Sunday, 26 October 2014

Taylor Swift '1989' Deluxe Edition Album Review

Following Taylor Swift's two year album release schedule, '1989' drops right on time and came with an announcement that this would be her first pop album in August's Yahoo World Stream and premiere of chart topping lead single 'Shake It Off'.

Whilst many have criticised Swift for 'selling out' and blending into mainstream pop, the album has received mainly positive reviews with regards to Swift's honest transformation and the record justifies it.

1. Welcome To New York 4/5
A keyboard heavy track that literally sounds like what Time Square would feel like- though I've never been, I can visualise the colours, sounds and atmosphere of this vibrant centre. The production is slightly heavy and feels overdone for a T Swift tune, but kind of works for this track. 

2. Blank Space 5/5
The second track on '1989' carries a air of Swift's past songwriting and early era country sounds in a modern pop way. Lyrically brilliant is "I've got a blank space baby *click* and I'll write your name", reminiscent of demo 'Permanent Marker'.


3. Style 4/5
The late 80s early 90s intro and verse blends into a contemporary pop chorus that is viciously catchy if slightly disjointed. Nonetheless, the track about her relationship with Harry Styles (one of the most talked about and anticipated tracks) makes a strong impact on the record.


4. Out of the Woods 5/5
Promo song 'Out of the Woods' however, is the anthemic answer to 'Shake it Off's all too radio friendly pop sound. Though the catchiness persists, the personal Swiftopian lyrics put a familiar stamp on the track.

It's not the first time Swift has done pop. Time and time again her so called 'country' albums are infested with catchy pop tracks. More than likely her country roots will permeate in some way in this album. What I've learnt through the years is that what makes Taylor Swift so lovable is not which genre or sound she claims to be but the lyrics within each track and so ultimately, whatever she dabbles in, is Swift.


5. All You Had to do was Stay 4.5/5
The catchiness does not end with track 5's 'All You Had to do was Stay', that launches straight into an explosive and beaty chorus.

6. Shake It Off 4/5
Much like 'Red's lead single 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together', 'Shake It Off' is a full on catchy track that parasitically fuses with your brain. Reportly playing on radio every 18 minutes, the song has instantly topped the US Billboard charts as well as iTunes. 

Whilst this song performed flawlessly commercially, the track almost lacks the beloved Swift personal touch. The generic lyrics could have been written for any solo female artist and thankfully this does not accurately represent the album overall, though is the clear stand out in the album as the catchiest song Swift has ever made.

7. I Wish You Would 5/5
With a dub beat that runs through the track, the HAIM-like chorus gives this track it's own identity. Musically unique and exciting, the words are unfortunately somewhat lost amongst the production.

8. Bad Blood 3.5/5
Trying to be angsty, 'Bad Blood' is more fitting for 'Avril Lavigne' than our very own Swift. Lyrically quite smart ('bandaids dont fix bullet holes' etc), the transition to music doesn't work for me. Part anthem, part angst, with a ballad bridge- the whole song is all over the place- a patch work genres glossed over with production from Max Martin. I'd love to hear an acoustic version of this.


9. Wildest Dreams 4/5
'Wildest Dreams' is the first break from the loud explosive choruses from the previous eight tracks that firmly cement Swift's new album into pop territory. Track 9 is an obvious infusion of Lana Del Rey, which Swift surprisingly manages to take control of musically. 


10. How You Get The Girl 3.5/5
Over produced, 'How You Get The Girl''s chorus has a very similar tune and structure to 'Style'- this track is probably the one that will be forgotten amongst the rest. I'd love for this to be stripped back completely with just guitar.

11. This Love 3.5/5
The softest track on the record, 'This Love' is like the 'Last Kiss' of 'Speak Now' and for once, the right amount of production elevates this track. It's easy to listen to and ethereal, but again, could be forgotten at this point in the album.

12. I Know Places 4.5/5
The penultimate track to the album brings Swift's new definitive pop sound back in a darker way, with beautifully written lyrics "I know places we won't be found... they'll be chasing their tails trying to track us down...  I know places we can hide..." Really hope this becomes a single- I can see a stunning video.

13. Clean 4/5
Closing track 'Clean' lyrically and musically marks Swift's moving on from break ups, bad press, gossip and rivals. 

14. Wonderland 4.5/5
Angsty track 'Wonderland' has great lyrics but it's as if Rihanna has trashed this perfect musical tea party. 

15. You Are in Love 4/5
An ode to love and relationships. 

16. New Romantics 4/5
A dark goth sound sweeps the track, with Paramore-esque lyrics and disco beat. 

17. I Know Places (Voice Memo)
18. I Wish You Would (Voice Memo)
19. Blank Space (Voice Memo)

The voice memos are really interesting additions to the album as raw beginnings to the tracks and it feels like there should be whole bonus disc or DVD for this process for the whole album as it's just so interesting, but as bonus tracks, I think I still prefer acoustic versions :P

SONGS TO LOVE: Out of The Woods, Blank Spaced, All You Had to Stay, I Wish You Would, I Know Places
SONGS TO SKIP: None, but 'Bad Blood' and 'How You Get the Girl' are lacklustre.

~~~OVERALL 4/5~~~
Taylor Swift's '1989' might not be Swift's most consistent album in terms of sound, but is definitely her most progressive, exploring a range of musical themes and ideas. 

Working with Tedder and Max Martin for the album, '1989' features a plethora of potential hits, such as 'Blank Spaced', 'Style' and 'I Know Places', perhaps in an effort to repeat the success of 'Red''s 'I Knew You Were Trouble'. Unfortunately, the inevitable overproduction from these two producers overpower the carefully written lyrics in quite a few instances.

'1989' shows Swift exploring music territory that inspires her and has created a strong and diverse album, proving her musical ability to adapt and transform, that she cannot be put in a box and churn out the same stuff over and over. Only time will tell where Swift ventures next, but be assured, she'll be working her butt off striving to top this one.


  1. It was an amazing album. I just enjoyed it..

  2. I save the cover 1989 album photo from this site. thank you


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