Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Taylor Swift continues to reclaim her narrative with a surprise release.
“Nothing lasts forever, but this is getting good now” isn’t just a line from Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” — it’s also a fairly accurate summary of Swift’s treatment of her catalogue. Her gradual re-recording of previous albums in an effort to own her masters is a shrewd business move, to be sure, and has also prompted periodic bouts of nostalgia with each release. With “Wildest Dreams,” we’ve taken a quick dip back into the 1989 era, and sources were unable to confirm if Harry Styles is sleeping with one eye open or not.
Since the Red re-release was recently confirmed and will be dropping November 19th, the “Wildest Dreams” release may have been an earlier surprise than even Swift expected. (“Wildest Dreams” initially appeared on Swift’s 2014 1989 album.) Somehow, the narrative now involves TikTok: this week, one of the top trends on the short-form video app has been a slow-motion zoom on a subject, set to Swift’s original “Wildest Dreams.”
It’s no surprise that Swift, who recently joined TikTok herself, saw the trend. “If you guys want to use my version for the slow dream trend, here she is!” she wrote in a TikTok video as an announcement.
Overall, as with many of the other re-recorded tracks, there aren’t many differences in “Taylor’s Version” of the song. She’s taken great care to capture the sound of the original, right down to a riff in the second chorus, and this is by design — the point of Taylor’s Versions, after all, is to provide a listening alternative to the tracks for which she no longer owns the masters.
The clearest difference is in the fact that Swift’s vocals have undoubtedly improved over the course of her career. She’s always been a remarkably gifted writer, and it seems that the recent woodland excursions of folklore and evermore allowed her to truly unlock her best vocal spaces as well. The cool breezes, hot coffees, and crunchy leaves of the Red era are right around the corner — but for now, lose yourself in the updated dreamscape of this 1989 gem.
— Mary Siroky