The talented Miss Taylor Swift has four country albums in her back catalogue, but decided that for the release of her fifth, entitled 1989, she was going to go in an entirely different direction. The album’s first single prior to its release, ‘Shake It Off’, gave listeners somewhat of a shock with its catchy pop melody and lyrics much unlike anything Swift has done before. It was then revealed that for this album, she would be going full-on pop, delving into an area that she had only dabbled with before. The single received a mixed reception from both her fans and critics alike, but was a taste of something new for the singer-songwriter.
1989 opens with ‘Welcome To New York’, an 80s electro-infused track that tells the story of Swift’s love for the city. The 16 year old Swift who released her eponymously-titled debut album would never have dreamed that she would go in this direction by 24, but it certainly isn’t a bad thing. This new style simply opens up her audience a little more, drawing in fans that might not have given her a chance before. Written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, ‘Welcome To New York’ definitely gives the album an unexpected but phenomenal beginning.
Further into the album, there’s ‘Style’, which incorporates Swift’s ever-so-familiar romance and relationship focused songwriting, but instead of giving fans a song they can cry in to their pillow over like she’s done in previous albums, this track is much more about relationship empowerment – “we never go out of style” is the lead lyric, which may send her teenage fans into a daydream about one of the unobtainable One Direction boys, but it’s catchy so she’s forgiven.
‘Out Of The Woods’ is another recent single, which was revealed to be about Swift’s brief fling with One Direction’s Harry Styles. That might be enough to win fans over, but the fact that it was co-written by the incredibly talented Jack Antonoff (of Fun. and Bleachers fame) is the talking point of those not in Swift’s teenage fanbase, but who are still fans of the track that has grown on what seems like the entirety of the internet.
By ‘I Wish You Would’, it’s pretty clear that Swift has created an album centred on the pop music of yesteryear, which shouldn’t be all that surprising given the album’s name is 1989. Luckily, it means that it’s an album that will be set apart from the rest of the pop crowd who are battling for those Spotify and Billboard top spots, as that vintage approach isn’t something that’s seen often these days. In contrast, ‘Bad Blood’, which begins with a vocal solo, seems to be far more present day – possibly an attempt at showing off Swift’s versatility, but a song that simply doesn’t quite sit right in context with the other tracks. Either way, considering it on its own rather than as part of the album, it’s an impressive pop song that listeners are likely to be singing along to after just a couple of plays.
Swift’s final offering with 1989 is ‘Clean’ which was co-written with British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap. This track is much unlike anything else on the album, more similar to what you would hear on her 2012 album Red. Everything remains quiet throughout the duration of the song, reverting Swift back to a young girl with a guitar and the world at her feet. Despite a few songs that don’t seem to fit with the overall feel of 1989, it’s a stunning album that Swift is likely proud to add to her equally as impressive discography.