Taylor Swift takes on pop with “1989”

Taylor Swift takes on pop with 1989

Ninotchka Valdez

Taylor Swift’s place in country music has been held in question for a while, but since the release of her latest album “1989,” one thing is clear: Taylor Swift has gone pop. The album opens with an upbeat song titled “Welcome to New York” that references Swift’s move to the city. What better way to demonstrate change than a change of pace. Swift’s description of the city is bright-eyed and optimistic, not unlike the rest of the album.

Past albums have made Taylor Swift known for songs about heartbreak, but her take on relationships in “1989” is a lot more hopeful. In the song “Wildest Dreams,” she seems to assure whoever the song was about that she knew the relationship was bound to end, but that she’s completely content so long as he remembers her. What sets “1989” apart from her other albums however, is that Swift addresses how the public views her in a way that almost gives listeners the image of her rolling her eyes. In “Blank Space,” she sings the lyrics “they’ll tell you I’m insane” with a taunting and sarcastic tone, and her song “Shake It Off” is centered around her being able to ‘shake off’ the critics. The album ends on a buoyant note with “Clean” which in itself is like a breath of fresh air as Swift describes a breakup as cathartic, instead of melancholic.

The album is accompanied by a set of polaroids of Swift over the year, along with lyrics in a handwritten font as the caption. It’s a fun take on ‘trading cards’ and the pictures encompass Swift’s playfulness and help her maintain an ‘ordinary girl’ persona. The polaroids give the album a personal feeling, and it’s another way Swift can connect to her fans.

While most of the songs are catchy, the ballads take a little more time to become accustomed to. “This Love” is significantly slower from the song prior and the lyrics on their own read a bit cheesy, however Swift maintains consistency with echoes that make the vocals sound haunting. What seems the most out of place is surprisingly “Shake It Off” which was the first single released. It makes a statement, that’s for sure, but lyrically it doesn’t hold up as well compared to the rest of the album with lyrics like “the haters gonna hate hate hate” and “hella good hair.” The beat is fun to dance to and it helps Swift stay current, but it’s definitely not the standout song of the album.

“1989” is a huge step forward for Swift. She’s no longer as heedless as she used to be, but she’s staying grounded. Now, she’s taking on a bigger city and a more competitive genre of music, but she’s doing it with determination and her own spin. It’s a fresh, but timeless take on pop music and it only goes to show how versatile Swift is. After giving the album a listen, it’s not surprising that it rose to the top of the charts so quickly and sold over a million copies in one week.