing stuff for attention, publicity or,  “People could say she released them to get revenge or fans could use it as an excuse to attack Harry” Tucker expressed. 

Fans also wonder about what would’ve happened if Taylor had chosen to add the vault tracks on the album in 2014. “I’m glad they came out later because she would not be where she is now, there are obviously going to be people who don’t like her and with how direct she was people definitely will have things to say,” Tolbert expressed. Would she be where she is now? 

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