‘Heartbreak is our national anthem, we sing it proudly’
If I was to use one word to describe 1989 it would be uplifting. It is a very happy and joyful album, and it contrasts Red which (for me anyway) was an overall very melancholy album. Claiming that 1989 is the best album of the year is probably a bit premature, but it’s close. It was just released and I have not yet had time to see if it has longevity like the rest of the fantastic albums released this year, but if Red is anything to go by, then I’m optimistic.
I love the 80s inspired sound of it. I love how it’s not really like anything in pop right now (as far as I can tell anyway?). I love that it’s very unapologetic. I love that it’s music you can sit in your room and lose yourself in, but also music you can have sing-a-longs and dance parties with your friends to. I just really love it.
Taylor Swift gets a lot of flak for writing about her relationships, and it frustrates me that good music needs to be devalued because of the motivation behind it. I love a good love song. I love tragic love songs even more. I can enjoy a good angry break up song.
People write what they know, and I don’t see why it should be such a big deal. It’s hard to completely forget who a lot of these songs are rumoured to be written about, but don’t think you need to. Likewise, I don’t think you need to know in order to understand what they’re saying. The music she writes uses pretty universal themes and can be listened to completely isolated from Taylor Swift’s personal history. It’s as she writes in ‘New Romantics’: ‘heartbreak is our national anthem, we sing it proudly‘. I’m happy she just owns it and doesn’t let people bring her down for doing what she does best. But I’m rambling and getting close to things I don’t know enough about. I’ve become such a Taylor Swift defender; it’s a brave new world for me.
I’ve loved everything about this album since it was announced. The Polaroid cover artwork, ‘Shake It Off’, the album promo. I was a bit unsure about ‘Out Of The Woods’ at first, but by now I’m completely in love with it. It reminds me of when I was younger and used to listen to Roxette with my parents (are they a thing outside of Scandinavia?). Having now listened to the full album I actually think ‘Shake It Off’ is one of its weaker songs, which speaks to the strength of the album, because I love ‘Shake It Off’. There are a couple of tracks that have yet to make a real impression on me, but for the most part I love it all. My favourites at the moment are ‘Blank Space’, ‘Style’, ‘I Wish You Would’, ‘I Know Places’, ‘Wonderland’, ‘Wildest Dreams’ and ‘New Romantics’. ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Blank Space’ in particular are just really really good songs. ‘I Know Places’ is a favourite because it’s about escaping the outside forces that threaten to hurt a relationship, and it’s pretty much my favourite musical trope. And ‘New Romantics’ is just such a modern youth anthem.
Some lyrical bits I really loved from this album:
Took our broken hearts, put them in a drawer
Everybody here was someone else before
But I got a blank space baby
And I’ll write your name
Cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream
You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye
And I got that red lip classic thing that you like
And when we go crashing down, we come back every time.
Cause we never go out of style
The rest of the world was black and white
But we were in screaming colour
We’re a crooked love
In a straight line down
We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it
And life was never worse but never better
It’s definitely my favourite Taylor Swift album to date. I remember the first time I consciously became aware of Taylor Swift. It was in my hotel room in Kuala Lumpur when my sister and I was watching MTV and ‘You Belong With Me’ came on (and then continued to be aired on repeat for hours along with Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Boom Boom Pow’, but that’s not important). I don’t particularly like that song anymore, but at the time we had so much fun just singing along to it. Then Red happened and I fell properly in love with her song writing. After hearing 1989 I am very curious to see what comes next!