Disclaimer: It should be said that I am not a fan of Taylor Swift’s and I never have been. However, I am a fan of music (which can be said about most people, I assume) and, therefore, I have used as much of an objective stance as possible.
Without further ado, here is the initial track-by-track reaction to Taylor Swift’s fifth release, “1989,” which came out on Monday.
Before I start: Deep breaths. I can’t believe I’m about to do this. Taylor Swift? Really? What does she have to offer me in 2014? I am a twenty-something girlchild who likes to think she wouldn’t resort to calling someone mean in a song if the chance arose. But I must put all preconceived notions aside and get into the zone.
“This is the first Taylor Swift album I’ve listened to in its entirety,” I mutter.
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“And it won’t be your last,” replied Colin Kerrigan, a colleague.
Here goes nothing.
Listen along for yourself; the entire album’s been streaming since last weekend.
“Welcome to New York:” I could get into these synths, but the blatant push of New York tourism (like that city needs any more of it) makes me wonder the song’s intentions.
“Blank Space:” “Got a lonely Starbucks lover,” is a lyric I swore I heard. Alas, turns out diction isn’t one of Swift’s strong suits and the true line in question reads “Got a long list of ex-lovers.”
“Style:” The first 20 seconds of this track might be my favorite on the album. The shallow — possibly skewed? — vision of Swift’s own self (“Red lip classic thing that you like”) can almost be ignored by the time the bridge rolls around. I can’t help but want to yelp “Just take me out!”
“Out of the Woods:” Despite Jack Antonoff’s magic touch, I get lost in the weird description of the nightmarish regurgitation of Swift and ex Harry Styles’ snowmobile accident.
“All You Had To Do Was Stay:” Generic girl longing. Yawn. Random high note on the word “stay.”
“Shake It Off:” The album’s first single and likely the worst song on the record. I’ll make the pun for you: I’m gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.
“I Wish You Would:” This is the point on almost every album where I start to get lost. It’s tough to keep my attention seven tracks into any collection of tunes and this one falls victim to the same curse. “We’re a crooked love in a straight line down.” What does this even mean?
“Bad Blood:” Sort of gives me a new-wave Tegan and Sara vibe. “Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes,” she whimpers. And like that, T. Swift is a doctor.
“Wildest Dreams:” Lana del Rey inspired, for sure. Swift tries to do dreamy and alluring. Almost there. Almost.
“How You Get The Girl:” Another pop-yawner. Possibly a frivolous addition just so the tracklist could get to the star’s coveted track-count of 13.
“This Love:” Stripped down, lauded by Haim, pulls at my heartstrings as much as I hate to admit it. So lovely.
“I Know Places:” Single potential. Probably because it’s boring but catchy as heck.
“Clean:” An impressive collab with Imogen Heap, still featuring some lackluster one-liners: “You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can’t wear anymore.” And who is this 10-month-sober bad boy she’s referencing? I can’t keep up anymore.
Take-aways: Test-tube pop from a chick going through a musical identity crisis. The lyrical edge she may have had in her country days clearly has gone to the wayside when opting for countless repetitions of whatever points she’s trying to make.
“1989” is a clear example of manufactured pop, designed to appeal to adolescent girls — the ones who beg their parents to buy them tickets to massive stadium tours. This might’ve been Swift’s plan given the sudden foray into the genre and desperate pleading to label bigwigs to allow her to make the change. But given that’s its purpose, it succeeds stunningly.