Ranking “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” tracks based solely on their connection to sewer infrastructure

A totally normal thing to do.

We process nearly 200 million gallons of water a day, which may pale in comparison to the emotions we’re working through in light of Taylor Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” dropping last night.

Now that we’ve had a chance to reflect on what’s really important, here are our top 10 tracks from the album based on their connection to sewer and stormwater infrastructure. Of course.

10. Welcome to New York (Taylor’s Version)

Cleveland is not in New York, affecting the rankings only slightly because New York sewers are some of the most popular in urban and pop-culture legendry: Sewer gators, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Friday the 13th, and more all connect to the mystique of the urban underground. As all things should.

9. I Know Places (Taylor’s Version)

The chorus speaks to us and, more directly, the 341 miles of sewer we own and operate across the region:

Baby (Baby), I know places we won’t be found
And they’ll (They’ll) be (Be) chasing their tails tryin’ to track us down
’Cause I, I know places we can hide
I know places

But sewers aren’t for hiding. And no one should be in a sewer without proper training and PPE.

8. All You Had To Do Was Stay (Taylor’s Version)

Lost love, a story older than the Roman aqueducts. “Why’d you have to lock me out” may be more than emotional disconnect, referring rather to properly safety-trained maintenance work where lock-out-tag-out protocol saves lives? Life is a combination of avoiding pain and enduring it.

7. Style (Tayor’s Version)

Hard to believe the water cycle couldn’t have inspired the wonder of “Watch us go ‘round and ‘round each time” because “we nеver go out of style, we nеver go out of style.” Timeless.

6. Out Of The Woods (Taylor’s Version)

Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods?
Are we in the clear yet? Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet, in the clear yet? Good

A stream network of nearly 500 miles relies on healthy trees and forestry, while at the same time in and around them natural decay, weather, and urban development can contribute to real challenges like flooding and erosion. Urban landscapes may never be in the clear from stream challenges. But our stormwater work lives within them.

5. Blank Space (Taylor’s Version)

Right from the jump, Taylor is speaking our language: “I could show you incredible things.”

And her “So it’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames” poetry wonderfully juxtaposes the reality that a once-burning Cuyahoga River ironically led to a long-enduring regional sewer network meant to last generations.

4. I Wish You Would (Taylor’s Version)

I wish you would come back
Wish I never hung up the phone like I did, I
Wish you knew that
I’ll never forget you as long as I live and I
Wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good
I wish you would

Sewers will never leave you, Taylor. Customer Service will have a record of your call even if you hang up hurt or angry. I know, sewer bills can be a burdensome thing. But paying them helps ensure we are right here right now, all good, every hour of the day.

3. Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor allow me to make a suggestion for the next re-recording?

’Cause, baby, now we got bad [flood]
You know it used to be mad lovе
So take a look what you’ve done
‘Causе, baby, now we got bad [flood], hey
Now we got problems
And I don’t think we can solve them
You made a really [channelized stream with no floodplain, vegetation, or natural meanders]
And, baby, now we got bad [flood], hey

Immediate #1 ranking.

2. Shake It Off (Taylor’s Version)

A classic for all aspects of infrastructure work. Haters will indeed hate, but “I never miss a beat, …and that’s what they don’t see.”

1. Clean (Taylor’s Version)

The storm metaphors. The treatment she received that she never deserved, treatment she deserved and never received. Cleveland droughts are few and far between, but the realities of rain, drains, and pain wash over the entirety of the song and our work.

At night, as you you flush and forget, remember the words of Taylor Swift as if the drain water spoke them right to you:

And by mornin’, gone was any trace of you
I think I am finally clean.

You are finally clean, water. Clean, safe, and ready for a new day.



Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Official Medium channel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, OH