Today I am going to be ranking the vault tracks from 1989 Taylor’s Version! I am planning on doing this for her other re-recordings too, so stay tuned for those. If you want to check out my honorary Swiftie menu, please click here.
A Brief Note on 1989
As somebody that was also born in 1989, I can appreciate how brilliant this album is. The era saw a big shift in genres. Taylor went from country to full-blown pop. The opening track: Welcome To New York, heralded a new chapter in her story. Taylor was dating Harry Styles, surrounded by rich icons for friends, wearing killer high-waisted shorts and breaking new records for the time. It had such a formidable track list, with hit after hit. I mean, Blank Space, Style, Shake It Off, Out of The Woods and Bad Blood? Was she trying to end us? She took a huge risk in this total transformation, and it absolutely paid off!
1989 TV did not have as big a roll-out as I was expecting; however, Taylor blessed us big time with these truly remarkable bonus songs. It’s also worth noting, all of them were produced by Jack Antonoff. Without further ado, from my favourite to least favourite, let’s get into it!
1.) Is It Over Now?
Is It Over Now is undoubtedly my favourite vault track from this album and may be one of the best songs she’s ever written. I have a religious experience every time I listen to it. She has since confirmed that it is a sister song to Out of the Woods and I Wish You Would. It certainly has the same type of sound. In this track, Taylor gives us a lot more insight into the breakdown and aftermath of her relationship with Harry Styles. She references their snowmobile accident, the infamous blue dress photograph (taken on a boat the day it ended), his affairs with similar looking women and her own rebounds in the process. It has the most illegal double bridge I’ve ever heard. I cannot believe she was keeping this from us for so long! I would love this to be the song we get a music video for.
2.) Say Don’t Go
In second place, we have Say Don’t Go, which is her longest vault track on the album. It was co-written with Diane Warren, who has worked on many notable songs such as: I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, Un-Break My Heart, Because You Loved Me and so much more. In my opinion, this number has the most 80’s sound out of them all. The song is about the fragile endings of a relationship (I have no doubt it is also a reference to Harry). It links in well with All You Had To Do Was Stay and How You Get The Girl. Whilst the chorus is quite simple and repetitive, the production is beautiful and the bridge, very telling. It lets us know that Taylor told Harry she loved him, but he never said it back. Heartbreaking!
3.) Now That We Don’t Talk
In third place, we have Now That We Don’t Talk, which is the shortest song Taylor has ever written. According to her voice memos, it’s also her favourite vault track. It packs a punch in a short amount of time, calling out Harry for breaking her heart and turning into someone she no longer recognised. Furthermore, it has a scathing bridge that lets fans know she pretended to like the same type of music he did and the pretentious people he kept company with. There is a relatability there, albeit not on the same level, but still reflecting on what it’s like to accept that something is truly over.
4.) Suburban Legends
In fourth place, we have Suburban Legends, which is probably the most confusing vault track on the album. In this song, Taylor fantasises about an alternate reality, where her and her lover lived in suburbia and attended high school. She can visualise what it would’ve been like if their lives had been less publicised and more simple. He still would’ve made a mark on her forever but maybe they would have stood more of a chance. I love the lyric: “I broke my own heart because you were too polite to do it.” I’m not sure if that’s the correct translation of the track, so if you have any other theories, do let me know.
Last but certainly not least, we have “Slut!” I just want to make it clear that I love this song. I adore all of the vault tracks. I purely put this one fifth because I listen to it the least. Similar to Castles Crumbling from Speak Now TV, this ended up sounding nothing like I thought it would. Instead of being an upbeat pop song, it is quite sad and melancholic. Taylor sings about what it was like to be attacked by fans of One Direction when she began dating Harry Styles. They slut-shamed her and made her feel as though she was not worthy of him. It was a very difficult time for her, but she loved him so much, it was worth all of the slander. There is such a pretty, airy vibe to the production that makes you think more of L.A. than New York. In fact, Taylor confirmed this is what she was going for in her voice memo. She also admitted that it was between this number and Blank Space. Can you imagine a world where we got Blank Space as a vault track years later? Wild!
Thank you so much for reading! How would you order the vault tracks? What did you think of 1989 TV as a whole?
Peace & Love xoxo