Swift’s new album 1989, named for the year she was born, is inspired by the pop music of the late 1980’s. Despite the fact that Swift was originally considered a country artist and has quite a few CMAs to prove it, she has “officially” transitioned to pop. However, in my opinion, Swift has been singing pop music since Speak Now.
I’m going to be honest here. Before the album came out, and I was listening to her early releases like the horrible “Shake It Off,” I was preparing a post that was quite critical of the ex-country princess. I absolutely loved Swift from about fifth to eighth grade, but my interest was rapidly disintegrating. For instance, half her songs on Speak Now were six-minute rants about guys who wronged her, and there were like two upbeat tracks on Red. Plus, the whole dropping name thing was getting to be a bit much for me. It was cute at first, but I desperately wanted Taylor to start taking credit for some of her break-ups… or at least stop obsessing over them.
So, Monday morning, I woke up and downloaded the album to give it a listen. I always listen to works in order initially just because I think that that’s how the artist wants it to be heard the first time. Anyway, I first heard “Welcome to New York,” and admittedly, I rolled my eyes. I remember thinking, “Really? Couldn’t you have stuck to ‘Teardrops on My Guitar’? What are you doing, Tay?”
Then, track 2, also known as “Blank Space,” came on, and suddenly I was hooked. I loved that she kind of made fun of herself with lines like “Got a long list of ex-lovers. They’ll tell you I’m insane” while adding in catchy, ironic lines like “and I thought ‘Oh my God. Look at that face. You look like my next mistake.’” The beat was interesting and literally from a different time hence the album title. After hearing all of “Blank Space” and my personal favorite (track 3) “Style,” I wanted to hear more. What did this girl have up her sleeve now?
With that said, I loved every other song on the album. Swift kept them all under five minutes (thank you, thank you, thank you), so I was never bored listening. The tracks were mostly upbeat, and none name-dropped or whined about a break-up. Instead, they were playful, energetic, and easy to sing-along to. Each told a crazily colorful and detailed story that each of us can find a part to relate to. Who doesn’t want someone to “remember me, standing in a nice dress staring at the sunset” or to say “I want you for worse or for better. I would wait forever and ever?”
I think that finally, T-Swift is finding her calling. After all, in her personal life, she’s a cat-loving, red-lipstick-wearing, eclectic woman, so her music should reflect that. She outgrew the innocent guitar-holding teen with long curly blonde hair. I think her image has changed a ton since the release of Taylor Swift, but her sound was stuck in some crazy limbo that I didn’t understand. Now, the sound of 1989 matches her look, and I think she’s finally found a true place in the industry.
I hope I didn’t offend any of you Swifties out there because I admit that I prejudged this album, which turned out to be a work of art. I’m proud of my childhood idol for really finding herself and her music, and I look forward to the future of Taylor’s career. Let me know how you’re liking 1989, and you know what I’m going to say next… happy kommenting :)