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2024 Senior Issue
May 22, 2024
2024 Senior Issue
May 20, 2024

Taylor Swift’s 1989 Redux

Ranking Each Song from the Iconic Album

   It’s finally happening….. We’re getting Taylor’s Version of 1989! Speculation for this release has been circulating ever since Taylor released her version of “Wildest Dreams” in  September 2021. Swifties (myself included) expected the rest of the album to come soon after, but we were left waiting, with Swift releasing Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) instead.

 Wanting to regain control of her masters, Taylor announced that 1989 (Taylor’s Version) will be coming out on October 27, nine years later to the day the original version was released. 

To honor this announcement, let’s take a look back at the original version of the album. Below are the 16 songs on the Deluxe Edition of 1989. I’ve chosen to not rank the voice notes included in the Deluxe Edition, since they don’t add any new songs to rank.

16. Shake It Off

It had to happen. One song had to be last, and after going back and forth, my obvious choice is Shake It Off. I’m not denying it’s a good song. It’s fun to scream out with 70,000 other people at the Eras Tour and I’ll always have nostalgic memories of it. But compared to some of Swift’s other songs on this album, it gets easily overshadowed. “Shake It Off” is still a very good song, but it feels more like a trip down memory lane and doesn’t hold up the best today, almost 9 years after it’s release

15. All You Had To Do Was Stay

“All You Had To Do Was Stay” is one of Swift’s most fun breakup songs. Although the lyrics talk about Swift going through a bad breakup, the song makes you want to dance. For me, it’s difficult to sing along with this one.

14. I Wish You Would

Swift really started turning towards making pop focused music with 1989. One of the more rhythm based songs on this album is “I Wish You Would”. It almost has a rock-like feel to it with the retro vibe and compelling melody. Though I would never skip it if it came on shuffle, “I Wish You Would” gets lost behind some of the bigger songs.

13. Bad Blood

Like “Shake It Off”, “Bad Blood” is a very memorable song for me. It was one of the first Swift songs I knew the lyrics to by heart. It has a nostalgic pull and it’s fun to sing along to, but it just doesn’t have the same feel as some of the other songs on this album.

12. I Know Places

“I Know Places” is unique compared to some of the other songs from 1989. It has a darker tone, almost making it feel like it should be on Reputation instead. It has a very interesting melody and captivating use of a fox and hunter metaphor to describe a relationship.

11. Welcome to New York

“Welcome to New York” is the breath of fresh air from Swift’s four previous country-pop albums. It’s the perfect song for the start of the album, describing the new scene that Swift is trying to set. In my opinion, there couldn’t have been a better opening song for this album.

10. Blank Space

In my opinion, out of all the massive singles from 1989, “Blank Space” has the best narrative. Reading through the lyrics, you can see examples of Swift playing with the media calling her a “man-eater” and her changing that perception of herself. It’s catchy and had some famously misheard lyrics – everything a good single should have.

9. Style

“Style” is one of Swift’s trademark songs, and for good reasons. On top of the allusions to a certain One Direction member, “Style” just FEELS like it’s the structure for most pop songs for the mid-2010’s

8. How You Get The Girl

“How You Get The Girl” is Taylor explaining the rules of a relationship. She keeps the advice she gives simple: You say / I want you for worse or for better / I would wait forever and ever / Broke your heart, I’ll put it back together / I would wait forever and ever.

7. Wildest Dreams

Listening to “Wildest Dreams” almost feels hypnotizing. The melody makes you feel like you’re somewhere in between worlds. This song makes my mind wander through so many thoughts of soulmates and everlasting love. What could make someone feel as good as that? It makes me want to hit the replay button over and over again.

6. You Are In Love

I get it. This is a controversial place to put “You Are In Love”. Maybe I have a slight bias from seeing it live at the Eras Tour, but regardless of that, it’s still an amazing song. It describes two people going from friends to lovers, and how their already close relationship makes their romantic relationship even stronger.

5. Out Of The Woods

“Out Of The Woods” is mysterious and dark. It’s supported by its 80’s-esque production and its references to Swift’s life and relationships circa 2014.

4. Wonderland

Swift uses a series of Alice in Wonderland references to describe an unhealthy relationship in “Wonderland”. She’s always had a habit of framing relationships with unique metaphors, and this song is one of her best pursuits of that.

3. This Love

“This Love” is one of two 1989 songs to already have a Taylor’s Version re-recording. The song was originally released in May 2022, adding fuel to the speculation fire that 1989 would be the next re-recorded album. “This Love” has always been a strong song in Swift’s long catalog. The relationship Taylor sings about is soft, gentle, and accepting.

2. New Romantics

After Taylor announced the release date of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) at the final stop of the U.S leg of the Eras Tour, she played “New Romantics” as one of the surprise songs of that night. It makes sense why Swift decided to play this song of all songs. It’s about rebuilding yourself after people take parts of you away, and that’s exactly what Swift is doing with her re-recording project.

1. Clean

As proven by this list, Swift has no shortage of amazing songs from 1989, which makes my final choice difficult. In the end, my choice was simple. It had to be “Clean”. Swift wrote this song about the moment when all thoughts of an ex have just been wiped clean from your head. Fans have really run with the track, interpreting their own messages about Swift’s past through the lyrics. “Clean” has become both an outstanding addition to Swift’s catalog of breakup songs and a hopeful message to any Swifties going through tough times.

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