The Billboard charts should be prepared to leave a “Blank Space” for Taylor Swift once again.
On Friday, Swift released “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” — nine years to the day after the original album was released. The artist is now reportedly a billionaire, according to Bloomberg.
When Swift released “1989” in 2014, it seemed like she was at her peak. “Shake It Off” became a massive hit, the viral “Bad Blood” music video featured seemingly every A-lister in Hollywood, and “1989” ended up edging out “Frozen” as the most popular album of the year.
While Swift’s re-recording journey may have been conceived as an effort to reclaim her work, the “Taylor’s Version” albums have been triumphant successes in their own right. All three re-recordings have debuted at No. 1, with each one performing better than the last.
“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is also poised to be a huge success. Here’s what to know.
What are the vault songs?
Google announced that its search function would populate a series of 89 puzzles that fans could solve to eventually reveal the names of those new songs.
Fans successfully decoded the names of the five vault tracks, or songs that weren’t included on the original album. Swift posted the official track list to her social media platforms on Sept. 20, confirming the vault track titles: “Now That We Don’t Talk,” “Suburban Legends,” “Say Don’t Go,” “Is It Over Now?” and “‘Slut!’”
In an Instagram post announcing the album in August, Swift wrote it was her “most FAVORITE re-record I’ve ever done because the 5 From The Vault tracks are so insane.”
“I can’t believe they were ever left behind,” she wrote in the caption.
Does the album feature any collaborations?
Fans have posted their dream collab artists, including Harry Styles on “Style,” a track many believe to be about Swift’s former rumored relationship with her fellow pop star. But the former One Direction band member’s vocals are not featured.
In terms of producers, the original “1989” was the first collaboration with Jack Antonoff, who has become an integral part of Swift’s discography and social life. He is credited as a producer on every “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” vault track. Other original producing collaborators, such as Max Martin and Imogen Heap, also returned for the re-recorded version of the album.
Swift said Friday morning that the re-recording of “Bad Blood (featuring Kendrick Lamar)” would be available on “1989 (Taylor’s Version) Deluxe Edition.”
“Watching @kendricklamar create and record his verses on the Bad Blood remix was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life… The reality that Kendrick would go back in and re-record Bad Blood so that I could reclaim and own this work I’m so proud of is surreal and bewildering to me,” Swift posted on X.
Were there any notable Easter eggs leading up to the release?
It wouldn’t be Swiftdom without Easter eggs. Swift and her team unleashed plenty of online speculation ahead of the album release.
This week, Swift posted three photos on her Instagram story featuring handwritten notes.
The first photo was a notebook entry posted Tuesday that read, “Let’s fast forward to 300 takeout coffees later I see your profile and your smile on unsuspecting waiters.”
The second photo, posted Wednesday, featured four lines written in alternating blue and black ink. “Aquamarine, Moonlit swimming pool, what if, All I need is you,” the lines read.
The third post, shared Thursday on Swift’s story, read, “I broke my own heart, Cause you were too polite to do it.”
Fans immediately took to social media to speculate about the meaning behind the cryptic posts from the “Mastermind” singer. Theories circulating on X proposed that the handwritten notes Swift posted could be lyrics from the “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” vault tracks.
On TikTok, a user speculated in a video, which has gotten over 600,000 views, that lines like “Aquamarine” and “Moonlit swimming pool” could even be bonus song titles.
When the album was released, it was revealed that the notes were in fact lyrics from the vault songs.
What does the “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” prologue say?
The initial “1989” release had an intro that was penned by Swift when she was 24.
The TV prologue features one handwritten message from Swift, as well as another two-page note typed in all-caps Courier.
“I was born in 1989, reinvented for The first time in 2014, and a part of me was reclaimed in 2023 wiTh The re-release of This album I love so dearly,” she writes in the handwritten prologue. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine The magic you would sprinkle on my life for so long.”
With the lengthier typed message, some fans zeroed in on one paragraph in particular, in which Swift writes, “If I only hung out with my female friends, people couldn’t sensationalize or sexualize that right? I would learn later on that people could and people would.”
Factions of Swift’s fan base have been known to clash online over speculation that the pop singer may have had romantic relationships with women, like her female friends. Swift herself said in 2019 that she is “not a part of” the LGBTQ+ community. That hasn’t stopped some fans — who call themselves “Gaylors” — from overanalyzing all of her lyrics.
Both notes end with “It’s been waiting for you,” a line from her “1989” song “Welcome To New York.”
How have fans reacted to “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” so far?
Ahead of the release, Taylor Nation, the official account for Swift’s management team, also shared a “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” album cover generator for fans to re-create the cover with their own photos. Fans posted their personalized covers, including versions featuring pictures of themselves and their pets.
After the album dropped, many Swifties reminisced about reliving 2014 nostalgia in 2023 on posts on X and TikTok.
“The people who were in high school/older when 1989 came out…. this album literally shaped our teens and 20s and it gets better with time nobody can tell me otherwise,” one fan said in a X post.
“Getting to re-live all of our favorite albums with taylor for the second time is something so special to me… these albums are the soundtrack to our lives and it’s so crazy to look back and see how far we have come since their original release,” another fan posted.
However, the track “Style (Taylor’s Version)” appeared to disappoint some fans.
“Oh god what is wrong with style tv… i’m so sorry,” one fan said in a post.
“STYLE TV WHAT DID THEY DO TO YOU,” said another fan.
Some Swifties attributed this to a difference in the production on “Style (Taylor’s Version)”, which was not an exact recreation of the original version.
Nonetheless, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” debuted with a perfect score of 100 on Metacritic.