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The Production “1989” (Taylor’s Version)

I feel like no one says it because they’re terrified of the Swifties, but I think everybody wonders what makes “Taylor’s Version” better than the original. They’re all thinking, “It all sounds the same to me. Is it just the label?” But it’s not all in the label. There are several differences in the production of the background music and the vocals (to some extent because Taylor’s voice has changed with age). They’re very subtle, and you may not be able to detect them if the volume at which you listen to the music isn’t high enough.

“1989” is my favorite Taylor Swift album, so I was skeptical that “Taylor’s Version” could be better, but it was. There were some overarching changes that really transformed the feel of the album for the better. To understand some of the differences, I think it is important to understand the problems with the original “1989”’s production. 

One of the problems was that the sound felt like it was all coming from one direction, which made the music less comprehensible. This was improved in Taylor’s Version, as the panning, which controls the directions from which the different vocal and instrumental tracks play, was improved. This made the song more of a three-dimensional experience because it made the songs like they were happening in real time around the listener. It also made the song less overwhelming. 

Another problem was the quality of the production of the voice, which is still far from mediocre, but it sounded slightly matted and unclear, compared to the new version. The vocals in Taylor’s version sound brighter, but ironically not annoying because the voice was given more room to flow. (This may not make sense to someone who doesn’t produce music, but it helps to think about the difference in the sound of a voice in rooms of different dimensions, as voices resonate more in larger rooms and echo less in rooms with more carpet and texture on the walls. In a Digital Audio Work Station, which is the computer application through which artists produce their music, there is a tool called space designer, which basically emulates the type of room in which the artist wants the music sound like it was produced.) 

Additionally, the drums in the original 1989, although catchy, were often homogeneous because Taylor Swift used the same type of drums too often. She fixed this in Taylor’s Version by adding different types of drums, which gave the song more dimension. 

Moreover, Taylor Swift added more synth. (Synth is that synthetic instrument through which all of the Stranger Things soundtrack was created). The original 1989 was never particularly defined by the quality of the synth, but I think “Taylor’s Version” definitely is. The synth gives a magical feel to the album, because it creates the warm buzzing music; the celestial, piano-esque melodies; and the brassy, electric hums.


Here is a breakdown of how the original 1989 is different from Taylor’s Version. (It might be fun to listen the album while you read this article so you can hear exactly what I am talking about.)

1.Welcome to New York

  • The drums are brighter in the new version.
  • The panning makes the sounds easier to delineate. 
  • The original had a more vintage, matted, radio-like vocal production.

2. Blank Space

  • There is a nice use of distortion (the clippy noises mics make when they are taking in more sound than they can handle) in the original, which was not maintained in “Taylor’s Version.”
  • The electric synth is much stronger in the new version, which makes it feel like it hits straight to the heart.
  • There is a nice harmonizing in the ending: “boys only want love if it’s torture.”

3. Style

  • There is a very dreamy background synth, which is much more apparent in the new version.
  • The drums are produced differently to make them sound more bright than in the original.

4. Out Of the Woods

  • The panning has been improved to make the sound seems like they are coming from every direction, which makes the song a more life-like experience and makes the sound seems to be more clear.
  • A brassy synth and a warmer synth have been added to the background in “Taylor’s Version.”

5. All You Had To Do Was Stay

  • The synth in “Taylor’s Version” is louder, making it more apparent.
  • The drums are subtle but perfect in the original but in the new version they are more noticeable but in a complementary way.
  • “Taylor’s Version” sounds less loud and overwhelming because the tracks are produced to sound more delineated from each other and are panned differently.

6. Shake It Off

  • There was this electric bass in the original, which has become louder in certain places in “Taylor’s Version.” 
  • The drums are loud and constant in the original, which tied the song together, but the drums are produced differently to be less overwhelming but just as constant in the “Taylor’s Version.”

7. I Wish You Would

  • This song has the coolest bass and synth in the original, but it’s even better in the new version because it’s more vibrant.
  • The drums in the original work well together, but the new drums are better because they are more prominent. 
  • The panning of this song makes this song feel like it’s going around your head, rather than straight from both ears to the center.

