“It’s a new soundtrack I can dance to this beat forevermore,” are the lyrics to “Welcome to New York,” Taylor Swift’s first song on her new, no.1 groundbreaking record, “1989.” The album is in fact, a completely new soundtrack of Swift’s life as she veers from her comfortable country background into new, unfamiliar territory; pop music. A change in which 1.287 million in first week album sales proves to be the best risk Swift has taken thus far in her music career.
Uniquely titled 1989, (the year Swift was born), the pop album pulls influence from 80’s music with hand claps and electronic music beats, most notably in the opening number, “Welcome to New York.” A new, upbeat anthem for New York that had the crowd of Times Square screaming along to Swift’s lyrics while she performed on Good Morning America on Oct. 30th. The song also gives a nod towards New York’s acceptance of marriage equality as Swift sings, “you can want who you want, boys and boys, and girls and girls.” “Welcome to New York” serves as a great opening song as you thrust into Swift’s new world of pop and self-assurance attitude, (she credits moving to New York as helping her grow into her own).
Swift’s newest no.1 hit, “Blank Space” is the next song on “1989” and shows that Swift can play off those rumors about her being a crazy ex-girlfriend while laughing back at the media. As if the lyrics aren’t proof enough about her being “insane,” the music video takes it a step further with her acting as a Jekyll and Hyde character, going from a perfect type-A girlfriend to a psycho who sets her boyfriend’s clothes on fire, drops his phone into a fountain, and slams his car with a golf club. The video is now the most watched on Youtube.com, further proving that Swift is unstoppable in any move she makes.
Defending herself against the media once more is Swift’s other no.1 hit and first single off of the album in which we were introduced to the newly pop singer is “Shake It Off.” Showing off a short haircut, a new attitude and a new song genre, “Shake It Off” was an immediate hit and allowed pop music to welcome Swift with open arms. The song features catchy beat that includes a heavy bass and prominent trumpet use, while Swift croons about shaking off the haters, players and everyone in between that has ever wronged her. She even takes a swipe at the rumor that she goes on too many dates but can’t make the guy stay. Swift is known as being a down to earth, genuine-hearted girl with a great sense of humor and the latter rings true in her lyric-writing for “Shake It Off.”
Unlike previous other records Swift has released, “1989” isn’t so much of a heartbreak record, although there are quite specific nods to her ex-boyfriend and One Direction member, Harry Styles. Aptly titled “Style,” the song goes on to talk about a boyfriend with James Dean-style, long slicked-back hair and a white T-shirt. Any fangirl of either Swift or Styles knows this is an accurate description of the boy band member. Swift goes on to say how their relationship never goes out of style even when the boyfriend was seen out and about with another girl, (Kendall Jenner anyone?).
Another not-so-discreet nod to Styles is “Out of the Woods,” in which Swift recalls a time in December 2012 in which she and a guy were jet-skiing and the guy hit the brakes too fast, landing both of them in the hospital getting stitches. Swift reveals this accident did happen in a Rolling Stones article but refuses to say who the guy was although speculation from said date of the accident leads to the time she was dating Styles. Swift also credits this album as one where the sound of the songs connects to the way she was feeling at the time. This rings true for “Out of the Woods,” as Swift frantically repeats if she and her partner are “out of the woods yet, are we in the clear yet?”
A song that many will presume is about an ex-boyfriend due to the lyric manner is “Bad Blood,” a bass-stomping anthem in which an alto-singing Swift sings about having problems and bad blood with someone who used to be trusted but stabbed her in the back. Although this scenario could be considered one of many from Swift’s ex-boyfriends, she surprisingly wrote this song about a former female friend, but once again refuses to name names. The song shows off Swift’s range as she begins the song in a low, mesmerizing voice and then vocally slams the song and the former friend as she soars over the chorus with long-winded notes while she reveals she “still got scars on my back from your knife.” Of course since Swift won’t release the inspiration behind the song, people are left to speculate which lead most to believe the song is about Katy Perry. Perry allegedly stole some of Swift’s back up dancers out from under her tour and the two also dated the same guy, John Mayer; but really, who hasn’t dated Mayer?
A stand out song on the new album that sounds nothing like Swift has done before, both lyrically and musically is “Wildest Dreams.” The song itself sounds like a daydream as Swift’s vocals seem to just float along with the soothing beat of soft drums, violins, piano, and a surprise tambourine. This song along with “Welcome to New York” are extremely reminiscent to 80’s music but Swift has a way of putting her own spin on it while still keeping the classic love for it alive. Swift sings about a guy who is “handsome as hell…he’s so bad but he does it so well,” in hopes that he’ll remember even if it’s just in his wildest dreams. She even delves into her sensual side, (which is a rare occasion on her wholesome albums), when she sings “his hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room.” Swift shows a whole new side to herself on this song and on “1989” as whole due her new attitude and found self-confidence.
Swift closes out “1989” with a bubbly, daydream-like song called “Clean,” in which she softly sings about how she has rid herself of an ex-lover and the heartbreak that had come with it. She croons that “rain came pouring down when I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe and by morning, gone was any trace of you; I think I am finally clean.” This song shows tremendous growth in Swift both lyrically and musically as she is no longer that teenage girl who wrote broken-hearted albums, but is now a sophisticated woman who has found herself both personally and professionally.