With new music dropping every Friday, it’s a challenge to figure out what’s worth a listen and which tunes are better off drowned out.
The Spectrum asked UB students which upcoming music releases have them hot and bothered this semester. Many are eagerly anticipating two major releases: Taylor Swift’s re-record of “1989” and Olivia Rodrigo’s “Guts.”
2010’s nostalgia and new-wave teen pop will go head-to-head this fall to occupy AirPods across campus.
“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” — Taylor Swift
There’s something about Taylor Swift, and fans just can’t seem to “Shake It Off.” With “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” fans hope Swift will fill a major “Blank Space” in her discography. Many said the album’s revival is a manifestation of their inner child’s “Wildest Dreams.”
“I’ve been a huge fan ever since I was little, singing her songs in my bedroom, dancing on my bed at like 4 years old,” Makayla Skelly, a freshman childhood education major, said.
Lena Closi grew up listening to “1989.” It was the first CD she ever bought.
“Now that it’s her version, I’m excited to hear how she re-records,” Closi, a freshman media studies major, said.
Swift’s fifth studio album might channel fond memories, but with age comes understanding. UB Swifties can’t wait to see the re-release through a matured lens.
“I was so young, and I couldn’t relate to her relationship wise. I didn’t have any beef with friends at the time,” Sarah Hirauk, a senior French education major and future Eras Tour attendee, explained. “I understand now as a 22-year-old what she went through when she was 22. And it’s just very relatable in this day and age, rather than when she first released it.”
Beyond feelings of nostalgia or the wisdom of age, many are celebrating the album because it gets Swift one step closer to owning all of her own masters.
“She keeps on re-releasing her music after she wanted to separate from ‘Man Who Will Not Be Named,’” Hirauk said. “I think what she’s doing is great. I think she’s a great role model for women everywhere, artists everywhere.”
Swift’s vault tracks, unreleased music that didn’t make the cut for the original record, also have fans feeling that “This Love” between them and Swift is forevermore.
“She didn’t release them, and now she’s coming out with them,” Skelly, a “New Romantics” enthusiast, said. “It gives you something new to look forward to.”
The music might not be out yet, but the album cover is. Swift’s abandonment of the original iconic polaroid for a full face image of her beaming smile in “screaming color” surprised fans.
But Skelly, among others, welcomed the change, interpreting it as a sign of Swift’s perseverance. The original “1989” album cover, a polaroid of Swift smiling, was scrapped.
“She didn’t [use it] ‘cause she was insecure about her smile, and now she has the biggest smile on her face,” Skelly said. “It shows how much she’s grown, especially from what she was going through at the time that she released [the original], with her mental health and eating disorder. Now she’s taking it back, and she can be happy while reliving the era that she had.”
Swift’s smile — and the excitement behind “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” — certainly puts smiles on many fans’ faces.
“Guts” — Olivia Rodrigo
Despite not being able to parallel park, Rodrigo is sure to make waves with her sophomore album, “Guts,” a follow-up to her record-breaking and Grammy-winning debut, “Sour.”
Rodrigo is doubtlessly under tremendous pressure to live up to her prior success, but her opening singles — “vampire” and “bad idea right?” — promise to bring the teen angst and punk-pop punchiness of her original body of work.
Although some fans hope the new album will give them “deja vu,” others think it would be “brutal” if Olivia didn’t experiment. Sometimes, a happy medium is what’s “good 4 u.”
“I feel like this is a good little spin off of Olivia’s first album,” Kaylee Hartman, a sophomore business administration major, said. “We haven’t really heard much of her music, and it’s a really different vibe from what she’s already put out, so I’m excited.”
Even Amit Tzadok, who was skeptical of the first two singles, plans to go into “Guts” with an open mind.
“I really liked her ‘Sour’ album,” the junior computer science major said. “But I want to see what type of music she’s going to release, like if it’s still breakup songs or more of like ‘baddie’ music.”
Whether Rodrigo switches up her sound or rests on the laurels of “Sour” remains to be seen, but others find Rodrigo compelling regardless of the music she puts out.
“She’s young and has a lot of talent,” Claire Phan, a freshman pharmacy major, said. “That makes me want to know about her.”
Alex Novak is the senior arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Alex Novak is a senior arts editor at The Spectrum.