Taylor Swift: 1989

Posted November 20, 2014 by in Pop



4/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , , , , , , , ,
Genre: Pop, synthpop
Producer: Jack Antonoff, Nathan Chapman, Imogen Heap, Greg Kurstin, Max Martin, Mattman & Robin, Ali Payami, Shellback, Taylor Swift, Ryan Tedder, Noel Zancanella
Label: Big Machine
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 48:41
Release Date: 27 October 2014
Spin This: "Blank Space," "


An almost-effortless event featuring two-year's worth of hits − "Shake It Off" is clearly her best R&B record. Major change into fullblown pop doesn't sound off-putting on Swift


A few inside tracks marred with bad timing eat away from the album's grandeur

Swift jumps into the fast lane of evolving pop on fifth LP

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Swift jumps into the fast lane of evolving pop on fifth LP

Evolution is inevitable. For Taylor Swift, the smart country girl smothered with instant pop confetti and a songwriter’s pen familiar with teen diary exercises, that adage has become inescapable. When she performed country pop, it always felt so limiting. And so it makes perfect sense to see the young modelesque sweetheart traveling Shania Twain’s “off to Oz” footsteps. Swift’s most revered, her treasured pieces of gold – “You Belong With Me,” ‘Picture to Burn,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “22” have all risen to the highest peak of new millennium radio essentials. These kinds of songs work most for her, even if her thin pop vocals and singer/songwriter muse also works comfortably around a simple Appalachian archetype. But rather than making a record that reflects the best of both worlds (see 2012’s Red), Swift has put her primary focus on breaking free from the box of Nashville’s limitations. 1989 flirts with ’80s pop wonderment and openly explore the universe of future synth pop as it unabashedly fires up big urban bass, otherworldly strings and drum machine movements.

“Welcome to New York,” the album’s opener, is her declaration for big city dreams. It lyrically says nothing, as it brags about the lights and “this beat.” It will never eclipse bigger Big Apple anthems, but Swift’s innocent approach to this new world − a vast difference from Southern living − is felt and is most important to her growing fan base. Swift may have abandoned the sonic diet that her dedicated fans have gobbled, but she’s found the contemporary stylings that work on her easy breezy pop: “Blank Space” sounds like a classic midtempo Katy Perry record; “Style” is masqueraded with sexy electro funk, pushing her vocals to dip into orgasmic-like tonality. The album finds its glow on “Shake It Off,” a song that sounds like a mutation of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” and Toni Basil’s “Hey Mickey.” Swift effortlessly pulls off a bad-ass R&B track that could out rival a Pointer Sisters record. “All You Had to Stay” is just as memorable, thanks to a delicious electropop gloss and radio-hungry melody. And although the interesting “Clean” plays in a puddle of depression as it deals with sobriety (“Just because you’re clean don’t mean you miss it”), the gorgeous musical palette creates a dreamscape worthy for therapy sessions. Even when Swift jumps into the heartbroken blues of a 20-something, she makes it sound ageless.

In trying to sound different, some of the songs lack interest. The tongue-twisting rampage on the chorus of “Out of the Woods” is doing way too much, while the ’80’s-dancey opening lines of “I Wish You Would” is interrupted with a drum-heavy and sluggish time change on the chorus. There are few of these incidents aboard the album, often getting in the way from pushing the album into stellar status. But songs like the summer anthem-ready “How You Get The Girl, the Ryan Tedder-produced “I Know Places” and the sexy smooth ballad “Wildest Dreams” keeps costly mistakes at bay, making Swift’s oddball choices seem insignificant.

1989 is bold and ambitious to the Swift songbook. It paints her as a rebel to the Nashville establishment, but remains consistent with the growth one would expect from Swift. Those angry at Swift for abandoning ship will have to deal with it; those who frown on Swift for her unimpressive live performances and overgrown popularity will have to get over it. There’s enough hit singles on 1989 to last two years. For Swift, this is her 1999 album. Like Prince’s landmark record, Swift will no longer be confined to a select genre. She’s going for total crossover and proves to be doing it well.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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