Taylor Swift is back with her fifth studio album titled 1989, which is already rumoured to have the biggest sales week on the US Billboard chart since 2002, with over 1.3 million copies to be sold. Since entering the music scene at only sixteen years old, Taylor Swift has created a worldwide empire in her name, becoming one of the largest and most successful figures in all of modern day popular music. In her newest work, Swift has retained her signature confessional, diary-like lyrics but has also moved in a completely new direction musically, transitioning from her home genre of country to the world of pop.
Her sound has definitely matured and changed, but still retains the same “Taylor” quality she originated. Although reminisces of her country roots were still exhibited in Swift’s last album Red, influences of Pop were heard in songs like “I Knew You Were Trouble”, and some of the tracks even dominated the charts of this genre, but 1989 leaves no connection to her previous country base, proof of which can be heard in her synth-filled hooks, 80s groovy beats, and electronic keyboards and drums.
However she still stays true to her revealing style of personal lyrics and specific stories, somehow simultaneously making her music extremely relatable to the masses. Having previously released, “Shake It Off”, “Out of the Woods”, and “Welcome to New York” prior to the album’s release, there are a number of additional noteworthy tracks, some of which are listed below.
“Blank Space” is an extremely self-aware, a bit amusing track about falling for a guy that you probably shouldn’t. However instead of portraying an extremely regretful or remorseful stance about her decisions as she has in past tunes, Taylor is embracing being young and dumb and the consequences that inevitably follow. Retaining her same quirky, clever, catchy lines, the second verse ends with, “you’ll come back each time you leave, because darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream”. With an upbeat breakdown bridge, musically this song will have you moving in your seat with its echoing background vocals and chest popping repetitive beats.
“Bad Blood” is another standout jam of the album. It exhibits a more haunting, cold style with symbols of bullets, ghosts, and blood to describe an obviously bad altercation of some type. Reminding me a bit in style of “Better than Revenge” from Speak Now, intentionally shaky vocals and the aggressively vicious nature make for a scary, revengeful air. Rumored to be about some issues with another female artist in the music industry, this song is full of disses and catty fighting. With an extremely catchy chorus, this song will stick in your head and never fail to keep revolving.
Taylor has definitely grown up, as her 1989 title reveals, she has hit officially hit adulthood, approaching her mid-twenties. “Wildest Dreams” is a tastefully sensual slower ballad about red lips, sunsets, and dreams. With heavily breathy background vocals and dramatic introduction, this brooding tune provides a nice contrast to much of the energetically tempo tracks of the album. Definitely taking on a more mature, sexy approach, this song shows the world that she is no longer the little girl with teardrops on her guitar.
Adding an extremely personal touch and some insight information for the fans, the last three tracks of the albums are voice memos taken from Swift’s phone that show the beginning of the songwriting process for three songs on the record. She says in the introduction to these tracks that people are always wondering about the inner workings of her songwriting process, so she wanted to give some examples of the beginning stages of her work. The songs include “I Know Places”, “I Wish You Would”, and “Blank Space”, and it is actually pretty interesting to see Swift and others’ first impressions of these tracks.
Overall, this album maintains the personality, imagination, and boldness of Swift’s past work. While this transition into the pop genre is at its completion for Taylor, we can’t wait to see what her next move is and what the future holds for her music. 1989 is out now via Universal Records, you can purchase it on iTunes here. Taylor Swift is also taking the 1989 album on the road next year, with her recently announced The 1989 World Tour, details for which can be found here.
Words by Alexa Stallings // Edited by Ayo Adepoju