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29th October 2014

Album: Taylor Swift – 1989

Taylor Swift turns to the 80s for inspiration on her fifth outing
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TLDR

Released October 27th 2014

Big Machine Records

6/10

Taylor Swift is back with 1989 and it’s big, bold and bollocks. Now I have your attention it’s actually not that bad, but the multi-Grammy award winner has hardly reinvented the wheel, producing an album of solid, if uninspiring, tracks.

The album opens with ‘Welcome to New York’ which would suit the soundtrack to the movie Drive but clearly lacks the mystique or cool of Ryan Gosling. Swift does however declare “Welcome to New York / It’s been waiting for you,” clearly a reference to the state’s falling unemployment rate (down to 6.4%). It’s nice to see a pop star with a social consciousness! Second track ‘Blank Space’ evokes the same 80s pop as the album opener, however track three, ‘Styles’, is where the album gets interesting. Is it a reference to Harry? Are they back together? Who cares?! The song is nice, with a quirky vocal melody.

‘Out Of The Woods’ and ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’ follow, evidencing an 80s chic that, while flowing nicely, falls well short of the decade’s classic hits. The album’s first single ‘Shake It Off’ is a clear standout, reminiscent of La Roux, a great pop record for the hit parade.

‘I Wish You Would’ sounds like The 1975 fronted by a woman, no bad thing, however this is undermined by ‘Bad Blood’ which is jam-packed with anodyne rhymes such as “bad blood” with “mad love”. ‘Wildest Dream’ however is a good song, mirroring Lana Del Rey; the song, again, sounds like something from Drive. ‘This Love’ is 1989’s first stray away from computer generated sonics, making use of the acoustic guitar, and is a welcome break. A strong ballad.

What Swift has produced is by no means groundbreaking or career-defining. What it is, however, is a record that will sustain her fan base, packed full of pop hits that will appeal across the board. It’s by no means award-winning material, but it’s certainly not a career-ending piece of output.


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