This post has been a long time coming, and I have to say that I have avoided posting this for quite some time. Since I’ve had this album on repeat in my car (and pretty much everywhere else I go) since the day it came out, I think I’ve dodged this post long enough.
I’m not going to lie. Prior to this record’s release, I was very weary on what Taylor Swift’s next “Country” album was going to be like, knowing far too well that a new album was in the works, as the two year mark from the release of her last album was fast-approaching. With every album she had been releasing, it seemed that Taylor was slowly veering away from the Country genre and into Pop territory, while still managing to be considered a Country artist. The album released prior to 1989, Red, raised many eyebrows within her fan base and the Country music community, questioning whether she should still be considered a Country singer. The release of two of her singles, “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “22,” continued to fuel that question of integrity. As soon as she announced her new single, “Shake It Off,” as well as the new concept of her new and upcoming album this past summer, many of the people who once questioned her motives breathed a sigh of relief. Taylor was officially done with the Country music genre, and was now looking to be considered a Pop artist.
The dramatic change in genres isn’t the only thing that separates 1989 from the rest of her catalog. Upon hearing many of the songs that were put on this album, it’s obvious that Taylor is displaying a more confident side, steering clear away from the seemingly vindictive man-eater the media considered her to be. The release of the first single, “Shake It Off,” served as an excellent preamble to a new era of Pop anthems and attitude of “Say what you want about me, I’m going to continue being who I am.” In the song, Swift realizes that it doesn’t matter what people think about her. As long as she continues to unapologetically be herself, no one else’s opinion is important. The next single, “Blank Space,” further asserts Swift’s new state of mind, as it makes a statement against the outlandish image the media has thrust upon her – “Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane.” In addition to the tongue-in-cheek tone the song already exudes, its accompanying music video Taylor’s way of providing a visual representation of the outrageous persona people perceive her to have, doing so in a satirical yet dignified way.
The lyrical content of 1989 drifts away from the tumultuous relationship-inspired songs that Taylor usually releases. Instead, she writes about life coming into her own, and the discovery of the poised woman within her. “Welcome To New York” describes a turning point in life, discovering confidence and self-assurance that comes with moving to a brand new city. In contrast from her many songs about being in and out of relationships, the last track of this record, “Clean,” is about finding comfort in being alone, realizing that a person’s life doesn’t have meaning only when in a relationship.
While Swift continues to find herself, she does not fail to maintain her integrity with her song-writing process. Although her lyrics can be scathing at times, what remains incredible is that she is not afraid to be honest in her writing as long as the person listening to her songs can relate to them. It was her honest lyrics that provided her unwavering fan base, and it is that brutal honesty that will keep driving her career forward. Her image with the public may be ever changing (sometimes negative, sometimes positive), but it is her integrity to herself that will keep leading her to more success. With her new-found confidence, it is safe to say that Taylor Swift is invincible.