Taylor Swift – 1989 (Big Machine Records)
Tour the globe? Check. Move to New York City? Check. Become a massive pop powerhouse? Check. The sweet and innocent country girl that America fell in love with is now gone with the arrival of Taylor Swift’s first pop-centric album of her career. Swift broke into the music scene in 2006 with her self-titled album, which consisted of mostly country songs. With her next three albums, Fearless (2008) Speak Now(2010) and Red (2012), she began experimenting with pop music infused with country but didn’t decide to take the full leap until her smash hit single “I Knew You Were Trouble”in 2012. The dubstep chorus paved the way for her newest album 1989.
1989 draws influences from 80’s pop artists like Madonna and Annie Lenox. Upon hearing it for the first time, die-hard Taylor Swift fans may be pleasantly surprised at her transition to mainstream pop music.
The album begins with a quirky ode to the BigApple (Welcome to New York). Swift places the listeners right in middle of Manhattan with lyrics like “Walking through a crowd, the village is aglow. Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats.” Having just moved to the city herself, Swift wrote a love song, not about an ex lover, but about the greatest city in the world.
The entire album chronicles the aftermath of a relationship and how to deal with a heart break that won’t seem to heal.“All You Had to do Was Stay” asks the age old question “What if he stayed around? Would things be different?” The answer for Swift was apparent when she sings “But people like me are gone forever when you say goodbye”. She has no sympathy for boys who broke her heart on this record and has no problem calling out names either. The song “Style” is a clear jab at ex-boyfriend Harry Styles. “You got that long hair, slicked back, white tee shirt”she sings as she basically describes Styles’ attire.
Although Swift is well known for bashing ex-boyfriends in her songs, she took a shot at a fellow pop star on this record.“Bad Blood” is supposedly about a feud between Swift and pop sensation Katy Perry. Rumor has it Perry tried to sabotage Swift’s tour so, in return, she wrote a song so catchy that it is destined to be number 1 hit.
One of the most pleasant surprises on this album is a song called “I Know Places”. Swift wrote the song about how her relationships have been magnified under the Hollywood microscope. It starts with a very dark, ominous melody that captures her fear of her high profile relationship being caught in the public eye. However, when the chorus kicks in, she lets the light in because she has found a place to hidefrom the paparazzi . The whole album comes full circle at the end with the song “Clean” in which she sings that she is finally over whatever heart break she had and has learned to love herself before anyone else.
Swift has finally found her element. The country music was fun and cute at the beginning, but it wasn’t before long that she needed to move past all the writing about her ex boyfriends and grow up. You can hear the maturity in her music and lyrics, which are rich and refreshing compared to other songs on the radio. Taylor Swift has definitely earned her rightful place as the pop princess.
Songs to check out: Style, I Know Places, Clean.