A Track By Track Review Of 1989

Taylor Swift’s newest album 1989, which was released on October 27th, is basically perfect. With Swift’s track record for awesome records this isn’t really a surprise, but when the New York Times called 1989 “expertly constructed,” it kind of confirmed the greatness of the album. On top of both critical and fan acclaim, Swift sold more copies of her album in the first week than any artist since 2002 and became the first platinum artist of 2014. Needless to say people LOVE this album (and you should too!) Check out our track-by-track review below!

“Welcome to New York”The energetic opening track points to how Swift used New York, instead of her adopted home of Nashville, as her inspiration behind many of the songs on the album. The line “everybody here was someone else before” speaks generally as New York is thought of as a melting pot for people of all races, religions, and beliefs; but, more specific to Swift, it is her acknowledgement that she has changed. That this city, her new friends, and her new experiences have all changed her and that she is no longer the same girl who released her self titled debut album in 2006.

“Blank Space”This is easily one of the top tracks on the album. Swift continues her confidence that she has demonstrated on past albums and takes her sass to a whole new level (I mean she literally says “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”) The most shocking, and definitely the best part of the song comes with the lyric “Gotta long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane,” which Swift sings matter of factly and unapologetically to one of her catchiest beats to date. That lyric speaks to Swift’s acceptance of and indifference to her reputation as a serial dater. It’s just SO good.“Style”This is best song on the album. No contest. It’s a song that is ~supposedly~ about Harry Styles and it’s called “Style” and puns are awesome. Swift sings “You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye” and “You got that long hair slicked back white t-shirt;” how could that not be about Harry Styles?! The song has a beat that you simply can’t help but sing along to and the sass level is all the way turned up, too. Swift is right. They, along with this song, will never go out of style.

“Out Of The Woods”This track was released ahead of the album and it is just ok. The imagery and lyrics, apart from the chorus, showcase Swift’s writing ability that is a dead give away of her country roots. The track is the only one on the album where, like many pop songs today, it gets a little annoying. The beat and the over all feeling of the song makes up for the repetition and simplicity of the chorus.“All You Had To Do Was Stay”This song has the desperation of “You Belong With Me” by just asking him the boy to stay with her. It’s not mean and it’s not dramatic, two things that are rare for Swift, and, yet, it still feels sad, angry, and pleading all with a fairly up beat pop tone.“Shake It Off”This track was the first released off of the album. It is Swift taking on everything that has been said about her, and the people who have said it, and shaking it off. She demonstrates her growth as both an artist and a person by being able to create a song that says, This is what you think? Well I don’t care. Hey, “haters gonna hate hate hate,” what’s Swift supposed to do about that?

“I Wish You Would”This song is one of the few where Swift admits wrongdoing on her part. She says that they both made mistakes in the relationships, but that she misses him. One of the best lines is “I wish you knew that I miss you too much to be mad anymore.” The line demonstrates Swift’s growth as a person. She isn’t the same girl who sang “Forever and Always” to a young Joe Jonas for his break up with her over the phone; this is adult Taylor Swift. The Taylor Swift that knows that a relationship ending is hardly ever just one person’s fault (“Dear John” about John Mayer is the exception to this rule, obviously.)“Bad Blood”This is 1989’s version of “Mean.” Apparently directed at Katy Perry in response to her alleged stealing of Swift’s dancers on tour, the song does not hold back. The imagery and lyrics, like in “Out Of The Woods,” show that Swift has not left all her country roots in the past. One example of this is the lyric “Still got scars on my back from your knife.” Perry stabbed Swift in the back and Swift wants to make their bad blood abundantly clear, and she succeeds.

“Wildest Dreams”This song is different than all of the others on the album. Swift’s voice is airy, high, and desperate. It is unlike anything she has done before and it works because the lyrics match the tone. It further proves that the new adult Swift is anything but shy or timid; “He’s so tall and handsome as hell. He’s so bad, but he does it so well” is one lyric that speaks to this fact.“How You Get The Girl”This is the one song on the album that feels impersonal. It could have been sung by anyone and have the same effect. This is not to say that it isn’t good. It has a beat that is somewhere between that of “Love Story” and “Speak Now” and has some big notes that Swift belts out expertly. But, on an album that is as personal and real as this one, this song seems like a filler.“This Love”Any song that has the same title as a Maroon 5 song is a good one (according to me at least). The first true ballad of the album it lets Swift’s soft voice and writing abilities shine on their own without a fancy beat in the background. “Silence screams” and “losing grip from sinking ships” and “this love is glowing in the dark” are examples of the truly brilliant writing within the song.

“I Know Places”A bit repetitive like “Out Of The Woods,” this song uses hunters and foxes as a metaphor for getting away with ones lover. This is perhaps the most vocally challenging song for Swift and she performs it so well that the use of an overused metaphor is acceptable.“Clean”The album closes with this jingling and hopeful track. Like “I Know Places” the song uses the overused metaphor of rain cleansing the soul, but unlike the previous track, it works this time. This song is perhaps Swift’s way of saying that she has purged all of the negativity in her life, has shaken it off, and it has made her better. “I think I am finally clean” is the lyric that closes the album and does so simply and perfectly.