Taylor Swift: ‘1989’ Album Review


Swift has been teasing fans since late August of 2014 with single releases for “Shake It Off,” “Welcome to New York,” and “Out of the Woods.” It seems that “Out of the Woods” was the only single release to actually give us a taste of what 1989 would hold for us. 1989 is thick with love, but this time around, Swift pulled a one-eighty and made herself the dangerous lover, as she croons in “Darling I’m a nightmare / dressed like a daydream.”

“Blank Space” the second track on the album keeps to Swift’s popular theme of what could be in a relationship. However, this time, Swift is owning a new idea of herself as the player in the relationship, “boys only want love if it’s torture / don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Swift’s verses paint her token relationship of bad news that she just can’t get enough of, just like we can’t get enough of this song.

“Style” is another notable track for 1989. Rumored to be about One Direction’s Harry Styles, Swift makes illusions to James Dean and infidelity that mirror 1950s blockbusters. The song is easily the best illustrated with her images of red lipstick and tight skirts and slicked back hair with white t-shirts. It’s the most doomed romance of the stories on the album, but somehow, we still root for it.

Mirroring the quick repetition of the hook from in “Out of the Woods” but adding a synth-voice element, “All You Had to Do Was Stay” is perhaps the most synthetic of the tracks, but is also the most true to the Swift tracks we’ve had in the past. Swift’s lyrics play on the abandonment themes from past albums, but this time, paired with techno elements, the track is decidedly new.

“I Wish You Would” is yet another extremely catchy track from 1989. The track plays on the 80s beats and instrumentals that she was aiming for, and the hook rockets the song into 80s pop stardom. It nearly reads like a John Hughes film in the lyrics, with a heroine that is yearning for her lost love but won’t ever say it to his face.

Easily the most fun track on the album, “Bad Blood” kicks off with a catchy chant and pushes powerfully into verse reminiscent of a woman scorned. Prepare yourself, because this, full of angst and hinting at sorrow, is destined to be the teen anthem of the season. The force behind the lyrics, the unapologetic refusal to forgive, and the simple beat of the hook will keep this track on the Top 40 for months to come.

“Wildest Dreams” presents the most beautiful ballad of the album. Equal parts earnest plea and fantasy dream, the track gives us the most honest and unregretful insight into the pop icon’s love life. We’ve always been exposed to the breakups and the paparazzi photos, but “Wildest Dreams” probably gives us the real reason Swift delves into romances with notorious bad boys, and it’s a reason none of us can say we’d be able to resist: “He’s so tall, and handsome as hell / He’s so bad but he does it so well / I can see the end as it begins my one condition is / Say you’ll remember me.”

Utilizing pointed end lyrics and darker images, “I Know Places” turns on Swift’s dark side. The chorus nearly acts as an oasis for the darker verses of the song, which parallels the idea of the song. It’s a strong writing and arranging technique, which solidifies Swift’s transcendence into mature and serious music creation.

“How You Get the Girl,” “Shake It Off,” and “Welcome to New York” bring fun pop breaks to the album. All are more of a bridge from Swift’s older sound to her new one, namely between 2012’s Red and this year’s 1989. “This Love” and “Clean” also serve as familiar ballads for Swift’s older fans. Even if you aren’t a fan of Swift’s wilder tracks, these tracks will still make the album worth the purchase.

Swift has finally found her niche, and with any luck, will continue to evolve and shape herself through the years. Paired with her newfound feminism in interviews and media, Swift’s 1989 rocketed her into the mature realm of music and will continue to make her a force to be reckoned with.