Review: Taylor Swift’s 1989
The musical pop star, Taylor Swift, distanced herself from her original country style in her fifth album, 1989. 1989 is an entirely pop album that roots itself in the decade Swift was born. This pop album was not a surprise to fans as she hinted at this style in the song “I Knew You Were Trouble” on her album Red. However, this album goes much further.
Opening the album with “Welcome to New York” Swift captures her real life transition as well as her musical transition from the start. Opening with, “walking through the crowd/ the village is a glow” forms a picture in the listener’s mind. It is clear from these lyrics the difference in this album compared to her albums in the past. With the upbeat tempo, and catchy lyrics, her “new soundtrack” embraces her new pop self and her new home in New York.
Moving throughout the album, it is clear that Swift comments on how she is perceived in the public eye. With songs such as “Blank Space” and “Shake it Off”, Swift acknowledges how her “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”. Even Blank Space mocks what people perceive as her writing style that solely focuses on writing about past break-ups. While approaching that topic in a different way, Swift still writes about past relationships.
With “Style” appearing to be about her former relationship with One Direction singer, Harry Styles, her intense verses contradict the playful and fun chorus that insists they “never go out of style”. Love interests are not the only relationships Swift seems to mention. Her relationship with her haters, and her ability to shake it off answer what so many listeners know is constant criticism. And her rumored feud with Katy Perry is even shown clear in the song, “Bad Blood.” With infuriation in her voice and intensity, the powerful song captures the electronic feeling of the album as her voice echoes from the start of the song.
“Out of the Woods” which listeners first heard the 15 second promotional bit, is actually somewhat claustrophobic. With so many questions and statements, it is hard to keep listening to, but ironically (or maybe not) feels stuck in the woods, with almost no way out.
With this new style and sound in 1989, there are still glimpses of the old, and dominant songwriter Taylor Swift. Songs such as “Wish You Would” are faster than her older music, but still capture the elegance of her writing, and voice.
But essentially, Taylor Swift loses her innocence that often plagues artists who become famous so young. While she has not taken it to the level of Miley Cyrus (thankfully!), “Wildest Dreams” evokes her sexuality as she sings, “he’s so tall and handsome as hell/ he’s so bad but he does it so well”.
The album ends with “Clean” that mixes old and new style of Swift. Her new style, voice, and pop album, embrace the ever-changing pop world, and growth of Taylor Swift.