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1989 (Taylor's Version)

October 27, 2023

This article is about the re-recording. For the original album, see 1989 (2014).
1989 (Taylor’s Version) is the upcoming re-recording of Taylor’s fifth studio album, 1989 (2014). It will be released by Republic Records on October 27, 2023, exactly nince years after the release of the original. The album was announced in Los Angeles on August 9, 2023, at the last show of the debut American leg of Taylor’s historic concert tour, “The Eras Tour“.
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1989 represented a departure from the country music of Taylor’s previous albums. When she first announced the album on August 18, 2014, she described it as her “first documented, official pop album”, stating that she was inspired by late 1980s pop during the recording period.

Taylor described 1989 as the most “sonically cohesive” studio album she ever made. In an interview with Kiss FM (UK), she confirmed that the title was inspired by the music developed in her birth year, 1989, which she had re-discovered during the making of this album. In September 2014, Taylor told Rolling Stone that Martin, New York City, her journal, Fine Young Cannibals and a sense of experimentation were the key influences underpinning the album. In relation to experimentation, Taylor elaborated on the music of the 1980s:

«It [the 1980s] was a very experimental time in pop music...People realized songs didn't have to be this standard drums-guitar-bass-whatever. We can make a song with synths and a drum pad. We can do group vocals the entire song. We can do so many different things. And I think what you saw happening with music was also happening in our culture, where people were just wearing whatever crazy colors they wanted to, because why not? There just seemed to be this energy about endless opportunities, endless possibilities, endless ways you could live your life. And so with this record, I thought, 'There are no rules to this. I don't need to use the same musicians I've used, or the same band, or the same producers, or the same formula. I can make whatever record I want.'»

The album was a critical and commercial success, receiving positive reviews from music critics and selling over 1.287 million copies within its first week in the United States. Taylor became the first artist to have three albums each sell one million copies within the first week, and 1989 topped the Billboard 200 chart for 11 non-consecutive weeks. Three of its singles — “Shake It Off“, “Blank Space“, and “Bad Blood” — reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards (2016), 1989 won for “Album of the Year” and “Best Pop Vocal Album”, making Taylor the first female artist to win the former two times.

In November 2018, her contract with her forber record label, Big Machine Records, expired; she hence withdrew from Big Machine and signed a new recording deal with Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, which secured her the rights to own the masters of the new music she would release going forward. In 2019, American businessman Scooter Braun and his company Ithaca Holdings acquired the Big Machine Label Group. As part of the acquisition, ownership of the master recordings to Taylor’s first six studio albums, including 1989, transferred to Braun. Taylor immediately denounced Braun’s purchase of the label and announced that she would re-record her first six studio albums, to own the masters to her life’s work herself. In November 2020, Braun sold the masters to Shamrock Holdings, an American private equity firm owned by the Disney estate, under the conditions that Braun and Ithaca Holdings would continue to financially profit from the albums. Taylor began re-recording her first six studio albums in November 2020.

Release and Promotion

Taylor began teasing 1989 (Taylor’s Version) with “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)“, released on September 17, 2021, amid a viral TikTok trend involving the original 2014 recording of the song. “This Love (Taylor’s Version)” was released on digital platforms a couple of months later, on May 6, 2022. A snippet of “Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version)” followed when it was featured in the 2022 animated film DC League of Super-Pets.

The music video for “I Can See You“, a vault track from Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) (2023) included an Easter egg hinting at the re-record of 1989. Finally, several hints to the imminent announcement were noticed by fans while Taylor performed at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles as part of her sixth concert tour, “The Eras Tour”, on August 9, 2023, including several of Taylor’s outfits changing to a blue color, and fans’ LED wristbands flashing blue five times. During the acoustic section of the show, Taylor officially announced 1989 (Taylor’s Version) as her next re-recorded album, set for release on October 27, 2023, nine years after the original release of 1989. She said:

«Since I was a teenager, I’ve wanted to own my music, and the way to do it was to re-record my albums and call them Taylor’s Version. And the way that you have embraced that, the way that you have celebrated that, you really decided that it was your fight too, and that you were 100% behind me, and if I cared about it, you cared about it. I’ll never stop thanking you for that. It is so generous of you to care about something that I cared about. And so now, here we are, on the last night of the US leg of 'The Eras Tour', in the eighth month of the year, on the ninth day of the month. You might have noticed there are some new outfits for this show, there’s some blue stuff going on. And there’s something that I’ve been planning for a really, really, really, really, ridiculously, embarrassingly long time. And I think instead of just like, telling you about it, I think I’ll just sort of show you something I decided to show you.»

In celebration of the occasion, SoFi Stadium illuminated its roof with the album title following the announcement.

1989 (Taylor’s Version) is scheduled for release on October 27, 2023, making it Taylor’s fourth re-recorded album. It contains 22 tracks, six of which are designated “From the Vault“, indicating unreleased songs that were written for 1989 but did not make the final track list in 2014. The physical re-recording comes in vinyl, cassette, and CD formats. In addition to the standard CD and LP, Taylor released three other CD variants featuring different packaging and either posters or polaroid photographs, as well as four vinyl variants, one of which is an exclusive deluxe edition with a bonus track from the vault.