By Adrian Danganan
On Oct. 27, Taylor Swift released her fifth studio album, “1989.” The album marks Swift’s first pop album, a departure from her widely known affinity for the country-pop genre.
Producers Max Martin and Shellback, who have previously collaborated with Swift on songs such as “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “22,” take the wheel on “1989” and produce more than half of the songs on the album. Other notable producers credited on the album include Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Jack Antonoff of Fun. and Imogen Heap.
Rather than sticking to the electronic dance-pop fusion that many artists are leaning towards today, Swift manages to fuse both modern bubblegum pop with now-retro 80s pop. She shares a pop record that feels nostalgic despite being released only a week ago ” a characteristic only Swift can pull off ever so effortlessly.
Tracks such as “Blank Space,” “Style” and “Out Of The Woods” are accurate examples of this new yet old sound, and prove to be the strongest songs on “1989.”
“Blank Space” pokes fun at her childish ex-counterparts, while providing a melody that can certainly stick inside one’s mind all day.
“Style” presents a sultry sound that is an unexpected move by the pop artist. Despite the classic Swift touch on the lyrics, the track presents a different, sensual sound that she surprisingly pulls off.
As for “Out Of The Woods,” the song merges pop from the 80s and 90s while keeping a fresh feel only Swift can deliver on the track.
Another track that meets Swift’s experimental criteria is the borderline ballad “This Love.” Written by Swift and co-produced with long-time collaborator Nathan Chapman, the single has a chilling sound that captures the sensation of nostalgic adult contemporary music.
“1989” also has some catchy tunes, like tracks “Shake It Off” and “Bad Blood.” The former, being her first single off the album, delivers a compelling message to tune out the “haters” while dancing to “this sick beat,” while the latter introduces a cheerleader pop anthem aimed at the backstabbers of the world that is surely to get an arena full of Swifties singing along.
The most experimental track, “Wildest Dreams,” conveys a dark cinematic sound of a soft, yet heavy bass and hauntingly strong vocals. The track is surely among Swift’s plethora of deep and haunting tracks, something she is no stranger to.
The album ends with the Heap-produced song “Clean.” The track is the perfect finale to what Swift put on the table. If the sentimentality is not enough, Heap’s backing vocals throughout “Clean” will surely provide a chilling effect.
However, a few lackluster tracks are on the album that do not fit in, despite being classic Swift tracks.
“All You Had To Do Was Stay” and “How You Get The Girl,” tracks that feature guitar, are Swift’s weakest on the album due to their out-of-place sound.
The tracks “I Wish You Would” and “I Know Places” prove to be confusing fits on “1989” as well. The former shares the sound Swift aims for, yet lacks the pizzazz as her deeper tracks, The latter presents a confusing mix of eras of pop.
As for the album’s opening track, “Welcome To New York,” the sound provides a strong hint of what is to come, but lacks the effort in lyrics, which Swift is usually spirited in.
It is safe to say that Swift made a daring step with “1989” and nailed it. Her transition to being a solely pop artist was a bold yet expected move. In the long run, the final product is enough to please her loyal since-the-beginning fans, as well as build a new fanbase of those who dig her new experimental sound.
In other words, if classic and new had a baby, “1989” would be the result.
Courtesy Big Machine Records
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