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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

TikTok gave us ‘Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)’

Claire Reid | The Observer

Taylor Swift is the queen of many things, and she reminds us of how masterful she is at surprising her fans when she released “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” on Sept. 17. Even though Swifties knew that her next album in her journey of rereleasing her older albums will be “Red (Taylor’s Version),” Swift threw everyone for a loop when she dropped her rerecorded single from her “1989” album. Just four hours after its release, the new single passed the two-million play mark on Spotify, which according to Variety, “easily surpassed the previous records for the most listens to the original version of the song on Spotify in a single day.” So here’s the question all Swifties are asking: Why now?

The answer, my friends, is TikTok. In recent weeks, the popularity of the original “Wildest Dreams” surged when the song was used in a TikTok trend. Now, I’m not well-versed in “the TikTok,” as my mom would say, but my understanding of the trend is that the song was used when TikTokers would use the slow zoom function to zoom in on themselves during the bridge of the song. Because of this, the daily Spotify plays of “Wildest Dreams” jumped from around 400,000 plays a day to about 700,000 plays a day. Yes, TikTok has that kind of power.

So, let me bring up that original question: Why now? Well, with the resurgence of the original song, Big Machine Records will also be getting a resurgence of profits from the song, which completely defeats the purpose of all of Swift’s album rereleases. Since Big Machine has sold her catalog off twice without her input, Swift has been rereleasing all of her music so she has ownership of it and can receive a larger share of the royalties as well. While “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” may not have been meant to come out so early, the cultural moment called for it, and Taylor Swift answered.

Listening to the two versions of the song, “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” doesn’t differ much from the original. Both songs have a runtime of three minutes and forty seconds, and there were no noticeable changes in the instrumentation. The real development found in the new release is how Swift’s voice has grown over the years. Since the original version’s release in 2014, Swift sounds more confident and stronger. The high notes of “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” sounded less breathy than they did in the original, and overall, she just sounds older. That’s another interesting result of Swift rereleasing her albums — you can really hear her development as an artist over time.

Fans of Swift immediately began wondering what this meant. Would “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” be coming sooner than we thought? Unfortunately, the answer is likely no. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is still set for its release on Nov. 19, and we probably won’t be getting a surprise album before that. However, the fact that “Wildest Dreams (Taylor’s Version)” came out so quickly may indicate that the rerecording of “1989” might already be in the works or finished. Still, there’s no evidence suggesting that this new single came out for any reason besides its popularity on TikTok.

The fact that TikTok was powerful enough to successfully get an early release out of Taylor Swift is pretty mind-blowing to think about. Seeing a trend on a social media platform commanding the music industry just goes to show how much power the internet has over the world around us, so choose the songs you use for your TikToks wisely. Also, I’m a huge fan of “Shake It Off,” so if anyone wants to start a TikTok trend with that, I’d really appreciate it.