Taylor Swift: ‘1989’

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With the pull of her Spotify catalog, an enticing sweepstakes, and the projected first platinum album of 2014, it’s no surprise that Taylor Swift’s new record, 1989, has been the center of Internet controversy for weeks.

As it is Swift’s fifth studio album and first “fully pop” record, fans are more pumped than ever to see what the singer-songwriter has created. The album was made with the help of 12 producers, including Swift herself, and has greatly surpassed its predicted sales of 750K copies (600K were sold on the first day alone).

The album, which includes hit singles like “Shake It Off”, “Out of The Woods,” and “Welcome to New York”, emulates a mature, pop queen version of Swift that hasn’t been directly seen on her previous albums.

While 1989 is Swift’s first self-proclaimed “pure pop” venture, it’s obvious that this album is the final stage of her metamorphosis away from country, into the genre in which her voice truly belongs.

The album includes a standard 13-tracks, while the deluxe edition contains three additional tracks and three voice memos explaining Swift’s songwriting techniques.

The genre is a perfect fit for Swift’s voice, but it seems as though her songwriting abilities have taken the back burner in exchange for her pop sensibilities. Even though each song has an apparent 80’s pop theme pulled from influences such as Madonna and Annie Lennox, the wording seems to fall somewhere between catchy and force-fed repetitiveness, as heard in “Bad Blood” and “Out Of The Woods.”

However, Swift captivates her fans purely through her matured vocals. This album makes one thing very apparent: Taylor Swift is a talented and powerful young woman.

Something else that is clear from 1989? Swift clearly knows how to rule a market, arguably better than any other artist has done in a long time.

Swift establishes herself as a person and as a voice with this LP, with the help of producers Jack Antonoff of Fun., Imogen Heap, and significant others.

The highlights of the album are well-defined, including first hit single, “Shake It Off,” “All You Had To Do Was Stay,” and the typical T-Swift ex-boyfriend ballad, “Style” (reportedly written about ex-boyfriend Harry Styles).

However, one part missing from the new release for long-time Swift fans may be her softer, previously acoustic heartbreak anthems. While “Clean” and “This Love” might be slow, “Wildest Dreams” is the only relatable song of the album that resembles Swift’s pop-country footsteps.

After the first 16 songs, the rawest part of the album is revealed: the voice memos. Although deluxe versions are typically only buys for die-hard fans, the last three tracks perfectly close what Swift considers the album she’s “most proud of” and are a must-hear for a multitude of fans.

The voice memos, which are titled after tracks “I Know Places,” “I Wish You Would,” and “Blank Space,” give meaningful insight into Swift as an artist and songwriter. Swift explains the various ways she writes and how the melodies and production come together. In addition to getting personal tips from the superstar, this is a chance for the fans to hear Swift’s unaltered voice in the initial stages of a song.

Overall, Swift’s shift in genre has resulted in one of the most hyped albums in recent memory. Based on record sales alone, this may be her greatest album and career move yet. Regardless of the lyrical superficiality, 1989 is an upbeat album that is definitely worth a listen – and there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself singing along.

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