It’s been awhile since I’ve attempted to write about music here on the blog. Something I try to avoid mainly because I don’t feel I’m very good at it and because having a pretty diverse taste in music is a bit of a struggle. So I’m starting Now Hear Me Out because one of the biggest albums of the year dropped Monday and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you why you should be listening to it.
First off I’ll admit I never gave Taylor Swift much thought. My younger sister loved Taylor many years ago which is where I originally heard her music and usually the only time I paid any attention was via that old timey medium, the radio. I always brushed it off, well, except for the occasional dance along session to 22. I’ll admit to that at least. Months ago, Ms. Swift dropped Shake It Off on the world and I was never the same. What began as a “oh, let’s see what this is about” listen became a full-blown love for the tune. It’s a radio staple. And even after all these countless listens I still love it. That, I hear, is the true definition of a hit. I dare anyone to listen to the radio without hearing it at least twice within an hour. There’s a great beat. It makes me want to jump around and dance like no one is watching. There’s also that great spoken breakdown which, honestly, is better on the recording than in live performances (see X Factor three weeks ago). This is an entirely new sound than previous Taylor Swift albums. It’s a giant crossover to the world of current pop music. It’s even poised to sell a million copies this week. It could be the most popular album this year behind the soundtrack to Frozen. That’s not even just my opinion, I’ve heard it so many places this week.
There are so many musical influences coming into play on 1989. Many of the songs have a clear late 80s/early 90s vibe to them which seems to be all the rage lately. The songs where Swift worked with Jack Antonoff definitely seem to have this influence more than others, but the album still is cohesive from beginning to end. Wildest Dreams feels like, as blasphemous as this could sound, like a Ultraviolence era Lana Del Rey track. Style feels like a lower end Kavinsky toss away track. Welcome to New York sounds like it belongs on an episode of the Carrie Diaries or Gossip Girl accompanying a long spanning shot of the city at night. Songs like Wonderland, Blank Space, and New Romance are worthy of being played at loud volumes. It’s certainly not without it’s low points. Particularly songs like Clean and I Know Places which I just don’t love as much as the others.
Of course there are endless songs about heartbreak and ex loves. What would pop music be without ex loves, I mean really? It’s entirely possible to remove rumors, public relationships (or PR ones if that’s more ones cup a tea), and reputations, and these songs could be anyone’s situation. It doesn’t matter that she may or may not mostly date famous people and, in turn, write songs about them. No one says the same about, say, Ed Sheeran, so maybe it’s time to let it go. It’s widely speculated Out of the Woods is about Harry Styles, and that’s fine; It’s a great tune regardless of its possible origins. The reason pop music is, just that, popular is because it’s easy to relate to. Hoping an ex will stop by (a la I Wish You Would) is something that happens after a breakup (Trust me, it makes more sense after hearing the song). Ms. Swift has made her music even more relatable now that she has made the full crossover to pop music, and after hearing this album, I hope she sticks around in this genre for a while.
Above all the main reason I think everyone should be taking a listen to 1989 is its quality. The lyrics aren’t (all) cheesy, the tunes are well produced and catchy, and serve their purpose (ie: bring joy and emotions to the masses). If anything, any troubles can be danced (or cried) away over the span of an hour and some odd minutes. The entire first part of the album cheers me up even if it probably shouldn’t. Hell, I’ve been quoting this album on Twitter (faux pas I know) all week. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t just toss Taylor Swift aside or make some snide remark about it. The album truly is good (I wouldn’t be saying it if it weren’t true) and well made which is what music needs. This is the soundtrack to those days you want to put on bright red lips, a skirt, and pun entirely intended, Shake It Off.
PS: Don’t hate on people for liking the music they like. It makes you a jerk which isn’t cool.
And if you’re curious my favorite tracks are: Blank Space, Style, Out of the Woods, I Wish You Would & You Are in Love (from the Target deluxe edition)