The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

CESJDS must implement diversity programming otherwise it will cause a gap between JDS students and the greater world.
CESJDS needs to implement more education on diversity
Sadaf Zadeh, Reporter • November 28, 2023

Private school students worldwide face the same issue after graduation: being sheltered. After years of growing up around the same general group...

JDS students from Shepherd Park travel about 7 miles to and from school each day.
Neighborhood creates intricate carpool system to adapt to long commute
Maya Greenblum, Reporter • November 28, 2023

Although a lot of the CESJDS community resides in nearby Montgomery County, over 20 of its families commute daily from a neighborhood located...

The American public responds with their opinions on celebrities voicing opinions on politics
Celebrities need to educate themselves before making statements on political issues
Sophie Schwartz, Reporter • November 28, 2023

Celebrities have a tremendous influence on society. From the shoes they wear to who they should vote for, celebrities have the ability to sway...

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is so much more than a re-recording

Taylor Swift continues to uphold her legendary status and demonstrates growth as an artist in “1989 (Taylor’s Version).”

Taylor Swift, who was born in 1989, has been on a journey of re-releasing her initial six albums to gain ownership of her music. On Oct. 27, she introduced “Taylor’s Version” of her fourth re-released album, “1989.” The original “1989,” released in 2014, was a pop sensation, winning multiple awards, including a Grammy for Album of the Year. The album beautifully encapsulated the spirit of the 2010s and nine years later represents a nostalgic time capsule. Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is not just a re-recording, it is a bold statement of reclaiming her music and her identity.

In August 2014, Swift released the original “1989,” showcasing her as a young woman embracing freedom in a new city which is evident in the album’s Polaroid-adorned cover. “Taylor’s Version” features a new aesthetic with a coastal beach theme.. The original cover showed her with a straight face, reflecting her self-consciousness about her smile. In contrast, “Taylor’s Version” presents her with a beaming smile, symbolizing her reclamation of her true self and her music. The seagulls once trapped on her shirt in the original cover now soar free in the background, echoing the freedom she has found, as evidenced by the 13th track’s theme – she’s finally “clean.”

Fans eagerly anticipated whether there would be significant production changes on their favorite tracks. In past re-recordings, Swift altered the original sound to accommodate a new register. The same held true for “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” While some songs, such as “Style” and “Welcome to New York,” feature slight changes to the guitar key and pitch, most tracks remain faithful to the original production. 

Upon the first listen, however, it becomes apparent that the album captures a new era of pop music and artistic reinvention. The absence of Max Martin, the original producer of “1989,” provides “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” with a distinctive sound, allowing Swift to re-imagine her music with a fresh perspective. In Martin’s place, Jack Antonoff, a long-time friend and collaborator of Swift, takes on a pivotal role as the album’s producer, credited with the majority of the songs. Antonoff’s production quality enhances the album’s original sound, preserving its essence while infusing it with a contemporary touch.

The vault tracks, previously unreleased songs from the original “1989” sessions, are a highlight of any “Taylor’s Version” album. These tracks provide fresh insights into Swift’s songwriting abilities and storytelling process. “Slut!” challenges expectations with its clever lyrics that address Swift’s hyper-criticism of her dating life. “Say Don’t Go” exemplifies Swift’s talent for storytelling with its ’80s synth-pop sound and doomed love narrative. “Now That We Don’t Talk” stands out as the most fun and energetic of the vault tracks, with lyrics that reflect Swift’s maturity and self-assuredness. 

“Is It Over Now” stands out as my personal favorite from “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” for its raw honesty and emotional depth. The song’s lyrics capture the essence of a painful breakup, reflecting the complex feelings that often accompany the end of a relationship. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a tumultuous past, and the upbeat and airy music contrasts starkly with the song’s dark emotional core. This contrast adds a unique layer to the track, making it a standout in the album.

One noticeable aspect of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is Swift’s vocal evolution. Her re-recordings demonstrate her growth as a vocalist over the years. While her original versions captured the raw energy of her youth, the new versions showcase a more mature and polished vocal quality. The vocals are technically superior, but they may lack the same raw intensity as the original recordings.

“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is not just a re-recording, it’s a testament to Taylor Swift’s resilience and her determination to reclaim her works and herself from the media. This album reaffirms her status as a pop superstar and showcases her growth as an artist. The vault tracks offer fans new insights into Swift’s songwriting and storytelling abilities, making this re-release a must-listen for fans and music enthusiasts. As Swift continues her journey of re-releasing her catalog, one thing is clear – she remains an unstoppable force in the music industry.

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About the Contributor
Lilli Libowitz, In-Depth Editor, Director of Staff Management
Lilli Libowitz is excited to continue her work on Lion’s Tale as In-Depth Editor after having previously worked as an Arts and Entertainment Editor and Assistant Opinion Editor. Lilli loves writing and editing articles and designing spreads for print editions. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Lilli is president of both the Biomedical and STEMinism clubs, works as a peer tutor for the Writing Center, and serves as a STEM Fellow. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, reading, and watching T.V. shows. Lilli is ecstatic about an incredible year working with new reporters and editors.

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