Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ shakes off her connection to the country genre


Photo from Taylor Swift’s official site. Used with permission under fair use.

I remember when I was 11, in my room singing along to Taylor Swift’s “Teardrops On My Guitar,” thinking there was no way she could ever not be a country artist. Not only was 11-year-old me wrong, but Taylor Swift is absolutely capable of producing a completely pop album that is not only fresh, but is still undeniably Taylor Swift.

1989, Swift’s newest album, came out Oct. 27, selling more than one million copies its first week, and for good reason.

The 50-minute album begins with “Welcome to New York,” which has an interesting beat at the beginning, very reminiscent of the ‘80s techno beats. With lyrics like “The lights are so bright / but they never blind me,” this song is one to get you pumped for your day, whether or not you actually live in New York.

“Blank Space” has a different beat, and is a prime example of Swift trying to break the stereotype that she is strictly a country singer. “So hey, let’s be friends / I’m dying to see how this one ends / grab your passport and my hand / I can make the bad guys good for a weekend.”

One of the songs with a slower beat that hints a darker theme about losing someone is “Out of the Woods.” Swift’s vocals are breathier, more intimate, more raw in this song, despite the repetitive chorus.

“All You Had To Do Was Stay” is a personal favorite. Swift does again what she has always been the queen of: writing songs that you feel were ripped directly from your diary. The beat is more upbeat than you would think from just reading the name of the song. I found myself mouthing along even after I had only heard half of the song.

“Shake it Off,” is the first released and is popular from its radio playing time. This is the one song that makes clear Swift has moved on from (or at least put on hold) her country side. It’s a song you will inevitably find yourself dancing to, even if you have absolutely no idea how to dance, let alone know how to sing.

Some of the subpar songs on 1989 are “I Wish You Would,” “Style,” “How You Get The Girl,” and “Clean.” Not to say these songs aren’t executed well, I just feel they’re missing something. They are the slower songs, and I’m more a fan of more upbeat songs from Swift.

Perfect for every situation in which you are mad at someone for is “Bad Blood.” Swift sings, “Did you have to hit me / Where I’m weak / baby I couldn’t breath / it’s so sad to think about the good times” and sums up perfectly everything you’re thinking about your ex or your old friend.

Things start off slower in “Wildest Dreams.” Swift’s voice hits both the lowest and the highest notes. It sounds like “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey, with lyrics like, “My last request is / say you’ll remember me / standing in a nice dress / staring at the sunset babe / red lips and rosy cheeks.”

Another slow song is “This Love.” Swift uses her vocals to sing lower and slower. It’s a song you associate with staring up at the stars, wishing you weren’t too scared to tell that special person how you feel. “This love is good, this love is bad, this love is alive back from the dead.”

I love “I Know Places” for a reason I almost can’t adequately describe. Her voice hits different combinations she doesn’t usually produce. “They are the hunters /  we are the foxes” There’s a breathier tone to this song, and the chorus is like a different song entirely compared to the rest of it.

While her album is not without its weaker songs, 1989 still has incredibly thoughtful songs and she definitely deserves a listen if you’re not sure about her change to pop from country. Her album is a solid one with sure-to-be-huge-hits within it. You can buy “1989” online or in stores, like Target.