After playing only three songs on “1989” it was obvious that Taylor Swift is in the process of reinventing herself. If you have been a long time listener of Taylor Swift, then you too have witnessed her coming of age through music. Her latest album, “1989” is named after her birth year and she has described it as the first album that is truly hers. After recently relocating to New York, Swift had a major life change. In fact the first song on the album (“Welcome to New York”) is her statement to the world introducing her new sound. It is a 2014 take on the popular genre of songs about New York, vamped up for the all the hipsters and dreamers moving to the Big Apple.
Her last album, 2012’s “Red,” was a cross between country and pop, but since its release she has made a public statement describing her next move into becoming a full time popstar. For “1989” she has even hired new producers, including Shellback and Max Martin, who have helped artists like Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson and other pop stars.
The album goes relies on layered music rather than just her tear stained acoustic guitar, making it obvious that “1989” was much more heavily produced than any of the last. You will not find any songs like “Back to December” or “Stay Stay Stay” and that was done on purpose. “Style” (which is rumored to be about Harry Styles, like many other songs) is a great example of her new sound: blending pop beats with her studio backed voice, Swift is quickly emerging from the country scene to the pop scene. “Clean” was produced and backed up by English singer Imogen Heap, who provided some of the background melodies for the song. Each song on the album is a sound you have never heard from Swift before, which makes it exciting to play.
However, new sound or not, there is no mistaking that this is undoubtedly Swift. Much of the album’s lyrical content is still relationship-based, with dreamy melodies describing dates and heart-fluttering moments.
I bought the Deluxe album, which has three bonus tracks and three voice memos. The three voice memos are a great bonus for musicians — they feature Swift talking about her songwriting process. They contain very rough drafts of her featured songs alongside commentary on how she got to the final song. The Deluxe album is only available at Target.
“1989” is a fun album from Swift, especially for those who have followed her music. I would recommend listening to “Clean,” “Style,” “Blank Space” and “Welcome to New York” to get a feel for her new sound — anything but “Shake it Off,” which you have probably heard about one thousand times already.