BY: FRANCISCO FLORES
Taylor Swift has completely taken over the world. Her latest album, 1989, is set to be 2014’s highest selling record and could potentially be the first album of the year to sell one million copies in its first week. The album goes in a completely new direction from Swift’s previous works and could be debated to be her best one yet. Here is my track-by-track review of 1989: The opening “Welcome to New York” begins with a very late-80s synthesized vibe and really builds the energy for the song. Here is where you get a feel of Swift’s new pop sound, which she executed perfectly. It is a strong opening track for an album that is sure to become a state anthem for NYC.
“Blank Space” has a very subtle Lorde-sounding beat, which makes sense since she and Swift make it a priority to showcase their friendship. It somehow manages to have a toned-down feel, yet powerful in the lyrics and melody. This song could potentially become a single, as it is very radio-friendly.
Another late-80s inspired tune, “Style” tells the story of how strong a relationship is regardless of whether it works out or not. Swift’s subtle sassiness is showcased in the song with lyrics like “I got that red lip classic thing that you like.” It seems as Swift gets older, her perceptions of relationships become more about reality than fantasy, and this song is a great example of her growth.
Fans were treated to “Out of the Woods” two weeks before the album was released when the song was released on iTunes and shot to the top of the chart within minutes. This song is a a fearless risk of a sound Swift has yet to try, but of course, it worked out perfectly. The song has an up-beat, percussion-heavy melody with a quick chorus and deep lyrics about the uncertainty of relationships.
“All You Had To Do Was Stay” is a more modern song off the album, but it sticks with the continued change of sound from Swift. The song’s simple lyrics and short time (3:13) make it a fun little gem in a mine full of diamonds. This song exemplifies Swift’s take on pop music – not too many synthesized sounds with a timeless beat and attitude.
The inescapable song of the second half of the year has definitely been “Shake It Off.” This song blew up on the radio as it marked the first official pop song from Swift. It is a carefree anthem that has become Swift’s biggest song to date. The dance-infused track could easily take the title of the best song of 2014.
Swift sounds like she sings the verses for “I Wish You Would” in quick spurts, giving the song a fast-pace feel. She lets her voice ride along with the music in another guitar-driven pop masterpiece.
“Bad Blood” takes on a slower tempo, but Swift’s powerful chants give the song new life. Swift sings about being deceived and delivers one of her deepest lyrics from the album: “Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes.” With lyrics like that, you get a real sense of what emotions led to the writing of the song.
Another Lorde-infused track, “Wildest Dreams” is a song with a smooth sound and an up-lifting theme. Swift takes a break from the overpowering vocals she provides on tracks 1-8 to give listeners a softer-sounding song.
On every album, the opening track has either a powerful sound or powerful lyrics. Sometimes it has both. “How You Get the Girl” lacks the album-opening lyrics, but the overall sound could have made this song easily take the place of WTNY. The song has a busy chorus that is instantly infectious as well as a composure worthy of an opening number.
After so many beat-heavy songs, “This Love” feels somewhat awkward as one of the few ballads on the album. Not to say it isn’t a great song, though. It gives Swift the chance to show everyone how she infused her style of music into every type of song as it continues the theme of her new signature sound.
The echoes of “I Know Places” give the song a feeling of running through the forest. As if that wasn’t enough, Swift incorporates lyrics about knowing “places we can hide” as well as singing about being a fox and being hunted. If this song had been created about three years ago, it would have definitely ended up on the Twilight soundtrack.
Swift closes out the album with the simple “Clean.” Songs don’t always need to have blaring instruments to be powerful, and Swift shows that through this song. She sings about ending a bad relationship and realizing how unhappy she was only after it was over. The song does have a somber tone, but it proves to be a great ending track to an amazing and unforgettable album.
Swift ends the album at 13 tracks, which coincidentally happens to be her favorite number. On the deluxe version, three extra tracks are included along with three voice memos recorded by Taylor in the early stages of the album’s development.
1989 is available now on iTunes while the deluxe version is available at Target.