This is difficult for me to write only because I’ve never written a review before so here goes nothing. I’m only reviewing songs that have become ingrained in my ears all day.
1989 was a big shock for all Taylor Swift fans. “Country Queen turns Pop” is kind of hard to find a transition but Taylor doesn’t need a transition. When she first released “Shake It Off” I was at a party and spilt my beer because I thought the video was a joke (when I say party I really mean a Warhammer game night where we ended up just drinking). Driving home I found myself listening to it over and over until thinking, “What happened to Red era Swift? What happened to the emotional, picture painting blonde we’ve all come to know and love.” Well this is what happened. She said, “fuck you” to everyone who has given her shit. This record is broken into two halves; new and improved, strong and independent T-Swift and human, vulnerable, hurt Taylor.
Lets begin with the first half: Queen Tay
With an opening track that sounds like music from a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie where they somehow end up on the wrong plane and accidentally end up in the big apple “Welcome To New York” is now and will forever be the anthem of New York City. This song makes our awful landfill of an island sound magical, desirable, and wonderful. Taylor takes all the negativity of the city and shoves it under the rug, then stomps on it violently! The lights that cover every inch of darkness, the village, the communities, aspiring to be someone you could only dream about, “Welcome To New York” covers every aspect of our melting pot and makes it explode.
“Blank Space” might be the most minimal track off the record but the most gut wrenching of them all. If you were skeptical with the first song on the album this song shows that Taylor has still got it. With the opening line, “Nice to meet you. Where you been. I can show you incredible things…” it makes it sound like she’s speaking to you and only you. This is something everyone can relate to: being read like a magazine, flirting, having a reputation and wanting to conquer it, having a fling just for the fun of it and then ending it. Taylor Swift has come to let everyone know that no matter how many ex’s she or anyone has its okay because at one point in our lives we’re all “young and reckless”. She also says “I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream” and Reed and I have agreed that it makes us swoon.
Part of me is convinced that the third song off the record, “Style” was written by Daft Punk. This not-so-subtle journey about Harry Styles is catchy right from the minor bridge to the major chorus. Comparing their relationship to that of greaser bad boy Danny Zuko and good schoolgirl Sandy Olssen. With this new “retro” pop sound Taylor takes the rewind back a few more decades and sings about James Dean, slick back hair, white t-shirts, red lipstick (obviously), and tight skirts. The only way to make this track better is if there was a clip of Danny and Sandy talking at the end.
I’m going to skip Out of The Woods, All You Had To Do Was Stay, and Shake It Off. It’s not that the tracks aren’t great but I could spend hours writing page after page. I have also sat on two of the three for longer than the rest of the album.
The second half: Human Taylor
I Wish You Would is a song about a guy, who thinks his ex hates him, while he’s driving past her house. Could this be about one of her ex’s? Possibly. Do I give a shit? No. A classic song about miscommunication and late night thoughts eating away your memories.
Bad Blood got some heat on the internet about a feud between “frenemy” Katy Perry. At a first listen you’d think it was just another relationship gone wrong but apparently Tay dropped some hints that could fly right by the rest of us. Last song I listened to on the radio that was a hit was Little Lion Man back in 2009. So some of us might miss a thing or two. Bad Blood very well might be the big hit off of 1989. Although Shake It Off already has 2 million plus views and over half a million tracks sold on iTunes Bad Blood has this larger than life vibe.
Either Taylor has stole the sound, feel, and atmosphere of Lana Del Rey or Lana was holding it for her to come along and pick up the torch. Wildest Dreams makes you want to be whomever Taylor is singing about. The approach she uses on this song is like something never before done. The way she lingers on words, the aspirate vocals on notes in her range and in falsetto. I never thought I’d ever hear a “sexy” recording by Taylor, other than Better Than Revenge but I don’t want to talk about that. If you don’t melt from “I say no one has to know what we do/ His hands are in my hair/ His clothes are in my room” I will come to where ever you are and break your balls.
I can seriously never finish anything. I have made coffee, smoked cigarettes, made toast, made more coffee, took a shower, made more toast, made a sandwich just to avoid finishing this.
How You Get The Girl sounds exactly like a cut from Red. Wildest Dreams, to me, is the peaking point of the record. Not peaking like the rest is bad but How You Get The Girl is bringing a perfect blend of Red and 1989. This is the part of the record that is so incredibly human. No more bullshit. This Love sounds like what you blast on your record player on a rainy Saturday. This Love is the quintessential song in her discography. Although maybe “just another track” I have become quickly obsessed with this blend of late 80’s early 90’s sounds. If this song came out 22 years ago this would be on par with Seal and Celine Dion.
The final song sounds like it comes right out of Give Up by The Postal Service and Ocean Eyes by Owl City. This is a brilliant way to end the album. Clean is most certainly the darkest song Taylor has ever written. “ Rain came pouring in when I was drowning/ and that’s when I could finally breathe.” Haunting and human, like the rest of us, these words remind us that no matter how famous or rich, were all the same under pressure.
Taylor Swift means a lot to me. She means a lot to everyone. When I first heard Mean I had just moved from Weston, Florida to Massapequa Park, New York and this song changed the way I saw myself and the people who bullied me in high school. I had done it. I moved to a new state to start living my life and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t thank everyone who helped me adjust. Taylor gave me the confidence to be whomever I wanted to be – I took the asshole route. Taylor gave me the confidence to start a band and get up on stage to show people who I truly am and what I have to offer – shitty music with an asshole attitude. 1989 is not Red and I don’t ever think it will be but this new movement can stand on its own tall, strong, and with its head held high.
Overall Rating: 8/10
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