Taylor Swift: ‘1989’
Adam Flores | Contributing Writer
Playing the numbers game seems to be working for the seven-time GRAMMY Award winning artist, Taylor Swift. Her latest album, “1989,” is her fifth studio album that was released on Oct. 27, 2014 and sold 1.287 million copies in its first week according to USA Today. This calculates to over two albums sold every second during that week.
The last album to sell over one million copies in a week was Swift’s previous album, “Red,” which sold 1.21 million copies in its debut back in 2012. Her third studio offering, “Speak Now,” in 2010 sold 1.047 million copies in one week as well.
Only 18 albums total have sold more than one million units in a single week. Swift now owns three slots on that coveted list.
“1989,” which has sold over two million units to date, makes Swift a force to be reckoned with in her current crossover status from the Nashville influenced sound of her early country music roots into the current mainstream popular music scene. She now competes with the vocal prowess of Katy Perry, Ariana Grande and many other current pop female vocal phenoms.
While it may seem for now that Swift has devoted her vocal energy to pop music, this was a growing change found in her previous release, “Red.” Songs such as “State of Grace” and “Starlight” deliver rocking guitars and heavy drum grooves, but if you listen carefully, you can hear new mixtures of electronic beats, keyboard synths and sampled vocal motifs within a handful of other tracks.
One of her hit songs from “Red,” the breakup anthem “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” combines a heavy dance beat with sampled acoustic guitars and vocals. We are brought back to Shania Twain’s hit single, “That Don’t Impress Me Much” from her 1999 International Version release of her “Come On Over” album. On “1989,” Swift has made the overall electronic sound dominant. You hear little guitar work compared to her previous releases.
“1989” opens with her exposition entitled, “Welcome to New York.” This is her dramatic, opening statement as she belts the opening lines of the chorus, “Welcome to New York, It’s been waiting for you, Welcome to New York.” What lures us in to the album are the infectious beats, big synth bass lines, catchy synth keyboard riffs and her command of a more mature vocal timbre.
The rest of her new release follows the cliché themes she has written about before: love, relationships, breakups and personal reflection are some of the main topics she reinvents in her new sound. Other tracks such as “Out of the Woods,” “Bad Blood” and “This Love” reflect on what young love and life are about for dreamers, star-crossed lovers and hopeless romantics.
In order for her to accommodate her new sound on “1989,” Swift moved from Nashville, Tn. to New York City, N.Y. this past April. According to zillow.com, film director Peter Jackson [Lord Of The Rings] previously owned her current purchase of the Tribeca Penthouse she now resides in. The appeal of the Big Apple had Swift sold and her “Empire State of Mind” is as big now as her millions of records sold worldwide.
Fellow Nashville recording artists, Lady Antebellum, were asked about Swift’s crossover endeavor and how that may impact fans. According to People’s Choice, the band members were in full support of Swift’s decision to shift genres. “I think she just wants to explore, try new things, and I think she’s at a point in her career where she can if that’s where her heart is,” said Charles Kelley, lead guitarist for Lady Antebellum.
According to Billboard, her number one hit single, “Shake It Off,” was recently bumped from the top spot by her current hit, “Blank Space.” This proves that the only person currently better than Swift is Swift herself. According to forbes.com, she has become the first woman in the chart’s 50-plus year history to replace herself at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
“1989” is an album that should delight all her fans and generate new “Swifties” from the current pop culture genre. Look for her new album and previous titles currently in record stores, as well as from digital download services such as iTunes.