Taylor Swift - 1989 Album Review
A track-by-track look at Ms. Swift's fifth album
Taylor Swift has described her new 1989 album as "my favorite thing I’ve ever created." As a devoted Swift fan since her first album debuted in 2006, my initial reaction after digesting the deluxe album was definitely nostalgia for good ol' classic Taylor Swift tunes like Tim McGraw, Mary's Song, Fearless, Last Kiss, and the epically detailed All too Well. However, there are still some gems on 1989 that I really like. Since a "Taylor Swift disappointment" is an oxymoron, I really have to applaud Ms. Swift for knowing exactly what she wants to do and working her butt off to deliver. I am sure her true fans will support her finely crafted music, in whichever genre she chooses to align with.
1. Welcome to New York (7/10)
I was a huge fan of the short-lived Carrie Diaries show on CWTV, and this song definitely fits right in the '80s setting of the show. It captures Carrie Bradshaw's (and I guess Taylor's own) wide-eye enchantment and rapture with the city that never sleeps. As a NYC girl for the last 19 years of my life, I enjoy this homage to my hometown for what it is - simple, fun, and catchy. I can't believe Ms. Swift lives in Tribeca-- that's where my high school was! -- but certainly, New York welcomes her too.
"When we first dropped our bags
On apartment floors
Took our broken hearts
Put them in a drawer
Everybody here was someone else before
And you can want who you want
Boys and boys and girls and girls"
2. Blank Space (9/10)
This is a funny song. Part of Swift's mass appeal is her ability to acknowledge her "faults" -- characteristics the media like to pick on her for -- and poke fun at them herself. It may be a preemptive self-defense mechanism, but it works well to show people that Swift is very self-aware, knows she is not perfect, and is totally cool with it. One of my favorites from this album.
"Screaming, crying, perfect storms
I could 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"
3. Style (9/10)
I find it very audacious and clever of Swift to name this song after the last name of a famous ex. While her past albums tend to portray Swift as a victim of bad boy relationships, we find none of that sad wallowing in this song. Style has a very catchy hook-- I was intrigued by the snippet of this song is her Target commercial, and the full thing is a joy to listen to.
"Cause You got that James Dean day dream look in your eye
And I got that red lip classic thing that you like
And when we go crashing down, we come back in every time.
Cause we never go out of style
We never go out of style"
4. Out of the Woods (7/10)
This song definitely has a very Savage Garden-y vibe. It's one about a doomed relationship, a familiar TSwift topic. The song starts rather slowly, but builds up to a catchy bridge. This one will get stuck in your head.
"Last December, we were built to fall apart
Then fall back together
Your necklace hanging from my neck
The night we couldn’t quite forget
When we decided
To move the furniture so we could dance
Baby, like we stood a chance
Two paper airplanes flying, flying…"
5. All You Had to Do Was Stay (6/10)
This song is very different from the fun-tuned Stay Stay Stay from Red. The subject of the song is quite self-explanatory. It's a good song, but I feel that Swift has done this one so many times already, in different versions. I like it, but it's not one I have much to rave about.
"Here you are now
Calling me up
But I don't know what to say
I've been picking up the pieces of the mess you made
People like you always want back the love they pushed aside
But people like me are gone forever
When you say goodbye"
6. Shake It Off (8/10)
Ah, the chart-topping first single of 1989. I really enjoy this song because it's so much fun and a great dancing jam. It reminds me a bit of Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA. Like most people, I have issues with her lines "I stay out too late/Got nothing in my brain/That's what people say, mmm-mmm." Who would ever say that about Taylor Swift??
"I never miss a beat
I'm lightning on my feet
And that's what they don't see, mmm-mmm
that's what they don't see, mmm-mmm"
7. I Wish You Would (7/10)
This song is about Ms. Swift regretting letting go of a love over a fight she doesn't quite even remember. I think most of us has been there -- hanging up on our boyfriend/girlfriend in the heat of the moment, slamming doors and locking them out for those crazy, crazy fights. But we have to remember that those dramatics should be confined to TV shows/movie scenes and left out of real-life relationships. Otherwise, you end up with songs of regret like this one!
"You always knew how unleash my buttons
You give me everything I'm lacking
This mad mad love makes you come running
Stand back where you stood
I wish you would
I wish you would"
8. Bad Blood (5/10)
Rumor says that this song is about Katy Perry trying to sabotage Taylor Swift. I quite enjoyed Ms. Swift's Better than Revenge from 2010's Speak Now album, because the lyrics were funny and back then Ms. Swift was just existing her teens and entering her twenties. However, Bad Blood just doesn't do much for me. I feel it's a little out of character for someone as classy and mature as the Taylor Swift we know today.
"Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes
You say sorry just for show
If you live like that, you live with ghosts
If you love like that, blood runs old"
9. Wildest Dreams (9/10)
I really, really liked Lana del Rey's Born to Die album. Wildest Dreams would've fitted right in for that album, but it's a pleasant surprise on 1989. This song also drops subtle hints of Ms. Swift's romantic life maturing with
"He's so tall, and handsome as hell
He's so bad but he does it so well
And when we've had our very last kiss
But my last request is
Say you'll remember me
Standing in a nice dress, staring at the sunset babe
Red lips and rosy cheeks
Say you'll see me again, even if it's just in your wildest dreams"
10. How You Get the Girl (8/10)
A really cute song. There have been a lot of other Taylor Swift songs lamenting the lost of a good guy over a silly fight. How You Get the Girl is like a play-by-play of how she would've wanted guys to come back and fight for her. It's romance idealized, classic Taylor Swift notions, but I would really love for something like this to come true in real life, because I'm just as much a hopeless romantic as Ms. Swift.
"Remind me how it used to be
With pictures in frames of kisses on cheeks
Tell her how you must have lost your mind
And you left her all alone, and never told her why
And that's how it works.
That's how you lost the girl"
11. This Love (6/10)
This Love reminds me of Treacherous from 2012's Red album. I didn't really love Treacherous and I have to say that I feel the same about this song. I think my problem with this track is that I don't get it. Is it a happy song? A sad song? I can't tell!
"This love is good
This love is bad
This love is a life back from the dead
These hands had to let them go free
And this love came back to me"
12. I Know Places (8/10)
This song got a boost from the deluxe version of the album, where Taylor Swift shares the voice memo created at the beginning stages of creating this track. I feel that understanding a bit of how this song came to be, and being so impressed with Ms. Swift's piano-playing and raw-singing talent made it more enjoyable. (Hint: you should totally purchase the deluxe version of the album!)
"Lights flash on the run for the fences
Let them say what they want, we won't hear it
Loose lips sink ships all the damn time, not this time
Just grab my hand and don't ever drop it
My love, they are the hunters, we are the foxes
And we run"
13. Clean (9/10)
To finish the album, we have a softer track that puts Ms. Swift in a good place, 10 months after a breakup. It's similar to the last song of Red, except Begin Again happens 8 months after her last breakup. There's optimism here that everything is going to be okay, and she is no longer haunted by this past love. A good song to round out and close off Ms. Swift's fifth album in eight years.
"Rain came pouring down when I was drowning
That's when I could finally breathe
And that morning, gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean"