add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );The re-recording of Taylor Swift’s album 1989: A BC Take - BANG.
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The re-recording of Taylor Swift’s album 1989: A BC Take

In August 2019, while doing press for her newest album, Lover, Taylor Swift made it clear that she intended to re-record her first six albums. The artist, who had long fought to own her music, wanted to take back control.

 

When 15-year-old Swift began her career back in 2008, she signed with Big Machine Records and went on to produce six albums with them– Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation. She eventually made the hard decision to part ways with the label in 2018, and a year later, the company, along with her entire discography to date, was purchased by Scooter Braun's media company, Ithaca Holdings. Swift described the sale as her "worst-case scenario," and Braun soon began to exert extreme control over how she used her music. Never the quitter, Swift decided the only way to overcome this roadblock was to re-record her original six albums in order to have a version that she owned the rights to. In essence, album by album, Swift would be able to take back control of her music.

 

Since then, Swift has released re-recordings for four of the six albums, the most recent being 1989, which was released on October 27, 2023, nine years after the original album came out. Fans have had a wide range of reactions to the re-recordings and the changes that come with it. But there is no doubt that in the Swifty community, these re-recordings are a big deal. 

 

Everyone seems to have some sort of opinion on Taylor Swift and her re-recording journey, and Boston College Students are no exception. I gathered a group of BC juniors with a wide range of opinions in order to discuss Swift's newest release, 1989.  

 

Emma is a self-proclaimed Swifty who started listening to Swift when the album Fearless came out and hasn't looked back since. She went to the Eras tour this summer and is "very very dedicated to the Taylor Swift fan base". Julia appreciates the nostalgia in Swift's music and especially likes the 1989/Reputation era but is less knowledgeable about Taylor Swift's lore. Lilly describes herself as a "moderate Swifty" after getting into Swift's music during the Folklore/Evermore era and has since gone back to listen to past tracks. Mikayla occupies the non-Swifty end of the spectrum. She listened to her as a kid but eventually turned to other artists in her teen/adult years. 

 

Ainsley: Taylor has been making recordings of her music for a long time, and this is her fourth re-recording release. So what do you guys think of that concept of taking back ownership of the music and also the way that she's kind of going about doing it? 

 

Emma: I definitely am obviously biased as a big Swifty, but I would say I think it's very much like her taking back her music. I think it is inspirational to other artists, especially artists who started young and just didn't know the music industry. Also, I think there's some disagreement over the rereleases because some people say that the songs were better when they were sung in the context of when she was younger. Some people feel that the original tracks have more emotion, but I think it's more of a personal thing for her to take back ownership of these albums at this point in her life. 

 

Lilly: I think it was a very clever business decision. It is so cool to see a woman who obviously didn't agree with her music manager take back control of her career. I think it's very symbolic. It's impressive that people care so much, and I don't mean that in a condescending way. I genuinely feel like it speaks to how popular she is and how generationally she spans so wide. People seem to genuinely care about everything she releases, which is really impressive.  

 

Mikayla: I'm more cynical about it all just because I see it as a bit of a cash grab. But to be fair, I don't understand it fully, even though I've tried. I do know there are dimensions of artistic integrity and intellectual property to it. But I think there's definitely a lot of money to be made from it. 

 

Ainsley: This was an album that originally came out in 2015, so it's been almost ten years since the original release. There's often a lot of criticism on how these re-records don't capture the same vibes and emotion as the original. Do you guys think she did a good job? Do you think it's lacking anything? 

 

Julia: I really like the album. I'm not like the biggest Swifty of all time, so I'm not going to notice a key change in the chorus of "Blank Space" or anything. To me, there's no difference in emotion that I can hear. The instruments used were something I noticed sounded different, and that bothers me on some songs but not to the point of distraction. Generally, I like it.

 

Lilly: I think they indisputably sound different from the original songs, and if you are a really huge fan, you will notice. If you want to listen to a song you love, you're still going to automatically think of the original one. There definitely are small changes that make kind of a big difference, but I think overall, it's cool to compare the tracks and see her evolution. 

 

Emma: If I had to rank them, I'd say this is my second favorite rerelease besides Red because it was just very well done overall. This was just like a step up from her past re-records like Speak Now. I'm really happy that she recorded "Bad Blood" featuring Kendrick Lamar because it's just so good. And I honestly feel like I hear more depth in her voice, maybe because of her maturity and vocal development since she first recorded it in 2014. I really enjoyed this album, probably even more than the original. 

 

Ainsley: Mikayla, I know you don't listen to a lot of her music, but have you peripherally heard any of the responses to this album?

 

Mikayla: All I have is my own personal response from listening through it once. I really don't like what she did to New Romantics. I think it's too busy now. That was one difference I noticed. That was one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs, and it just doesn't sound the same. That's what I noticed most. 

 

Ainsley: Moving on to the "From the Vault" songs, I feel like people have a lot of opinions about those, including myself. What kind of sound do they have? Do they match the vibe of the album, or do they maybe sound like more recent music? What do you guys think about the Vault songs? 

 

Emma: I feel like they're very reminiscent of Midnights. "Now That We Don't Talk" does give "Mastermind" vibes, at least to me. I've listened to the vault songs on this album a lot more than the others, and I feel like there was a lot more thought put into them. I thought the Speak Now From the Vault Songs were disappointing, so I was really happy with them. They sound like a mix of Midnights and 1989, which I enjoy. 

 

Lilly: This is the first time I've cared about any of the vault songs. I've tried to listen to them on other albums, and they haven't been intriguing, but I feel like these ones were really good. I don't know why. I guess she wasn't a baby anymore when she wrote these songs, and so I connected to them more. It was clear to me that these Vault songs were about Harry Styles, and it's a good tea for the fans. "Now That We Don't Talk" definitely adds lore to their whole relationship and interesting details so many years later. It makes the songs more fun. 

 

Ainsley: For me, I thought they sounded very similar to Midnight's when I listened to them. But I think that's mostly production rather than writing because you do hear a lot of the storylines from that period of her life in the songs. 

 

Ainsley: One last question for all of you. How much longer do you think she's gonna go? How long until it's like she's "too old" and people don't care anymore? Has she stopped making music, or is she the next Madonna? 

 

Lilly: I think she will become like Madonna or like Dolly Parton or someone like that. I don't see her ever stopping. Let's see who she marries if she marries, and if she has children. That will all impact her career for sure. 

 

Ainsley: I could totally see her taking a 10-15-year hiatus, kind of like not really doing much. Getting married, maybe having kids or whatever, "settling down," and then doing a whole comeback album. But for the foreseeable future, I think she'll stick around. 

 

Emma: I agree. She's a very timeless artist, especially seeing the kids now who weren't alive when she started her music but are now major fans. That just shows the reach of her audience. I think that the fact that she has such a large and relatively diverse fanbase will definitely help her continue her career.

 

Mikayla: I think she is like a once-in-a-generation type of artist. So, she will always be around in some capacity. And as long as there's still money in people's pockets, she's gonna be making music. 

 

Ainsley: I guess only time will tell. But it will definitely be interesting to see how her career and sound have evolved over the years. 

 

Swift has two album re-recordings left to release, Taylor Swift and Reputation. There is endless speculation over when these albums will be released and what comes next. Swift recently entered a relationship with NFL player Travis Kelce, and the fandom is as active as ever. Many wonder if Swift has finally found the one and what the future of her career holds once all the rereleases are complete. Only time will tell, but there is no doubt that eagle-eyed fans will do their best to uncover any clue they can get. Right now, it seems that all Taylor Swift has left to do is reclaim her reputation and her name. 

 

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