In her writing, the now-33-year-old “Shake It Off” singer offers a candid remembrance of her life and career at age 24, as she began her evolution from country darling to pop star while working on what would become her fan-favorite and critically hailed 1989 album. At the time, she shares, she had begun learning hard lessons about dating in the spotlight.
“I had become the target of slut shaming – the intensity and relentlessness of which would be criticized and called out if it happened today,” she writes in the liner notes of her re-recorded 1989 (Taylor’s Version), which dropped Friday. “The jokes about my amount of boyfriends. The trivialization of my songwriting as if it were a predatory act of a boy crazy psychopath. The media co-signing of this narrative. I had to make it stop because it was starting to really hurt.”
She continues, “It became clear to me that for me there was no such thing as casual dating, or even having a male friend who you platonically hang out with. If I was seen with him, it was assumed I was sleeping with him. And so I swore off hanging out with guys, dating, flirting, or anything that could be weaponized against me by a culture that claimed to believe in liberating women but consistently treated me with the harsh moral codes of the Victorian era.”
Enter: The squad. Fans will remember Swift’s bevy of high-profile pals, many of whom appeared in the star-studded music video for her 1989 song, “Bad Blood,” and onstage with her as special guests during the 1989 Tour. Among them: Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham, Hailee Steinfeld, Gigi Hadid, Ellie Goulding, Martha Hunt, Cara Delevingne, Zendaya, Hayley Williams, Lily Aldridge, Karlie Kloss and more.
“Being a consummate optimist, I assumed I could fix this if I simply changed my behavior. I swore off dating and decided to focus only on myself, my music, my growth, and my female friendships,” Swift says of the shift in her public persona.
What followed was a subset of Swifties who created the narrative known as “Gaylor,” speculating that Swift could be bisexual and romantically involved with some of the women in her squad.
“If I only hung out with my female friends, people couldn’t sensationalize or sexualize that – right?” Swift recalls thinking. “I would learn later on that people could and people would.”
Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images
She did address her allyship with the LGBTQIA+ community and the squad itself later in the note, as she thanked her fans for their enthusiastic support of her new creative direction.
“You, who heard the wink and humor in ‘Blank Space’ and maybe even empathized with the pain behind the satire,” she writes. “You, who saw the seeds of allyship and advocating for equality in ‘Welcome to New York.’ You, who knew that maybe a girl who surrounds herself with female friends in adulthood is making up for a lack of them in childhood. (Not starting a tyrannical hot girl cult).”
Read her full prologue in the image below.
Taylor Swift / Republic Records
Swift announced 1989 (Taylor’s Version) to the public back in August at her final Eras Tour show in Los Angeles, which completed the first leg of the record-breaking tour. The trek grossed an estimate $2.2 billion in North American ticket sales alone, with Swift set to take her show global next year.
On Thursday, the financial news organization Bloombergshared an article declaring that Swift had reached billionaire status thanks to her wildly successful Eras Tour concerts and film, the value of her new music and the rerelease of her earlier studio albums. She now joins the likes of fellow billionaire artists such as Rihanna and JAY-Z, however, the outlet notes that Swift is “one of the few recording artists to build a 10-figure fortune almost entirely from her music.”
According to Bloomberg, Swift’s exact net worth is $1.1 billion. This number came from an analysis of her music catalog, merch sales, tour revenue and more.
As for 1989, the singer first made plans to re-record her music in 2019 after music executive Scooter Braun purchased her former label, Big Machine, for a reported $300 million. Via the purchase, Braun received majority ownership of her master recordings. Swift was outspoken in her unhappiness with this deal and repeatedly said she asked for a chance to own her own work but was denied.
Since announcing that she would re-record each of her first six albums, the singer has released Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Red (Taylor’s Version),Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and1989 (Taylor’s Version). Release dates for “Taylor’s Version” of the two remaining albums, Reputation and Taylor Swift, have yet to be announced.
“To be perfectly honest, this is my most FAVORITE re-record I’ve ever done,” Swift previously wrote of 1989. “Because the 5 From The Vault tracks are so insane. I can’t believe they were ever left behind.”
1989 (Taylor’s Version) includes the new songs “‘Slut!’ (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” “Say Don’t Go (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault),” “Now That We Don’t Talk (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” “Suburban Legends (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” and “Is It Over Now (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).”
The album also includes the original versions of some of Swift’s most classic songs, specifically four of her top 10 biggest hits. “Wildest Dreams” (#10), “Bad Blood” (#8), “Blank Space” (#4) and “Shake It Off” (#1) all come from the 2014 version and are all prominently featured on the list of her most chart-topping songs, according to Billboard.
Also on the album are new versions of fan favorites such as “Clean,” “New Romantics,” “Welcome to New York” and “Style.”
In another new twist for the artist, 1989 (Taylor’s Version) is the first of her re-recorded albums to not include new features from her musician friends. However, Kendrick Lamar does appear on the deluxe edition in a re-recorded version of their “Bad Blood” remix.