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Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Taylor Swift Society celebrated “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” release

Over 50 fans danced, sang to the bops of the new album at midnight Friday

<p>Sophia Vernon (left) and Caroline Hartley (right) pose for a selfie at the High Dive on Thursday, June 6, 2023. </p>

Sophia Vernon (left) and Caroline Hartley (right) pose for a selfie at the High Dive on Thursday, June 6, 2023. 

As the clock struck midnight on the night of Oct. 26, Swifties decked out in wrists full of beaded friendship bracelets and Taylor Swift merchandise celebrated their wildest dreams: a new Taylor Swift album.

The Taylor Swift Society presented the first university-wide live streaming of Swift’s new album on the night of Oct. 26 through the morning of Oct. 27. Over 50 people lounged together on picnic blankets at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Champions Club Patio in anticipation for the “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” listening party.

Both self-proclaimed Swifties and friends created and exchanged friendship bracelets and smiles, reminiscent of the trading friendship bracelets trend at Swift’s Eras Tour. The release party transformed into a giant dance party as many sang the songs verbatim and danced in circles. 

The “1989” album, which pays tribute to Swift’s birth year, marked the beginning of her pop era. When the album was initially released in 2014, Swift was widely recognized as a country artist. Swift’s breakthrough into different genres was accredited to the pop risks she took in the album.

Jackson Haynes, a 21-year-old UF biomedical engineering junior, claims “1989” is the “pop Bible” to many fans. As an avid fan since his Swiftie revelation during her Reputation era, he notes how “diverse her genres are” have become since then.

Swift’s establishment as a pop symbol was recognized by the music community at large with the several awards she received. “1989” would become the most awarded pop album of all time, Album of the Year at the 58th GRAMMY Awards.

In an effort to reclaim ownership of her brand, Swift has ventured to re-record all her adored tracks under her name. The rerecording of “1989” is the fourth “Taylor’s Version” album Swift has done due to a feud over master rights. “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” is composed of 16 original tracks and five unreleased “From The Vault” songs.

The revolutionary act of reclaiming the rights to her own music demonstrates what many know and love about Swift: her ability to pave her own path sets the precedent for other artists. The way she handles and rises above the constant trials and tribulations she faces in a male-dominated music industry makes her a role model to many.

Nico Garcia, an 18-year-old UF media production, management and technology freshman, weaved friendship bracelets with friends she made that night. While she would not deem herself a major Swiftie, she appreciates what “Taylor’s Version” represents for the artist and her fan base.

“It's something that she's been working on for so long and something that she's like, built over the years,” Garcia said. “It's honestly just so great that she gets to reclaim that and that her fanbase gets to celebrate along with her.”

As UF’s only organization dedicated to the renowned music icon, the Taylor Swift Society embraces community through its mutual love and appreciation for Swift. Founded in January 2023 by Dalia Dooley, a 20-year-old UF history junior, the club was created to provide a social opportunity for people to meet and “unwind.” The club hosts bi-weekly social events ranging from karaoke nights and listening parties to crafts.

“At the end of the day, I'm just happy that I could start this for the community,” Dooley said. “Trying to give that opportunity to people without, you know, putting some sort of academic flavor to it, I think it's really important.”

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Kendall Johnson, a 21-year-old UF sociology junior, is a member of the Taylor Swift Society.

As she passed out mini friendship ducks to the attendees of the event, she noted how the organization has “brought in a lot of different types of people together.”

The energy surrounding Swift’s fan base can turn strangers into friends instantaneously through a collective identity. 

Sam Cohen, a 19-year-old UF computer science freshman, embraced new friends with hugs and laughter as they played games and counted down to the release. The friendships blossomed throughout the night through the group’s shared love.

“It becomes like a part of your identity in a way that I think it doesn't like for a lot of other artists.” Cohen said. “That's the power of Taylor Swift is she brings people together.”

Contact Molly Seghi at mseghi@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @molly_seghi.

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Molly Seghi

Molly Seghi is a first-year journalism major at UF and a Fall 2023 Avenue Reporter. When not writing or journaling, she can be found at a live music event or working on her podcast “An Aural Account.”


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