If you haven’t heard about Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, yet, you have probably been living under a rock. Like seriously. This is set to be the biggest album of the year, AND Taylor has been marketing it like crazy, between her 1989 Secret Sessions, the Meet and Greet Giveaways, and all the song lyric teasers on her Instagram account… not to mention the few songs that came out ahead of the album – “Shake It Off”, “Out of the Woods” and “Welcome to New York”. In a world where Beyonce just drops a secret album, or U2 sneaks their new album onto everyone’s iphones, Taylor Swift still works hard promoting her music and herself. I respect this a lot, because though it adds to the hysteria surrounding her music, Taylor puts in the effort to meet fans and to give them those personal glimpses inside her life, just as her music has always done.
Most of us here at My Fangirl Life are big TSwift fans, so naturally we’ve already been listening to the entire album on repeat for a couple days. This will probably continue for months… or at least until the new 1D album drops. Three of us – Kris, Justine, and myself – got together to discuss our opinions on each song on 1989. I’ve done my best to review the album including all of our opinions, though I’m sure this will have a personal slant.
Keep on reading for part 1 of this series!
Track 1 – Welcome to New York
This extremely catchy anthem is the perfect way to introduce Taylor’s new sound. She is moving forward to express herself in the way she wants, and this song is full of references to beats, soundtracks, and sounds. The switch from country to pop has been much discussed (and disapproved by some in the country community), but I’ve always thought that artists should be able to make whatever kind of music they like – why do they have to fit in a box with their identity? It’s like in Divergent, when everyone has to be slotted into one category and can only be one thing – brave, peaceful, selfless, intelligent, or honest. Isn’t it better to be more things? I mean, I guess not everyone can handle the diversity involved, but Taylor most certainly can. Besides, no matter what type of music Taylor Swift is singing, her songs always sound exactly, irrevocably like Taylor Swift.
The three of us agreed that this song is definitely catchy, and we like the idea of it as the opener from the album, but it is not quite as relatable as most Taylor Swift songs tend to be. “Welcome to New York” is a pretty specific statement, which means it is hard to relate back to our everyday lives. But I think this track is personally very significant for Taylor. She’s announcing the fact that she’s moving forward from the Nashville roots of her music and she is unapologetic about it.
Track 2 – Blank Space
The very first time I heard this song, I was hooked. When the three of us discussed it, KP and Justine were on the same page. “Blank Space” is so lyrically complex, so clever, and so incredibly awesome. There are way too many wonderful and quotable lines from this song.
The message here is representative of Taylor’s journey of self-discovery. I love the fact that she is saying that relationships are either forever or they fall apart but she’s still willing to try – “I’ve got a blank space baby, and I’ll write your name”. This is a central theme throughout much of the album. I also really enjoy that much of this track is basically saying “I’ll find out what you want and be that for awhile but I’m warning you, I’m actually a crazy person. Who knows, though, it might be worth it”. Taylor knows herself well now and is willing to own it – this is much like the typical journey that anyone goes through in their early twenties, and she writes about these things so vividly and honestly. That is what makes her music speak to people.
Track 3 – Style
Only Taylor Swift would write a song about Harry Styles and call it “Style” and make it literally about style. She is just so damn clever. And this song is the perfect way to describe Taylor and Harry.
“Style” is a great example of how this album is overwhelmingly mature for Taylor. Look at the way the media has portrayed her relationship with Harry. But in this song, she is very classy and real about it. They are drawn to each other, but she knows she should walk away. Despite this, there’s something right about it. This song isn’t an idealized love song, but it’s about attraction and something that just feels like it fits.
Track 4 – Out of the Woods
When this song dropped the other week, I downloaded it immediately and listened to it on repeat for at least an hour while laying in bed. KP and Justine both felt as strongly about this song as well – we are all still obsessed with it despite having listened to it non-stop for days at a time, and despite the rest of the album being released. This song is genius.
From the first notes, to the vivid lyrics, to the breathless, panicked chorus, this song musically embodies the emotions in this situation perfectly. The beat in the background is almost like a heartbeat. The pace is frantic, much like Swift would have felt during this relationship (also with Harry Styles), in which she never really knew where they stood. I love the fact that in the later part of the song, Taylor admits that she was worried about things that weren’t real problems – “the monsters turned out to be just trees”. This is again an example of the mature outlook she is taking in regards to relationships throughout this album. She isn’t just crucifying the guys she’s dated, she’s admitting that she might have been wrong too.
Part 2 of this album review will be released tomorrow! Come on back to check it out…