Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift released her new album “1989” on Oct. 27 with Big Machine Records. It is her first official pop album, which is a different sound from her first few records that feature country pop-style songs.
Jem Aswad, former editor of Billboard, describes the lyrics of Swift’s new album as “Polysyllabic melodies and playful, provocative lyrics … it’s unmistakably Swift.”
Swift told the Rolling Stone in an interview that the inspiration behind “1989” came from her listening to “ a lot of late-eighties pop. I really love the chances they were taking. I love how bold it was. I love how ahead of its time it was,”
Here is a track-by-track breakdown of “1989” explaining the meanings and backstory of each song:
1. “Welcome To New York” — It makes sense that this song made the opening track because, in a sense, it is Swift’s welcoming into full pop. The lyrics say, “searching for a sound we haven’t heard before,” which represents Swift’s move into the new style of music and lyrics.
2. “Blank Space” — A catchy drumbeat makes this ironic hook easy to overlook. This track has slightly sinister lyrics. “I’ve got a long list of ex-lovers,” Swift warns, “a blank space baby/ and I’ll write your name.” Swift almost pokes fun at herself for having been through so many relationships.
3. “Style” — It’s almost certain this song was written about the one and only Harry Styles of One Direction. If you listen to the lyrics, it tells a story about a seemingly unhealthy relationship that goes in a circle and keeps Swift coming back every time.
4. “Out of the Woods” — This song pairs perfectly with “Style.” The vicious cycle in the previous song is broken free in this synthesized ballad. It mentions an automobile crash and Swift ending up in the hospital. This is alluding to the snowmobile accident Swift was in with an ex-boyfriend, who is assumed to be Styles from his chin stitches he was seen with in the winter while the two were dating.
5. “All You Had to Do Was Stay” — Swift undeniably wrapped up the three part song cycle of “Style” and “Out of the Woods” with “All You Had to Do Was Stay.” With the lyrics, “why’d you have to go and lock me out when I let you in,” Swift calls Styles out saying that it’s too late, even if he is crawling back to her.
6. “Shake it Off” — The first single “Shake it Off” from the album was released on Aug. 18. It sends a message of be who you are and “shake off” anyone who tells you that you aren’t good enough.
7. “I Wish You Would” — Catchy guitar riffs keep this song upbeat, even with the deep lyrics. Swift recalls an old love, saying “I wish you were right here, right now. I wish you would.” Like any teenage love, she admits all of her mistakes and wishes that they were together again.
8. “Bad Blood” — These strong lyrics and hard-hitting beats definitely show that Swift was wounded and angry with whomever this song is directed toward. According to web magazine “Slate,” “Bad Blood” was written about the rumored fight between Katy Perry and Swift after Perry bought off dancers who were supposed to be on Swift’s “Red” tour.
9. “Wildest Dreams” — The Lana Del Rey inspired undertones of this song makes the lyrics stand out. She sings “Say you’ll see me again, even if it’s just in your wildest dreams,” giving the song a sort of doomed affair storyline.
10. “How You Get the Girl” — This is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, inviting an on-the-fence lover to say how they really feel. It’s built slightly more like the songs on her previous album, “Red.”
11. “This Love” — An ambiance of synthetic guitar strings open the song. This is a very different song choice than the rest on the album. The theme of the song is rolling back and forth between letting love go and it finding its way back.
12. “I Know Places” — Emphasis is put on the “vultures” or the media, while trying to keep a relationship with the spotlight put on Swift. “I know places we wont be found … I know places we can hide,” assures their love will be safe, despite them constantly running.
13. “Clean” — Similar to “Begin Again” in Swift’s “Red” album, “Clean” has the same message of drowning in the aftermath of love, then finally being “able to breathe.”