First Spin... Taylor Swift's 1989
Last time Taylor Swift came back with a new album, she was still something of a curiosity for most Brits. She’d sold a lot of records, sure, but they were country pop records, the sort that never translate into success in the UK. Then the first two singles ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ and ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ hit and it felt like the whole country was converted. Both singles went Top Five and Swift went from the kind of artist who has a very nice life and has the odd big hit to the kind of singer that gets mentioned in record label financial projections.
Red sold supremely, over six million copies worldwide and over 17 million singles in all, Swift did five nights at the O2 Arena over here and graduated from arenas to football stadiums in the States.
As of this means, of course, that there’s quite a bit of pressure on the follow-up. So here, at long last, is Taylor Swift's 1989 (which you can preview on the right of the page) the year's most anticipated album is out today (October 27th). Here is our review of every track..
'Welcome To New York'
You've all heard this one. It introduces Swift's promised 1980s pop-influence within the opening few seconds with an icy blast of Kraftwerk-esque synths and sampled drums, the country twang that held Swift's early records together has been firmly put in a drawer.
Built round an insanely catchy chorus, the track is a love letter from Swift to her new home.
This is more like the tracks on Swift's last record Red, ethereal pop with a playful melody. Lyrically, this is the first showing of Swift's lyrical confidence, with couplets like "Oh my God, look at that face, you look like my next mistake..." and "Got a long list of ex-lovers, they'll tell you I'm insane, but I've got a blank space baby, and I'll write your name..."
This kicks off with a guitar riff that sounds like it's been lifted straight from Prince's finest work, before adding a bubbling bassline and a chorus that just glides out of the speakers. The lyrics, which seem to gush over a new crush (who they're about is made pretty obvious from the title), will bring a rictous grin to your face within seconds.
'Out Of The Woods'
Another you've heard. A bubbling, Eurythmics style refrain gives way to a nagging, insistent chorus. It's glorious.
'All You Had To Do Was Stay'
This is the closest thing on the record to Swift's earlier work, a lilting, fragile ballad, mostly built around acoustic guitar. It's still got an enormous chorus mind, and some excellent falsetto.
'Shake It Off'
The lead-off single. The album's most unashadmedly pop moment, and the most danceable. Snarky, sassy and insansely catchy.
'I Wish You Would'
This is pure 80s pop; 808 drum loops, Duran Duran-esque synths and a guitar riff so slinky, it sounds like it came directly from Prince's fingers. All of this builds to a rollicking chorus, that wouldn't sound out of place in a John Hughes movie.
This one is the album's most bombastic moment. Built around a dominating drum beat, this is the closest Swift has ever come to R'N'B, with a finger wagging verse giving way to the kind of chorus that's genetically enigeenered to be shouted back by arenas. Imagine early Destiny's Child recorded by a happier Lykke Li.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this was Lana Del Rey, it has the same breezy tempo, but with Swift's vocals way back in the mix. It's a song about boys behaving badly too, something Miss Del Rey knows a thing or two about.
'How You Get The Girl'
A sassy, slinky pop tune, this sounds like it's been recorded for the closing credits of the best teen movie imaginable, specficially the bit where the geek finally wins over the prom queen.
Another gentle one. This begins as a whisper, just a guitar and Swift's voice, before building to a throbbing electro ballad. It sounds oddly like the Drive soundtrack, a comparison you'd never associate with Taylor Swift.
'I Know Places'
Clicky beats, disparate strings, stabbing blasts of bass, this is the most experimental track Swift has ever put her name to. It's actually a really thrilling listen too.
Swift is joined by Imogen Heap on the album's closing moment, which sounds like it's been lifted straight from Heap's classic Speak For Yourself album, all gentle pianos, ornate instrumentation and a beautifully hummable chorus.
Taylor Swift's new album 1989 is available in store now.