8.Bad Blood

  • There is more synth added, which makes the song feel more electric, yet oddly dreamier.
  • The drums are very constant in “Taylor’s Version,” which makes them sound almost militant, which is fitting for the song.

9. Wildest Dreams

  • The drum beats in the original are actually Taylor’s heart beats, which gives the original character, but the heart beats are less apparent in “Taylor’s Version.” 
  • There is more vocal layering (which means that it sounds like there are more voices), which gives a dreamier feel to “Taylor’s Version.”
  • The whirlwind of sounds created by the panning gives this song a dream-like quality in “Taylor’s Version.”

10. How You Get The Girl

  • The production of the guitar, which starts the song, makes the guitar sound more matted in “Taylor’s Version.”
  • The song is less overwhelming in “Taylor’s Version” because there may be less tracks, but the energy is just as uplifting.
  • The added synth hits nicely in “Taylor’s Version.”
  • There is a larger variety of drums utilized in “Taylor’s Version,” which makes the drums sound more developed.
  • There is an added vocal layering in “Taylor’s Version.”

11. This Love

  • The guitar, the synth, and the bass melody in the beginning of the song is clearer and sounds more intentional and deeper in “Taylor’s Version.” 
  • The added vocal layering gives the song more dimension they new version feels more intentional and deeper.
  • The synth is more prominent in the new version.

12. I Know Places 

  • The distortion in “Taylor’s Version” is giving vintage.
  • The panning gives the song more structure, which makes listening to the new version a much more pleasant experience.

13. Clean

  • The new bass and the distortion in “Taylor’s Version” give this song an ‘80s vibe.
  • The new synth in “Taylor’s Version” adds a warmth.
  • The vocal layering in “Taylor’s Version” is more apparent.

14. Wonderland 

  • “Taylor’s Version” has a warmer synth and thicker-sounding drums. 
  • The bass is stronger in “Taylor’s Version.” 

15. You Are In Love

  • The space designer gives the vocals a larger room in “Taylor’s Version” which gives it a clarity.
  • The use of different drums instead of just one in “Taylor’s Version” makes the song more 3 dimensional.
  • The stronger synth makes the songs feelings more palpable in “Taylor’s Version,” as it sounds like a sunny day.
  • The use of distortion is so makes “Taylor’s Version” feel vintage.

16. New Romantics

  • I like the added dreamy synth and the use of the metronome in “Taylor’s Version.”
  • The drums in “Taylor’s Version” add a clarity.
  • There is a new synth which gives a romantic energy in “Taylor’s Version.”
  • The new background vocals in “Taylor’s Version” add a lot to the feel.


The first thing that everyone notices about “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” are the new songs that weren’t there in the original. Here is an analysis of the production of the new vault “1989” songs:

17. This one cannot be named due to our younger readers

  • The distorted, deeply brassy synth adds a darkness to the song.
  • The large space designer setting makes the voice clear.
  • The vocal layering is very dreamy.
  • The drums add structure to the song by giving it an apparent rhythm.

18. Say Don’t Go

  • The bass gives a personal touch.
  • The synth is low, but dreamy, which reminds me of nighttime.
  • The drums in the end are like heart beats.

19. Now That We Don’t Talk

  • The synth is what defines this song.
  • The drums gives it structure and energy.
  • The background vocals make the song vibrant. 

20. Suburban Legends

  • The synth is the defining feature of the production.
  • The electric bass makes the ending magical because it works well with the celestial-sounding synth.

21. Is It Over Now?

  • The synth is very ‘80s.
  • This is the most energetic song in the album because of all the tracks. 
  • The vocal layering is the main contributor to the song’s energy.
  • The bass in the end is very electric.


I would argue that these songs are meant to be in the “Midnights” album because the production makes them sound more like “Midnights,” and less like “1989.” Like the songs in “Midnights” these songs had a lot of ‘80’s synth going on, and sounded less beachy than “1989.” The new “1989” songs are vibrant in their style but more suburban than the other “1989” songs, which are defined by their bright, urban, New York energy.

I believe that “Taylor’s Version” was an improvement from the original “1989” because the music was clearer, more digestible, and dreamier due to the added vocal layering, drums, and synth. The growth in the production of the albums from the originals to the -rerecordings is remarkable, and I sincerely hope that she never stops producing “Taylor’s Version.”

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