Taylor Swift’s decision to transition into pop has been in the making for awhile. From the various country tracks that always seemed to have some element of pop that helped build a fanbase full of listeners who enjoy Taylor when she sings in any genre. To the pop heavy “Red” album that had Swift venturing to Max Martin pop territory with some of her most successful tracks to date (“22”, “I Knew You Were Trouble”, “We Are Never Getting Back Together”).
When Swift started the 1989 era with a yahoo online stream, giving her diehard fans a chance to learn three secrets about the new album, it was obvious that 1989 was a very special album to Taylor and may be the best album she’s done so far. From the secret listening sessions for her fans to the 13 Polaroids that are packaged into the deluxe editions of 1989, its been awhile since an artist has gone above and beyond the typical campaign rollout.
Inspired by the pop tunes that dominated the charts in the late 80s, 1989 starts off with an exciting and slightly cheesy ode to the city that never sleeps. “Welcome To New York”, a poppy track full of 80s-synth and a hard beat that lets the listener know this isn’t your typical Taylor Swift album. Swift’s song writing ability helps the song from being too cheesy to because I can picture tons of young dreamers who move to New York with plans to make the city their own (“Everybody here was someone else before
and you can want who you want / Boys and boys and girls and girls”). While I don’t believe New York is as happy as this track sounds, its a nice sentiment.
The next track “Blank Space” kicks off production that I never imagined hearing Taylor sing over. With a few playful quips about the exes that most likely aren’t a fan of her and the bad guys she can make good for a weekend, “Blank Space” is unexpected and refreshing to hear. Knowing that Taylor is on her fifth album with nothing to prove makes these tracks even more enjoyable because you can hear an artist that’s truly dedicated to her craft and isn’t chasing the hits.
Pop artists have this tendency to follow trends until one brave soul attempts to change the tone of what’s being played on the radio. 1989 is a game changing album because it has an artist creating songs that will be enjoyed by people beyond her demographic. I know its tough to look past some artists image and see the substance their trying to put but this album shows me someone that doesn’t want to be put into a genre confused, boy bashing box.
“Style” keeps the clever lyrics coming over a beat that’s as cool as the James Dean shes singing about. Max Martin and Shellback’s contribution to this album made it obvious that there would be some smashes on here but it’s relieving to hear production that doesn’t sound like a rehash of what’s charting on the radio right now.
The frantic adventure “Out of the Woods” is next and if you haven’t had a chance to hear it since its release a few weeks ago then you’ll be in for a surprise. Co-written and produced by Jack Antonoff (Lead guitarist of Fun. and singer-songwriter of Bleachers), “Out of Woods” plays the beginning stages of falling madly in love with someone that doesn’t tell how they feel about you. Swift and Antonoff make a great team and I hope to hear more music from them (“I Wish You Would” was also made by the dream team).
“1989” consists mostly of uptempo tracks but toward the end of the album Swift slows it down a little with “I Know Places” and the final track featuring Imogen Heap “Clean”. “Clean” is like a mature cut of the slower tracks that can be found on “Red”. “10 months sober I must admit, just because your clean don’t mean you don’t miss it.” / Imogen Heap adds to the wistful realization that its time to move on from the past and start off clean. A perfect way to re-introduce Taylor Swift, the artist not the girl with a bunch of exes.
If you’ve been paying attention to the sales of Swift’s past album then there was no doubt that “1989” will be a commercial success but this album deserves every penny it gets. I love when artists create an ALBUM, a body of work that’s has a message or feeling behind it. Don’t get me wrong a catchy single is great but when there’s meaning behind what your singing about, it divides the artists from the fame-seekers looking for their 15 minutes. Taylor Swift has gained a fan with this album and I hope Swift continues to surprise and grow with her music.
Standout Tracks: Blank Space, Bad Blood, Out of the Woods, I Know Places, Clean, I Wish You Would
Get “1989” on iTunes HERE
What do you think of “1989”? Let me know in the comments!