Sunday, November 2, 2014

Album Review: Taylor Swift 1989

When a sixteen year old girl from Reading, Pennsylvania, signed a contract with Big Machine Records, she had no idea how much her future would change her forever. Her self-titled debut album, Taylor Swift, was a huge success and was at the top of the country music charts for 24 consecutive weeks. The singer has currently won seven Grammys and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and 75 million digital single downloads. Her new album, 1989, became #1 in over 80 countries. She has released four other albums: Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010) and Red (2012). For “Fearless” and “Speak Now,” she mostly stayed in the country genre, keeping her acoustic close and donning cowgirl boots. For “Red,” Swift kept one foot in country and one in pop, pleasing fans of both genres. For “1989,” the singer plunged both feet in the latter genre, as it is her first official “pop” album.

During her reveal of the new album in a livestream, Taylor explained that the album was based off of music from the 1980s. “The idea that you can do what you want, be who you want, wear what you want, love what you want — bright colors, bold chances, rebellion. The idea of that was so inspiring to me,” said Swift. The title, “1989,” is both a representation of that idea and the year the artist was born.

The album opens with an anthem to the Big Apple, entitled “Welcome to New York.” The singer expresses her enthusiasm for the city by singing “It's a new soundtrack/I could dance to this beat forevermore/The lights are so bright/ but they never blind me.” The third track, Style, has a hip-hop beat that makes it sound mysteriously exciting. “Out Of The Woods,” the second song to be released from the album, may have a new sound, but it certainly contains classic Taylor Swift lyrics, such as “ Looking at it now, last December/We were built to fall apart, then fall back together.”
“All You Had to Do Was Stay” and “Wish You Would” are both fast-paced songs that tell about two failed relationships. In “I Wish You Would,” she sings, “I wish you would come back/wish I'd never hung up the phone like I did.” In “All You Had to Do Was Stay,” she hits a high note on “Stay,” and sings in a shake-of-the-head manner, “Had me in the palm of your hand/then, why'd you had to go and lock me out when I let you in.”

The eighth track, entitled “Bad Blood,” might be mistaken to be Swift releasing her anger on one of her exes, but she insists it was another female singer that was the fire behind this song. The lyrics are chanted and angry, as Swift chides “Band-aids don't fix bullet holes/you say sorry just for show/If you live like that, you live with ghosts.” While the song might not be as great as “Better Than Revenge” (Speak Now, 2010) it is a passionate song full of bitterness from a friendship that was betrayed…. Taylor is definitely not sorry about this one.

Some of the most memorable tracks, however, appear near the end of the record. The ninth song, entitled “Wildest Dreams,” slows down as Taylor becomes breathless and alluring; sounding like singer Lana Del Rey.  It begs, “please don’t forget about me,” through the lyrics “Say you’ll remember me/standing in a nice dress/ staring at the sunset.” Though the lyrics of “How You Get the Girl” might be a bit cheesy and sound like the soundtrack of a chic-flic, she uses a clever method of storytelling. “This Love” is the slowest song on the album. Swift sings regretfully about a lost love that has been revived. “This love is good, this love is bad/ This love is alive back from the dead.”

“I Know Places” starts out with Swift singing in urgent tones, and throughout the song, the beat becomes fast-paced as she encourages the one she loves to run away with her. “They got the cages, they got the boxes/ and guns, they are the hunters, we are the foxes.” she sings. “I know places we can hide,” she tells him, pulling him along. The song is intense and invigorating as the beat quickens and adrenaline and desperation is fused into the lyrics.  

The final song, entitled “Clean,” closes off the album nicely. It is a slower song with a more inspiring message than the previous tracks. Swift described it as a song that she hoped would “help people overcome things.” The song discusses becoming clean life’s catastrophes as she sings sadly, “The water filled my lungs/ I screamed so loud but no one heard a thing.” Later in the chorus, she sings “When I was drowning/That's when I could finally breathe.”

Possibly the highest point of the album, however, is the second track, entitled “Blank Space”, which was the second single off the album (the first being “Shake it Off). The song features instrumentals that definitely sound like a modern version of an 80s sound. The lyrics are catchy and sassy- Swift makes fun of her reputation of breaking the hearts of all her boyfriends. She teases the boy that wants to steal her heart “'Cause we're young and we're reckless/ we'll take this way too far/It'll leave you breathless/or with a nasty scar.” The chorus ends with a satisfying sound of a pen click as she says slyly, “I got a long list of ex-lovers/They’ll tell you I’m insane/But I’ve got a blank space baby/and I’ll write your name.”

Old die hard Swiftie fans have nothing to worry about with this new album- Swift steps up her game with a faster paced, exhilarating album that will leave listeners content and excited for the next installment.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review:D I wrote one as well: I love all her songs, so much!!


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