1989: A Song-By-Song Breakdown

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“I’ve told you my stories for years now. Some have been about coming of age, some have been about coming undone. This is a story about coming into your own, and as a result… coming alive.” – Taylor Swift

How could Taylor Swift out-do herself after such a successful last album? How could she hope to keep her fan base when she changes her music genre entirely? How does she expect to sell over a million copies with solely pop songs? Those were the questions the world was asking themselves after Taylor announced her transition into the pop genre, an industry dominated by top names with long records of radio success.

On Monday, 1989 was released into the world and every single question anybody ever had was answered through the unexpected lyrical arrangements of each song. This album is a force to be reckoned with, and with over 600,000 copies sold within the first 24 hours, you better believe that Taylor is on the upward spiral of her life. What strikes me about this album is that it is just as vulnerable as any of her previous albums, but the track production gives a whole new caliber to the emotions she is trying to convey. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down each song for you below, enjoy!

Welcome To New York: “When we first dropped our bags on apartment floors, took our broken hearts and put them in a drawer.” This opening track sets the tone for the album, and for this next step in Taylor’s life. When you move to New York, you have to know who you are and what you want, or else you will get eaten alive, and this is Taylor standing up for who she is and what is important to her.

Blank Space: “So it’s gonna be forever, or it’s gonna go down in flames. You can tell me when it’s over if the high was worth the pain.” Blank Space is the next single on the album, and it’s a poignant observational song about how the media portrays her relationships. With confident lyrics that just scream irony, this is a stab in the back to the news articles that say she dates every guy she comes in contact with.

Style: “You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye, and I got that red lip classic thing that you like.” Guaranteed to be a fan favorite, this song talks about a relationship that keeps crashing down and falling back into place. It reads like a diary entry but will make you want to dance in public spaces.

Out Of The Woods: “We were built to fall apart, then fall back together.” One of my favorite songs off the album, the vocals and the production on this ballad keep getting bigger and bigger as the song progresses, and then when the bridge hits, you will be on floor in shock. It reminisces about a fragile relationship where every day you have to ask yourself, “Are we out of the woods yet?”

All You Had To Do Was Stay: “Here you are now, calling me up but I don’t know what to say.” This is the song that is going to be stuck in your head for the next two weeks. Taylor documents a specific kind of person who throws a perfectly stable relationship to the ground and then comes back around expecting the pieces to fall perfectly back in place.

Shake It Off: “I’m dancing on my own, I make the moves up as I go.” This was the first song that Taylor released off the album, and as you have probably heard all over the radio, this song is about living life on your own terms and ‘shaking off’ the haters.

I Wish You Would: “I wish we could go back and remember what we were fighting for.” Another song that reads like a diary entry, I Wish You Would talks about how a significant other bought a house down the street from hers, and as his headlights would pass by her window in the middle of the night, she wished he knew that she was still in love with him.

Bad Blood: “You say sorry just for show. If you live like that, you live with ghosts.” This song has very specific production elements that set it apart from the rest of the album, and that will make you want to head-bang along to the beat. The subject matter of this song deals with a broken friendship that can never be repaired.

Wildest Dreams: “He’s so tall and handsome as hell, he’s so bad but he does it so well.” With a soft yet powerful melodic rhythm, this song will hit you like a unsuspecting hurricane. She talks about a relationship that she knows is going to end before it even starts, but is worth pursuing regardless. It’s one of her more personal songs that delves into topics that she has never breached in previous albums.

How You Get The Girl: “I want you for worse or for better, I would wait forever and ever.” Definitely one of the more traditionally-pop numbers on the album, this cartoony beat has a powerful chorus that dominates the song structure. From what I can tell, this song is half ironic, half hopeful advice on how to reconstruct a relationship.

This Love: “In silent screams, in wildest dreams, I never dreamed of this.” A strikingly-beautiful ballad about a love that came back to her after she thought it would never return. With numerous lyrical-references to the ocean, This Love depicts a relationship that returned to shore after the storm.

I Know Places: “Love’s a fragile little flame, it could burn out.” The production elements of this song present a dark and frantic beat. Taylor conveys the fact that when a relationship is under the telescope of the media, it will ultimately break down, and that she knows tricks on how to escape the frenzy.

Clean: “You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress that I can’t wear anymore.” The meaning behind this song brilliantly transfers into the beat and background vocals. It’s a somber story about missing a relationship after it’s over, and a powerful way to end the album.

There’s also three additional, and equally beautiful, songs that are exclusively available on the Target edition of the album. Check out the album on iTunes here or stop by Target to pick up a copy! I honestly wouldn’t doubt if 1989 is the biggest-selling album of the year.. every song is a hit. Well done, Taylor!

4 comments

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  1. beckinablog

    This album was finally delivered today and waiting for me when I got home from work. I have the deluxe edition so I’m yet to make it all the way through but there’s so many songs I can’t pick favourites. Loving her new sound, though, and like you said, I think this is a turning point for Taylor – she can only go up from here!

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