Taylor Swift has done it again. She may enrage or inspire you, but either way the girl knows how to make money, well at least her manager and producers do. The release of her 2014 album “1989” has taken the tweenie world by storm with its catchy beats and as Swift herself ages; her songs are coming of age anthems for young twenty-something’s. Her album is cohesive and full of her signature catchy tunes and comically misheard lyrics – “…long list of ex-lovers” has been quoted as being “…Starbucks lovers”, much to the franchises glee I’m sure.
It all starts with the controversial single “Shake It Off”. Unbelievably catchy and a regular “screw you” to all you Tay Tay haters, which seems to be a recurring theme throughout the rest of the album. Swift faced some angry criticism in regards to her stereotypical depiction of R’n’B back up dancers in her film clip but this controversy seemed to blow over quickly as her album came to release. The song itself has a really great beat and the addition of a strong brass section with trumpets and saxophones will have you up on your feet in no time. It’s infectious, and if you don’t believe me the number of parody videos on YouTube should convince you otherwise
“Out Of The Woods” is a song in true Taylor Swift style. It’s basically a name and shame of her doomed relationship with Harry Styles of 1D fame. It’s a standard ex-boyfriend tell all from Swift and harks of her other broken heart tunes from her last album “Red”, like “All Too Well” which follows her also doomed relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, where he stole her scarf after they split. Its repetitive chorus will be stuck in your head for days but the jury’s still out on whether or not that makes it a good song.
Now “Blank Space” is her next big release on this album, plus the film clip features her adorable cat so what’s not to love. This song is very bass heavy and focuses more on the lyrics than just a memorable beat although in typical Swift style, it delivers on both. Its feminist undertones are really great and I think that young women should be encouraged by her sass. Swift is often demonised by the media for her man-killer tendencies but swift has been quoted in interviews expressing her concerns about this label and highlighting that a guy would not be criticized in the same way. It’s just another example of the ingrained sexism in today’s society and she can bring this all to the front of your mind with humour and a great song. As a side note there is a really great cover by Louisa Wendorff of this song and another track, “Style” and it is true genius! It has the Swift approval too so you can’t feel too guilty for liking it more than the original.
There is a star studded list of accomplished singers and songwriters that have joined up with Swift to produce this album and their influences are clearly spotted amongst the teen angst. Jack Antonoff of FUN fame has strong influences in the track “I Wish You Would” and Ryan Tedder, One Republic’s lead singer, lends his writing skills to the epic “Welcome to New York” and “I Know Places”. Most interestingly, fresh off the release of her new album, “Sparks” (2014), Imogen Heap has also delved her talented hands into the track “Clean” with her soft eclectic sounds and electro-pop style. The diverse range of musicians and writers has really helped pull Swift clear of the country genre and well and truly into the forefront of Pop music.
The rest of the album is full of much of the same, catchy tunes and lyrics that get stuck in your head. Once I’d finished this article I’ve noticed that I have been drawn more to the lyrical content than musical. Swift and her other writers are very good with words and the musical content is almost second to that. She has always been a self proclaimed singer/songwriter. She is a long way from her country beginnings but her lyrical style is still reminiscent of those days and I think that’s where her market will stay for some time to come. She is the kind of artist that you play loudly in the car and sing at the top of your lungs with your friends or by yourself to the horror of on-looking drivers as I have been guilty of doing on occasion. I think she will be one to watch in the future, I’m giving this album a rather biased 7/10. It’s actually a really good, fun album but I’m still unsure if that’s all Swift or whether her collaborators are really lifting her up. The fans keep buying her albums so she’s here to stay and as swift-y says herself the haters gonna hate hate hate!
7 out of 10 pop princesses [Empress Emily]