On average, Taylor Swift has been releasing an album every two years, and the new entry into her discography is one of her strongest yet. ‘1989’ is significant in that it completes her transfer from country to pop (with 2010’s ‘Speak Now’ being a bit of both genres) and it only seems natural. Gone are the numerous songs about exes and in with a strong opening with ‘Welcome to New York’, even though the majority of the songs still deal with the complexities of relationships.
There is the genius ‘Blank Space’, her newest single and an imitation on the media’s image of her being the crazy ex-girlfriend. If you haven’t seen the music video yet, I highly recommend you do. She’s making fun of the media, and it is – in my opinion – glorious. And then, firmly in the middle of the CD, is ‘Shake It Off’. ‘Shake It Off’ acts as a message to Taylor Swift’s fans to be themselves and have self-confidence. Meanwhile, Ms. Swift dismisses her own critics (again, similar to ‘Blank Space’) and is saying she really doesn’t care about what they think. Both of these singles are incredibly catchy, and perhaps even her best two singles in the ‘Red’/‘1989’ era.
Other strong entries include ‘Bad Blood’, an anthem of a track with a firm beat and a chanting chorus that you’ll probably end up singing along to at some point. ‘I Know Places’, my personal favourite, charts a forbidden love: the lovers are ‘foxes’, the people opposing the relationship the ‘hunters’. ‘Clean’, a mellow ballad that ends the album, sings of love as if it is an addiction and ‘Style’ has a hypnotic rhythm and talks about not being able to let go of a relationship.
Of course, ‘1989’ does have its weaknesses – partially because it sounds so similar to ‘Red’. A lot of the songs sound similar when you listen to the album the first time. Having listened to the album quite a few times since buying it, I am beginning to distinguish the difference between the songs. But it shouldn’t take it as long as it has/ Gone are the more acoustic songs from her early days with ‘Fearless’ (2008) and the songs sound more auto-tuned, which appears to be a customary feature of pop songs.
While ‘1989’ might be my own personal favourite album of hers, it may not be to everyone’s taste – especially if you prefer her earlier albums. Her transition from country to pop reminds me a lot of Nelly Furtado’s transition years back from folk to pop, and I think she did it far more successfully. ‘1989’ shifted 1.2 million units in its first week and was hailed by Billboard as probably being 2014’s biggest album.
In a time where the CD is becoming less popular, I would personally urge you guys to go buy the album itself; the presentation of the album is beautiful. ‘1989’ comes with 13 Polaroid photos, each with a lyric written on them corresponding to a song. Would I recommend ‘1989’? Absolutely - this album is ultimately an upbeat addition to her discography that signifies the beginning of a new era for Taylor Swift.