Long gone are the days when Taylor Swift strummed her guitar and gently sang along. Her latest album, 1989, is full of upbeat and poppy tunes, with only a couple of slower songs. Fans feared that she would have changed entirely from her old style of music, but her lyrics are as meaningful as always and each song tells a story, just like her previous four albums have been known for.
The opening song, ‘Welcome to New York’ is one of the most upbeat tunes on the album, and the lyrics signify the new direction that she has decided to take with this album. It describes a “new soundtrack” and the wonder of a move to a city such as New York. ‘Blank Space‘ is next up, and it’s another catchy pop song. The lyrics show how much she has grown as a person since her previous albums; she no longer gets overly attached to her partners and accepts that not every relationship will last.
Rumours have claimed that many of the songs on 1989 are inspired by Swift’s ex-boyfriend, Harry Styles, and the third track is one of the most obviously about him. ‘Style’ contains hints such as “long hair, slicked back“, as well as the name of the track simply being similar to Styles’ name. Another lively but well-written song. ‘Out of the Woods’ is a unique song, and one which had to be listened to a couple of times before properly getting it, but a memorable one nonetheless. The lyrics are again very reminiscent of her older tunes, notably “we decided to move the furniture so we could dance“.
‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’ is one of the best songs of the album. It’s an empowering break-up track and the one that was stuck in my head for hours after listening to the full album. The lyrics are relatable, perfectly describing the feeling of being broken up with and eventually realising that you are much better without them.
‘Shake It Off’ is the first single released from the album, and it’s one that is guaranteed to get a whole club dancing. When you look past the repetitive lyrics, this is Swift’s way of telling the world that she doesn’t care about their criticisms and it’s a message that more people could take on board. Another break-up song comes in the form of ‘I Wish You Would’, a track which simply explains the feeling of wanting to get back together with an ex. However, unlike if this had been one of her previous albums, it’s neither acoustic nor powerful. Due to the poppy beat, it actually blends into the background of this album, which is a shame as a slow, acoustic version of this song could have been magical.
The next track, ‘Bad Blood’, however, does make an impact and is one of the most memorable songs on the album. It contains some powerful vocals and is dangerously catchy. Allegedly, Swift wrote this about her rivalry with Katy Perry over some backing dancers, and it has some very Taylor lyrics, such as “band-aids don’t fix bullet holes“. ‘Wildest Dreams’ is the first definitive ballad of the album and is one of the most beautiful songs on offer. Swift explains how she wants to mean something to the man in question, and doesn’t want to be just another girl to him. Next up is “How You Get The Girl”, which simply describes how honesty is the most attractive quality to her. It’s another catchy and feel-good one that’s not too dissimilar to a track that would be on ‘Speak Now’.
The slowest, most raw track on 1989 is ‘This Love’. It’s one that would probably not be too memorable on any of her older albums, but it stands out due to the overall happy beat of the rest of the tracks. Its lyrics and tune are simple but effective. ‘I Know Places’ is a personal favourite of mine. It’s another simple tune which tells the story of trying to keep her private life from the media, but the lyrics are powerful and meaningful. “Beautiful” is the only word to describe ‘Clean’, the final song of the standard edition album. It’s not powerful in terms of vocals, but the lyrics are enough on their own. “When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe.” The emotion in this song is loud and clear. It could easily have fit onto one of her previous albums. Absolutely a must-listen.
Bonus tracks with the deluxe version
The deluxe version of the album comes with three extra tracks. Swift has had a habit in the past of putting some of the album’s best songs as bonuses on the deluxe version (think ‘Ours’ and ‘Superman’ on the ‘Speak Now’ deluxe album), and ‘1989’ is no different. First comes ‘Wonderland’, which is of course inspired by Alice in Wonderland, with references to the “rabbit hole” and “the Cheshire Cat’s smile“. It’s different to anything else on the album but magical to listen to. Next up is “You Are In Love”. It’s a simplistic, personal track which tells the story of Swift and her lover’s feelings for one another. It is definitely not one that should have been reserved for the bonus tracks. Finally, ‘New Romantics’ is one that could easily be released as a single. It’s an anthem that describes not caring about the hate being thrown at her, and enjoying life the way it is. It’s a brilliant final track to round off the album, but it deserves a place on the standard edition due to how empowering it is.
Overall, 1989 is completely different to the sounds of Swift’s previous four albums, but the lyrics are as quotable as ever and most of the songs are very catchy. It’s worth spending an extra few pounds on the deluxe version, as the three added songs are amongst the best the whole album has to offer.
What do you think of Swift’s new sound? Let us know in the comments below!