Artist: Taylor Swift
Label: Big Machine Records
Country-pop artist Taylor Swift goes full pop with her fifth studio album 1989, released on October 27. It’s her first official pop album, marking a complete departure from country and country-pop. In August she released the first single, “Shake It Off,” a fun and catchy pop song that became her second number one hit on the Hot 100. Swift says that 1989 is inspired by late 80s synth-pop and that she wanted to create a new sound while still having artistic integrity in her song writing.
The 80s synth-pop inspirations really work and the album is energetic and fun. Some notable tracks include “How You Get the Girl” and “I Wish You Would” with its fun synth vibe. “Style” has a Magnum P.I.-inspired pop beat and “Out Of The Woods” with its Duran Duran inspired 80s drum beat.
Max Martin and Shellback did a good job producing 1989, with Swift taking part as well. Other producers include Ryan Tedder, Jack Antonoff, and Imogen Heap. Unlike previous albums, Nathan Chapman is not one of the main producers on “1989,” but he helps produce one track with Taylor called “This Love,” a beautiful song that has her usual acoustic pop ballad feel to it.
Swift wrote every song on 1989 with most of the producers acting as co-writers, and the songwriting is incredible. Even though Swift crossed over to pop she still has that artistry that made her well-known in country: narrative story-telling and an ability to be relatable to her fans.
There are less songs about love and heartbreak than her other albums, although some like “All You Had To Do Was Stay” and “Wildest Dreams” chime in on the theme. But, heartbreak is not the main focus. 1989 is about Taylor just enjoying life and living it on her own terms. The song “Welcome to New York” is about Taylor’s transition of moving to NYC and creating a new chapter in her life and career. “Blank Space” talks about the misconceptions of her love life in the media and how she’s tired of it. Perhaps the best song on the album is “Clean,” a song for people that deal with issues like depression and anxiety. It’s probably one of Swift’s best-written songs.
Overall, 1989 is Swift’s best album to date. Even though she crossed over to pop she still maintains a great level of artistry in her song-writing and the 80s synth-pop inspired production worked really well— it’s a very fun album and well worth a listen.