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What the Hell Happened: ‘1989 (Taylor’s Version)’ and the New Age of Swift-dom

Taylor Swift performing the 1989 set on her 'Eras' tour.
Taylor Swift performing the 1989 set on her 'Eras' tour. By Courtesy of Paolo V / Wikimedia Commons
By Rachel A. Beard, Crimson Staff Writer

Taylor Swift has done it again. She has shattered records with her recent release of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” on Oct. 27. The release continues Swift’s quest to reclaim her music in her continued response to the 2019 master’s dispute with Scooter Braun.

The album contains 21 songs. 16 songs are re-recorded versions of the original “1989” album. She also released five “From The Vault” tracks. In the deluxe version of the album, she even collaborates with individuals such as Kendrick Lamar in “Bad Blood,” which was on the original album.

Taylor Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” isn’t just a nostalgic nod to her past — it’s a record-breaking phenomenon. Upon its release, the album swiftly took over Spotify, breaking the platform’s record for the most single-day streams in 2023. It’s a testament to her enduring appeal and the excitement surrounding her re-releases. The album’s commercial success didn’t stop there: It sold over one million copies in the United States within the first week alone, a rare achievement in the streaming era and a feat that extends Swift’s own record of having multiple million-selling weeks.

Moreover, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” has dominated charts worldwide, clinching the top spot in several countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, and across continental Europe, showcasing Swift’s global impact. The singles from the album have mirrored this success, with tracks like “‘Slut!’” and “Is It Over Now?” climbing to top-tier positions on various national charts — indicating that Swift’s reimagined hits resonate just as powerfully today as they did when they first captured listeners’ hearts​.

These milestones underscore the smart strategy behind Swift’s re-recording efforts, which not only serve to reclaim her masters, but also to refresh her catalog for both long-time fans and new listeners alike. The result is a resounding confirmation of her status as a pop powerhouse and a savvy businesswoman who knows how to stay at the forefront of the music industry.

The success of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” sets the stage for a deeper exploration of Taylor Swift’s recent triumphs, particularly the Eras Tour, which has played a pivotal role in amplifying her already stellar fame. The tour, a sweeping celebration of her entire discography, was a masterclass in fan service and musical storytelling, garnering praise for its production value and Swift’s stage presence. The concerts were more than just live shows; they were cultural events that excited her fan base and captured the attention of the wider public.

Further bolstering her influence was the release of the ‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” concert film. The movie allowed fans to experience Swift’s performances from anywhere in the world. The film received rave reviews and achieved an impressive box office tally, with some predicting it could become the highest-grossing concert film in history. This level of success isn’t just a footnote in her career — it’s a clear indicator that Swift’s appeal transcends music, tapping into a shared cultural moment that few artists can claim to have influenced.

—Staff writer Rachel A. Beard can be reached at rachel.beard@thecrimson.com

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