I’m kicking right off with I FUCKING LOVE THIS ALBUM.
Ahem. Diving right into a track-by-track breakdown now, bye!
So we open with some anthemic clapping, and something that sounds like sonic lasers? Welcome to New York is a love song to a city that has been loved through song many many times over. What’s the difference when TayTay sings about New York? The fact that she sings about it like any one of us non-celebs probably would. She’s gloriously welcoming us to The Big Apple as she found it when she moved there. Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you. Instead of talking about dreams being made in NYC, Taylor sits with us and gazes up into the spectacle of it, and says, actually guys, the dream was getting here.
Track 2, Blank Space is automatically my favourite song, and is likely to be a single. It’s easy-to-jam-to drumbeat paired with a supergreat melody makes for true pop gold. The lyrics are simple, incredibly relatable and sort of amazing. The thing I adore about Taylor Swift is that she writes music for people her age that isn’t about getting drunk or being eternally naked with people. Some of my favourite lines from this song:
– Saw you there and I thought: Oh my god, look at that face. You look like my next mistake… Love’s a game, wanna play? New money, suit and tie. I can read you like a magazine.
– Grab your passport and my hand: I can make the bad guys good for a weekend. God you can almost HEAR her wink. I looooove herrrrr.
– ‘Cause you know I love the players, and you love the game.
– Find out what you want, be that girl for a month. Wait, the worst is yet to come: screaming, crying, perfect storms. I can make all the tables turn; rose garden filled with thorns. Keep you second guessing like “Oh my god, who is she?” I get drunk on jealousy, but you’ll come back each time you leave ’cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.
So easily she describes what we all look at ourselves and think when we can’t make a relationship work – clearly there’s something wrong with us. And maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. But that Taylor – who is arguably America’s favourite faultless young adult – can point inwards and claim she’s a nightmare and full of thorns is both shocking and incredibly valuable. She takes her talents that have made her a worldwide music sensation, and she uses them to reassure us that she experiences life just like the rest of us. Society seems to value celebrity over almost everything, we see celebs as flawless and ourselves as polar opposites – entirely flawed and incapable of being worthy. What I love about Taylor is how human she seems, and how down to earth and connected she seems to those of us outside the celebrity bubble that she actually does live in. Yes, she has fame, talent and success, but she also can’t keep a boyfriend to save her life, and it’s important that we as “outsiders” know that celebrities actually don’t have it all.
Style gets me grooving straightaway, and this is instantly a driving classic. I see it being on a late-night-drives playlist, and suddenly wish 1989 was released before my recent 11-day roadtrip. Miss Swift tells me about some babe with James Dean eyes and slicked back hair and this just feels like a perfect summer slow-jam to score a rom-com I want to write. I don’t think this song will ever go out of style either, TS.
I heard Out of the Woods a couple of days before the album hit, and immediately thought it would be the grower of the album. You know, that one you think has something, but you’re not sure what and you know will be stuck in your head for days? This is that song. The chorus is incredibly repetitive but in that kind of smooth way I can dig. We were built to fall apart… And fall back together is one of my favourite lines of the song, and potentially the album, aside from the adorable imagery of moving furniture just to be able to dance in the living room.
In what appears to be Twitter’s favourite song on 1989, All You Had To Do Was Stay is much like Out of The Woods in that this grew on me the more I listened to it. At first I really didn’t get behind the super high notes in the chorus, and I thought the lyrics were kind of average. But this is now up there in the Top 5, because instead of acquiescing to this ex’s desire to get back together, Taylor stands the fuck up and says “well look, no thanks, enjoy missing me instead.” My favourite:
People like you always want back the love they pushed aside. People like me are gone forever when you say goodbye. Hey, all you had to do was stay. Had me in the palm of your hand, why’d you have to go and lock me out when I let you in? Hey, now you say you want it back, now that it’s just too late. Well, could have been easy: all you had to do was stay.
Shake It Off doesn’t need more than this: It’s essentially one of the best pop songs I’ve heard in ten years, and I unashamedly adore it. Shake It Off gives me good feels in my musicheart and all I want to do when I hear it is dance, sing and spread the joy I feel.
