By Claire Salinas
She has been wowing our hearts since she stepped on stage with her bouncy blonde curls and guitar at the age of 15, but Taylor Swift has greatly changed over the years. Her new album, 1989, represents an official switch to pop. It covers happenings of her life from the past two years, which range from her short-lived relationship with Harry Styles to her infamous rivalry with Katy Perry.
Even if celebrity gossip isn’t your thing, Swift has some impressive collaborations on the album, including “Clean,” with Imogen Heap, and the “Welcome to New York,” with Ryan Tedder.
Here’s what you need to know about the record.
The rumors of who Swift is dating seem to change everyday, but she was definitely involved in a short-lived relationship with Harry Styles in 2012, and there are two songs that quite obviously reference it on the album.
The word around the Internet is the relationship ended when Styles wouldn’t make a firm commitment to Swift, so his commitment phobia is revealed in the lyrics of the not-so-subtly dubbed “Style.” Swift calls him out for seeing other girls; his response: “What you’ve heard is true but I can’t stop thinking about you.”
As if his evasiveness wasn’t hard enough to deal with, the relationship officially went on a downward spiral when the two were involved in a snowmobile accident that landed both of them in the ER, and apparently someone got stitches. That accident is referenced in “Out of the Woods,” which details a nebulous relationship between the two that was apparently harder to ground than two airplanes.
Speculations are running high that “How to Get The Girl” is about Styles coming to ask for a second chance. Sorry, bud – no one puts Taylor in the corner; you lost your chance.
Frenemies Turned Enemies
With the paparazzi constantly surrounding celebrities, sometimes it’s easier to put on a happy face and pretend you get along with everyone.
Apparently Swift sees straight through these facades, though, because in an interview with Rolling Stone she talked about a frenemy turned enemy who she would always speak to at awards shows but afterwards would think, “”Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?”
Any doubts she had about their enemy status were confirmed when the star tried to hire people out from under Swift during an arena tour.
Although Swift refused to name names in the interview, there are very clear hints in the lyrics of “Bad Blood” as to who it is.
Katy Perry released a song called, “Ghosts,” about the memories of her marriage she is plagued with and she wrote a country song called, “Bullets.”
Both words are used profusely in the lyrics to “Bad Blood,” and I think Swift is making her point pretty clear.
What the Media Thinks
How would you like it if people were constantly writing about you as if they knew you, speculating about events in your life they have no knowledge of?
In the song “Blank Spaces,” Swift pokes fun at what the media thinks of her, but to anyone who doesn’t pick up on this, the song sounds like she’s admitting to being a crazy serial dater who writes songs about all her exes.
In an iHeart Radio live session she did the day after the album’s midnight release, Swift explained that the song was inspired by the times when she would spend all day at home with her cats only to go online and see stories about the crazy escapades she took part in that day.
Swift references her need to escape the public eye to have some semblance of a private life in the song, “I Know Places, ” with lyrics such as “Baby, I know places we won’t be found, and they’ll be chasing their tails tryin’ to track us down.”
One refreshing thing about this album is we get the sense that Swift is putting aside relationships for a while to experience some personal growth.
In her song “Welcome to New York,” she celebrates all the city has to offer.
The song feels like a representation of all the possibilities that come with living in the city.
Swift was recently named New York’s Global Welcome Ambassador, and rightfully so, since this girl is obviously crazy about New York.
“Shake It Off” is Swift’s ballad to all the haters, telling them she isn’t getting caught up in all the bad things they say about her.
She references seeing her, “Ex-man’s new girlfriend,” but Swift isn’t one to mope, she just goes to shake it off with the boy with “the hella good hair.”
I must say that one of the best things about this album are the bonus tracks.
They are exclusively available on the albums sold at Target, but Wonderland is one of my favorite tracks that talks about getting so caught up in a love that both lovers go mad, maybe its because I’m a sucker for the Alice in Wonerland references, but this track is my favorite on the album.
Taylor goes kind of deep and makes some social commentary on the state of our generation in “New Romantics,” but you wouldn’t know it from the title or the beat. In the song she proclaims “heartbreak is the national anthem,” and talks about the millennial disease of perpetual boredom with the lyrics “We’re all bored, we’re all so tired of everything.”
The album represents a clear switch to pop for Swift, and the start of an era in her life where she is open to a lot more changes than a new boyfriend.
Swift’s new direction can be summed up with a few lyrics from “Welcome to New York”: “It’s a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat, beat forevermore.”
The possibilities are endless for Swift right now, so she might not dance to the same track “forevermore,” but it will be interesting to see where she goes.