Monday, October 27, 2014


 { "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" }

In this post, I am most essentially just reiterating what you may have already read on or the New York Times and even The Atlantic: Taylor Swift's new album, 1989, is good. Like, really good. It is simple, pure pop music at it's best, and I am not ashamed to enjoy it almost entirely from beginning to end. 

She's left country behind, blah blah blah. She had basically left country behind on Red, too, you guys. (And I love that album, too. So much. ) I think we all went into T. Swift's media blitz for this album with an "Oh, brother!" attitude that masked the genuine, "Will it be good?" question. We accepted "Shake It Off" as as inescapable and catchy. Then we heard "Out of the Woods" which has an incredibly repetitive chorus but it's synth-y, strong and again, damn catchy. I will admit that "Welcome To New York" is a really poor reimagining of our collective, beloved modern NYC anthem, "Empire State of Mind." But for her base audience—it'll do.

For better or for worse, we should expect nothing less than this from Taylor Swift. She is the masterful architect of her own carefully curated brand that encompasses everything from her friendships with fashion darling Karlie Kloss and HBO darling Lena Dunham to her #1989SecretSessions for her fans to her boyfriends and breakups—and especially her public-facing personality. Nothing is less than perfectly executed and filtered for her 12.5 million Instagram followers. 

Like Red, there are songs on 1989 that tug at you to guess at who they might be about, but unlike Red, that's not the point here. Is "Style" about Harry Styles? Probably, but like, who cares—it's a sleek, dare I say sexy song that feels like a Swiftian take on the "Nightrider" theme. The sounds, the beats, the fun of the music is what makes this album worth a few dozen listens. It's easy to pull sonic references from friends like Lorde and collaborator Jack Antonoff of fun., as well as Lana Del Rey, Haim, Rihanna and obviously, an overarching 1980s vibe. The lyrics are primed for tween Tumblrs—short and cutting one-liners like "Darling I'm a nightmare, dressed as a day dream" are sprinkled throughout.

The singles already released are hardly the best songs on 1989. "Wildest Dreams" is her Lana-esque moment that you can't help but like, "Blank Space" is a self-aware reference to her own musical/romantic past, and "New Romantics" (an extra track from her exclusive-to-Target deluxe album) is a shimmering dance song with an '80s beat and a striking vocal similarity to The Killers "Mr. Brightside" in the verse. Is every song amazing? No. There are a few snoozers here and there to be sure.

The bottom line here is that girl is so good at the things she sets out to do, there's little cause to fight her on it. She sounds different but still distinctly like herself, which I suppose is the goal. She delivers everything that diehard Taylor Swift fans want, and a new sound so expertly produced, she's pulling in the non-believers, too. (We can thank pop master Max Martin for that.) I didn't want to love this album, but I'm not mad that I do. I suspect you might feel similarly.

Well played, Taylor Swift, well played.

Buy it on iTunes here, or get the deluxe Target version here.

1 comment:

  1. Chris - @nylonlover69 on TwitterOctober 28, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    I'm ok with Taylor changing things up. Wouldn't want the girl to get stale.

    I don't know why I didn't pre-order... I need to get that album STAT!