Taylor Swift’s 1989 Bonus Songs Review

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While Taylor Swift’s 1989 album has been around for quite a while making its way to the top of the charts, there are three hidden gems in the album that are relatively undiscovered. The songs “Wonderland”,”You are in Love”, and “New Romantics” have previously only been available on the 1989 Deluxe CD. Recently, these songs were released on iTunes. While they have a pop feel similar to the rest of the album, these songs are more introspective and seem as though Swift is speaking to herself instead of an audience.

From the first bell rings of the song, “Wonderland” evokes a feeling of mystery and enchantment that draws the listener into the climax. At first, the singing is sweet and innocent. It seems to tell a story while conjuring a sense of wonder, as the lyrics vividly describe a surreal world. Suddenly, the song turns much darker, giving a sense of urgency: “Didn’t they tell us don’t rush into things/Didn’t you flash your green eyes at me/Haven’t you heard what becomes of curious minds?” This section conveys that wonderland is an extremely dangerous place to be. Once you enter wonderland, you will get lost in it, and if you get lost in wonderland, your sanity will be at risk. Then, the song returns to a happier note, saying “We found wonderland/You and I got lost in it/And we pretended it could last forever.” While these words give a facade of happiness and safety, there is tension running under it. The words contradict each other, juxtaposing ‘found’ and ‘lost’, implying that by finding wonderland, which in this song means their relationship, the two people lost themselves. All of these emotions of wonder, danger, and tension build up to the climax, in which Swift sings in an ominous tone, “And in the end in wonderland, we both went mad”. These lyrics show the consequence of entering wonderland, and it also alludes the mad hatter in Alice in Wonderland who was lost in wonderland himself. The lyrics contain many allusions to Alice in Wonderland that are skillfully woven into the story. The song uses ‘wonderland’ as a metaphor for a confusing and somewhat toxic relationship. This metaphor is extremely relatable to our own lives, as life in general can be confusing. Our own imaginations can also be related as the ‘wonderland’ in this song. Getting lost in your own imagination will definitely make you go ‘mad’.

“You Are in Love” sends a completely different message from “Wonderland,” depicting a happy, surreal relationship and attempting to express what true love really is (in a way that is not corny at all). The background music is calm, and Swift’s vocals are soothing and wistful. Throughout the song, the lyrics form vivid images in your mind that resemble memories. The verses are completely made up of these strikingly vivid images, moving from the more ordinary memories such as “Burnt toast, Sunday” to the more special ones such as “One night he wakes, strange look on his face/Pauses, then says, you’re my best friend/And you knew what it was, he is in love.” This is a pivotal moment in the song, where the background music is quieted, because declaration of mutual love is a pivotal moment in a romantic relationship. The light drumming in the background adds some excitement to the lilting vocals. While many people have attempted to express what love is, Taylor Swift seems to have the truest depiction of love in this song. “You can hear it in the silence/You can feel it on the way home/ You can see it with the lights out/You are in love, true love.” The song tells us that love is a feeling so strong that it will be felt no matter what the circumstances area. <i>You are in Love</i> is a deeply personal song and does not seem to be about a particular guy, although there is some speculation that the “The light reflects the chain on your neck” could be referring to the necklace given to Swift by her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles.

“New Romantics” is drastically different from both songs. If you had to compare “New Romantics” to the other songs in the 1989 album, it is a mixture of the dark humor of “Blank Space” and the upbeat joy of “Shake it Off”. Like “Shake it Off,” “New Romantics” will make you feel good and want to dance. It contains many lines that actually refer to dancing, such as “we are too busy dancing to get knocked off our feet”, but there is more darkness and depth to this song than “Shake it Off” The song starts off as pop version of classical ballroom music, but it then quickly switches to a dark yet glittery sound when the vocals come in. While “New Romantics” might be a reference to the New Romanticism movement, it could also be an ironic view of society’s idea of ‘romantic’. This statement is in and of itself very ironic, as the song before it, “You Are In Love” completely fits society’s idea of ‘romantic’. The irony is especially apparent in this quote: “Please leave me stranded, it’s so romantic.” When you stop dancing and reveling in the joy to actually think about it, the song is quite disturbing (in a good way). It cleverly uses lines like “Heartbreak is the national anthem/ We sing it proudly” to make the listener almost feel good about breaking people’s hearts (at least in the moment), which completely proves the point of the song.

The bonus songs on 1989 are hidden gems that not only have a glittering sound but also make you think about love and life in general. These songs combine the excitement of pop music and the timeless themes of love and loss. Whether you are looking for music that just makes you feel good or music that will become something special to you, these three songs will satisfy you in many ways.

by Emily Wang