Album Review: 1989 – Taylor Swift

taylor swift

taylor swiftRating: 4 out of 5

Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989, debuted at #1 on the New Zealand album charts and its release has been hailed as the ‘pop event of the year’.

Named after the year Swift was born and, as she told Rolling Stone, an experimental time in pop music, the title of this album indicates a reinvention combined with a nostalgic wind-back is on the cards.

The sound:

Continuing her sound evolution and exploration, this album marks Swift’s first foray into pure pop – abandoning the country roots that have been evident on all her previous albums.

On 1989, you’ll hear more 80’s-influenced electronic synthpop sounds and drum beats, and ethereal multi-layered vocals. Potential musical influences that come to mind are, interestingly, along the lines of Jefferson Starship, Chaka Khan and early Janet Jackson.

It’s pop, but a more sophisticated, thought through version with the self reflective real life-influenced lyrics we know Taylor Swift for.

The tracks:

The album’s opener Welcome to New York kicks off with a synth backdrop and 80’s snare sound, paving the way for other anthemic wind-back tracks including Out of the Woods, Wonderland, I Wish You Would and New Romantics.

Wildest Dream, This Love and You Are in Love slow it down with Swift taking on an Enya-esque ethereal breathy quality to her vocals.

By now it’s likely you’ve already heard the ridiculously catchy Shake it off, the album’s first single, played on the radio. You’ll get more of this pure pop sound in How You Get the Girl.

The darker I Know Places and The Naked and Famous-esque New Romantics are some of our favourites on the album.

The interesting addition to the Deluxe version of 1989 is three ‘voice memos’ tracks that provide some insight into Swift’s songwriting process where you can hear her singing raw, early versions of some of the album tracks.

The verdict:

Another interesting step in the evolution of Miss Taylor Swift; she continues to show her love of the songwriting craft and it’s obvious just how passionate she is about what she creates as she constantly aims to improve herself and explore new sounds.

1989 is pop perfection and we reckon there are some great songs for summer in here. We do miss Taylor’s country sound a little though…

For more information on Taylor Swift and her album 1989, visit www.taylorswift.com.

Image / Universal Music

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