a simple guide: 1989

Taylor Swift 1989Review Praise: Taylor Swift’s 1989

By Amanda Maenner

1989, released October 27th, is undoubtedly pop, yet undeniably Taylor Swift. Composed of 13* electro-pop tracks, Swift ditches her guitar and twang for synths, chanting choruses, and an 80’s vibe. Many were shocked by this “official declaration of pop,” but this shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. Ever since 2008’s Fearless (remember ‘Love Story’?), Swift has been tiptoeing away from the country stage. And her fans are OK with this, because even with a completely new sound, Swift maintains her sense of self through her song writing.

Swift has grown up, and so have her lyrics. Romantic, darker and more provocative, they still manage to tell a story that articulates the feelings and experiences of so many of her listeners:


In true T. Swift form, she also includes some (much more subtle) references to ex-lovers. This album is starring the one and only Harry Styles (see “Out of the Woods” and “Style”).

While Swift is classifying herself as “pop,” this album is anything but mainstream. This sound hasn’t been done before, and her lyrics stay clean from easy pop culture references that so many artists fall prey to (i.e. Beyoncé singing about Monica Lewinsky, Drake rapping “Yolo,” Miley belting about twerking). As noted in the glowing New York Times review, “Her idea of pop music harks back to a period — the mid-1980s — when pop was less overtly hybrid. That choice allows her to stake out popular turf without having to keep up with the latest microtrends, and without being accused of cultural appropriation.”

So, hop to it people! If you haven’t given this album a listen yet, go do so now. It will make your cube a little brighter and that traffic a little sweeter. And, for the true fans out there, go buy the deluxe edition of the album at Target so you can get the three bonus tracks, three song-writing voice memos, and a collection of T. Swift exclusive Polaroid’s.

Swift Notes
  1. Welcome to New York – a perfect intro and way to pay homage to her new city, could be in the opening credits of an MK & A movie
  2. Blank Space – this one grows on you, a discussion of the perception of her as an insane, serial dater
  3. Style – definitely about Harry Styles
  4. Out of the Woods – also about Harry Styles (references to his paper airplane necklace and the couple’s alleged snowmobile crash)
  5. All You Had To Do Was Stay – definite contender for my favorite track on the album, representative of her new sound
  6. Shake It Off – so fun, the single that launched it all, enough said
  7. I Wish You Would – a shout out to the stalker guy who lurks outside her window
  8. Bad Blood – fun, chanty pop song that is apparently dissing Katy Perry
  9. Wildest Dreams – a Lana del Ray-esque sound with scandalous lyrics
  10. How You Get the Girl – so cute, should be in a Maybelline commercial
  11. This Love – a small throwback to older T. Swift with some acoustic guitar
  12. I Know Places – “They are the hunters / we are the foxes” seems like a song about the paparazzi, critics and overall haters
  13. Clean – a song that washes away all of the pain of her past relationships; loved the collaboration with Imogen Heap; perfect closure to this album

xxxo, Amanda

*For all you fans out there, 13 is Taylor’s favorite number and also her day of birth (December 13th, 1989)