On Aug. 9th in Los Angeles, California during her iconic Eras Tour, Taylor Swift announced the release date of “1989 (Taylors Version)” for Oct. 27th. Releasing it on the anniversary date when she released the original “1989” album nine years prior, it gave Swifties plenty of time to eagerly anticipate Swift’s remastering of her beloved songs. Now that it has been four weeks since the release of Swift’s version of the album, fans have had time to soak in the intricate details adjusted in the songs’ remakes, as well as get acquainted to the five new songs brought out of The Vault for “1989 (Taylors Version).”
The vault, a term used by Swift, is a metaphorical jail referring to the songs that were cut from their intended albums when she released the original albums. When she decided to release her versions of her work, Swift chose to take out the songs from the vault to share with her fans. According to “Today,” when Swift announced the release of songs from the vault during her release of “Fearless (Taylors Version),” she mentioned in a tweet she wanted her fans to “see the entire vivid picture.” She has now carried that over into the other “Swift’s Version” albums, bringing in guest artists such as Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, Fallout Boy, Phoebe Bridgers and many more. However, “1989 (Taylors Version)” is the first remade album not featuring another artist.
The vault tracks released in “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” are titled “’Slut!’,” “Now That We Don’t Talk,” “Suburban Legends,” “Say Don’t Go” and “Is It Over Now?” Looking at the releases from the vault in “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” the songs’ instrumentation is slightly shocking. Swift’s renditions of the already beloved songs were remastered with more synth and technological instrumentation, but nearly all the songs released from the vault in this album drop the rock pop-synth mix Swift formed and lean heavily into instrumentation made via synth and pad. The mix, alongside the five vault songs’ melodies, more resembles the songs in Swift’s “Midnights” album. With the absence of melodical instrumental lines, the softer synth in all the tracks creates a style incongruent with the original “1989” album. “Say Don’t Go” and melodical hints in “Is It Over Now?” are the only songs of the vault tracks that are continuous with the album’s original pieces.
The lyrics in the vault tracks are as Swift-like and metaphorical as would be expected, using phrases such as “The sticks and stones they / throw froze mid-air” from “’Slut!’” and “I’m trying to see the cards that / you won’t show” from “Say Don’t Go.” All of the tracks continue to piece together the rollercoaster love, heartbreak and passion that Swift pieces together in “1989.” Her storytelling in her musicality and lyrics is also slightly adjusted in the new five songs. Swift leads with her lower vocal range in “Say Don’t Go” and “Now That We Don’t Talk,” revealing more musical layers than previously shown in the original “1989.” She is also more uncensored, candidly expressing insecurities of being called a “slut” in ‘“Slut!’” and sharing a desperation strong enough to jump “off a very tall something” for attention from an old lover in “Is It Over Now?” It is more like present-day Swift’s expression of her emotions, inviting listeners to wonder what else has been hidden in the vault. Seeing this side of the “1989” album through the wider scope of the vault songs lets fans into the time capsule of ragged love offered in “1989 (Taylors Version).”