‘She’s become an international superstar.’
Taylor Swift, America’s sweetheart has gone from pedal stools to sonic beats and bass drops. It’s not an album of heartbreak, or country music. It’s an album inspired by ’80s pop entitled, ‘1989.’ An album named after the year of Swift’s birth is an album of maturity and discovering yourself. It’s an album of change, shaking things off and a sonically cohesive built up of a genre called, Taylor Swift.
It’s a special experience when a new Swift album drops. There’s the speculating and decoding her secret messages and investigating the lyrical meanings of each track. We also love her heart-to-heart forwards in each CD booklet written to her fans along with other surprises that she always has in store for her committed ‘Swifties’. Experience wise, 1989 is no different. Genre wise, the most ‘out there’ move Swift has made in the entirety of her musical career. Even though bold, it shouldn’t surprise us that Swift always seems to know what she’s doing.
When you hear the optimistic beat of the opening track, ‘Welcome to New York,’ you can tell Swift has grown up. She is no longer country, but an international superstar. You can sense the happy in Swift’s voice as she sings, ‘It’s a new soundtrack/ I could dance to this beat/ forevermore.’ After a song of true happiness and her experience in New York comes a song of brutal honesty. ‘Blank Space,’ one of the best tracks on the album has a darker beat of ex lovers and nightmares. It’s a track of players and love being a game. It’s sarcasm through and through about what the media portrays her to be. The blonde pop star belts strong lines such as, ‘You look like my next mistake/ loves a game/ wanna play?’ and ‘So it’s gonna be forever/ or it’s gonna go down in flames/ can you tell me when it’s over / if the high was worth the pain/ Got a long list of ex-lovers/ they’ll tell you I’m insane.’
‘Style’ is an 80’s vibe that makes you want to watch ‘Grease’ all over again, following up with the repetitive sound of anxiety in ‘Out of the Woods;’ a track that will be stuck in your head for days. ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’ gives you flashbacks of ‘Red,’ and the sound that she became known for in hits such as ‘I Knew You Were Trouble,’ and ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.’
The difference with 1989 and Swift’s previous albums is the originality that no two songs sound the same. Each song has a story mixed with up-tempo dance beats (Shake it Off, How You Get the Girl’, or when toned down, a piano driven, sonic, poetic masterpiece (This love, Wildest Dreams, Clean). ‘I Know Places,’ is the boldest move on 1989 and a smart one. Lyrically it shines above the rest, ‘‘Something happens when everybody finds out/ see the vultures circling in dark clouds/ Love’s a fragile little /frame/ it could burn out/ cause they got the cages/ they got the boxes/ and guns/ they are the hunters/ we are the foxes.’ ‘Bad Blood,’ brings sass and bitterness of betrayal. The last track, ‘Clean’ discusses sobriety from a relationship as Swift sings, ’10 months sober/ I must admit/ Just because you’re clean/ don’t mean you don’t miss it/ 10 months older/ I won’t give in/ now that I’m clean/ I’m never gonna risk it.’
Vocally, Swift has pulled away from the country twang but still sounds better than ever. Musically, we can’t mold Swift into one specific genre. Although Swift is new to the Pop world, it’s clear that she knows what she’s doing. 1989 is a must have for your CD collection, and could be the album that could save the music industry. This is Taylor Swift, remember? She’s in a league of her own and everyone else is in the shadow.