Photo by Virgil Solis.
1989 is the best pop album to come out within the past five years, and with its release comes the global takeover of Taylor Swift. Swiftmageddon. Taylortopia. T-Swiftpocalyse. It’s here, people. You can’t avoid it anymore. Taylor Swift is taking over the world one catchy hook at a time.
Before 1989, I’ll admit, I was a skeptic. Yeah, I had some T-Swift songs on my iPod, but it was nothing earth shattering. “Fifteen,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “22,” “You Belong With Me,” and “Our Song” were the only songs I knew. Honestly, they weren’t anything to be that hyped about. I have friends in the hardcore and punk scenes who wear “TAYLOR SWIFT OR FUCKING DIE” hoodies and “T-Swift forever” shirts, but I never got the appeal with her… until 1989.
When “Shake It Off” dropped mid-summer in 2014, I was captivated by the cheery melody and upbeat lyrics. It was like a fizzy-pop sensation, an ’80s-esque dance beat, and a sugary candy-like sound all wrapped into one song. When “Blank Space” premiered not long after, I was consumed. When I finally listened to the full album on an airplane to LA two weeks ago, I became obsessed. This is pure gold, I thought. Taylor Swift has released the catchiest, female pop album since Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream (2010). Every song is a banger with a story and purpose for each word. Her songwriting skills have flourished along with her perfectly cast gang of artists (Imogen Heap and Jack Antonoff) to help produce some of the songs. A musical fairytale of fast love, 1989 makes me want to shout from the rooftop, “I FUCKING LOVE TAYLOR SWIFT!” She has become my best friend. Together, we sing in the car on our way to work, at work, on our way home, at home, before bed, and then again when we wake up. I feel like the fans in the Josie and the Pussycats movie, just liking her because I’m being brainwashed to enjoy it by those corporate big dogs. Maybe, maybe not. Whatever the case may be, I find myself wearing red lipstick every day along with outfits that get more retro by the minute and I’m totally okay with it. Thanks, Tay.
Fans of her early work would tell me, “She’s going pop and she’s going to be terrible at it.” Oh, how wrong you were. If anything, Taylor has been dominating the genre with the release of 1989. Her PR team of media wizards are like the NSA of pop. You can’t stream her album ANYWHERE – SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify- they’re empty, like the Swiftening never happened. Practically stealing money out of listeners pockets, some still eagerly lined up to own the album in a world where digital music is essentially free. Sure, pirating is easy, but her PR people are so gung-ho about the whole thing that they’ve started to shut down sites that have her album available for downloading. In 2014, with her album being released in full for just three short months, this is some of what she has achieved with 1989:
- Best-selling album of the year (Billboard, iTunes, Cosmopolitan)
- Rolling Stone’s #2 album of the year
- On the cover of TIME
- On the cover of Billboard
- She performed at the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC
- On the cover of The Hollywood Reporter
- Snagging multiple guest spots:
- Jimmy Kimmel, SNL, ABC, The Voice, BBC America, The View, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and pretty much every other talk show out there
- She’s named the most powerful woman in U.K. media in 2014
- She’s been nominated for three Grammy’s (and she’ll probably snag ‘em all)
- She performed at the American Music Awards
- She performed at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show
- 1989 sold 1.287 million units in its first week, which hasn’t been done since 2002
Taylor Swift is slaughtering the music biz competition right now and probably will be for the better half of 2015. While some music critics, journalists and artists are calling her pull from Spotify/YouTube absurd, I think it’s a smart move. If you really want to listen to 1989, skip the Chipotle today and just buy the damn record. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. You know what they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, then just pull your catalog from every site and make fans buy your album like a REAL pop sensation. Boom.