For reals guys. This song does everything a pop song should, and if you don’t like this song based on its actual merits (as opposed to how many times you’ve heard it on the radio) then you really should unsubscribe to my friendship..? As Magic Mike once shouted, JESUS CHRIST I DON’T LIKE FUN. This is what I assume you shout if you don’t like this song.
The only downfall of Shake It Off is the awkward talking bridge. I could definitely live without it. But then every single other element of this song makes up for it..? Now, I just parody the shit out of the bridge when it comes on and laugh because it’s stupid and fun.
Another car song kicks off, and again, I think that this charged beat and guitar is perfect for my road tripping purposes. I Wish You Would also features my absolute favourite line in breakup music history: I wish we could go back, and remember what we were fighting for and I wish you knew that I miss you too much to be mad anymore. Simple, but god it cuts right into me. Not a banger of a song but a solid pop tune nonetheless.
For some reason my playlist has gone rogue on the next two songs and swapped titles, so for a long time I thought Wildest Dreams was Bad Blood, which was strange when I actually heard Bad Blood In any case, Bad Blood kicks into anthemic action and instantly I’m reeled back into life at the mid-way point of the album. This song is definitely a tour-crowd pleaser, and the bitter breakup song I thought I’d hear more varieties of on this record (bandaids don’t fix bulletholes). Taylor’s vocals on this track are strong and at times surprisingly so, especially in the prechoruses. #girlpower
How You Get The Girl is kind of forgettable, to the point I feel like I haven’t heard this track at all every time I listen to it. It isn’t bad, just very done – the track you could have on in the background while you do other things. I do love the 90s backing beats though!
Wildest Dreams is this kind of sultry jam that I can’t actually believe is on a Taylor Swift album. But then she uses phrases like standing a nice dress, staring at the sunset and say you’ll see me again even if it’s just pretend and I long for the maturer, sexy side of Taylor again, like I just heard two second before: He’s so bad but he does it so well and You’ll see me in hindsight, tangled up with you all night, burning it down. She purrs. PURRS FOR CHRISSAKES.
Another forgettable track called This Love starts slow and kind of reminds me of Let Go by Frou Frou. Which is great because I fucking adore that song, but this one never reaches the same pinnacle of truthbomb or vocal glory as Frou Frou’s Imogen Heap. Lyrically I’m bored, melodically so as well.
Thank god for I Know Places. At three-quarters through the album, this is exactly the tonic I need to fall back in love with 1989. Though the chorus doesn’t strike me, the verses and prechoruses kick me in the guts and I really dig the risks Taylor takes with that note. The story is obviously a reference to paparazzi invading her space and reassuring her lover she knows places to hide. Boring content but her delivery is back to poptasticness and I love it.
Nearing the end of 1989, Taylor continues with her mid-tempo breakup songs which honestly is getting a little boring, BUT Clean is a testament to moving on, and definitely a song Taylor fans needed to hear her sing.
I like the reference to Alice in Wonderland as a metaphor for a relationship. I also freaking love the melody and backing synths on this track. Really fun, and some great lines. My pick: Life was never worse, but never better in wonderland.
You Are In Love is a nice way to round out and wind down 1989, but it’s absolutely a b-side, and not the banger needed to end this beacon of pop glory. I really hope I have another song to come, but then the adorable as fuck chorus hits and repeats, and I get it:
You can hear it in the silence,
You can feel it on the way home,
You can see it with the lights out,
You were in love, true love.
Validating our existence in spite of the relationship failing too? Dang TayTay, you’re covering all bases with this record huh!
Finally, New Romantics embodies the 80s vibe Taylor has stated she was hoping to achieve. It’s the banger I was looking for. I don’t love it but it’s super fun, and something I will never know all the lyrics to – it’s the beat I dig on this tune. It’s an excellent way to wrap up 1989, and exactly where Tay fans need to know we leave our pop princess after the string of heartache songs: the best people in life are free.