Taylor Swift – ‘1989’ Album Review

By Tyler Clark
     2014 has been a dismal year for record sales. No album released in 2014 has reached platinum status, meaning they haven’t sold over a million copies. This the first time this has happened since the Recording Industry Association of America introduced the platinum certification in 1976. The top 3 selling albums of 2014 were all released last year and even big names like Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea, both of which having huge summer hits, couldn’t muster up a million copies. It’s safe to say the pressure was on Taylor Swift. She not only was relied on deliver album sales (her last two albums sold over a million copies in their debut week), she also had to carry an audience that she spent her whole career building into a new genre. Taylor not only delivered with 1989, but blew away expectations.
     Taylor starts 1989, named after the year she was born, with the Ryan Tedder produced “Welcome To New York.” Taylor cites the Big Apple as the big inspiration behind the album and her yearning to change her sound. Though the song is catchy, it can be easily dismissed. The track isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t compare to the other songs on the album. The next track and official second single is “Blank Space.” The track is one of many she worked on with Max Martin and pokes fun at her love life with lyrics such as, “I’ve got a long list of ex-lovers that’ll tell you I’m insane.” This track demonstrates the amount of growth Taylor has undergone both as a person and an artist. Her lyrics, though still love centric, take more risks and hold back on the finger pointing and speculations about these ex-lovers’ identities.

Other highlights of the album include “Out Of The Woods” which was co-written/produced by Jack Antonoff of Fun, “Bad Blood” which is the only semi-angry track towards a former friend, and “Wildest Dreams” her strangest yet beautiful song yet. Taylor even tries to appeal to an older audience while not leaving her rabid fans behind. The whole album has an adult contemporary feel and she is finally writing lyrics that emulate her age.

“How You Get The Girl,” another standout from the album, not only has one heck of a catchy beat, but should be praised for being a gender neutral song. Making the narrator neither boy or girl shows the growth she has made since her 2006 track “Picture To Burn.” The deluxe edition is definitely worth the money as the three bonus tracks are perfection. “New Romantics,” one of the bonus tracks, has the pulsating beats and the catchy melody that is made for Top 40 radio, but it also feels like untraveled territory.

Taylor Swift took a chance blatantly leaving country music and Nashville. It’s admirable, giving the fact that her career wouldn’t be where it is without country music. Sometimes change is good and 1989 is easily her best work and her most cohesive album yet. She and her small group of collaborators have created a unique pop record, which is risky given the state of the business. Industry insiders predict that Taylor will sell over 1.3 million copies in her first week. This will be a first for 2014, a first for an artist to have three consecutive albums sell a million copies in the first week, and a first pop album for Taylor Swift. 1989 is not only Taylor’s best work; it’s the best pop album released this year.