“Who are these songs about? When they sound this good, who cares?” – Time Magazine’s review of 1989
Albums are often described as the “freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior album.” So what comes after the fourth album? The college freshman? In most cases, no. Usually the fifth album is the exact same material, just with different lyrics, or its a total flop and fans are begging their favorite artist to bow out gracefully. For Taylor Swift however, that is not the case. 1989 perfectly embodies the college freshman experience. A new start, letting go of lost loves making both new friends and enemies, cleansing yourself of the past, experiencing new love, and letting go by just experiencing all aspects of life. This is by far my favorite album of hers. It came out two weeks ago, and I still have it on repeat. Call me a basic white girl all you want, but Taylor is on to something here. Don’t just get swept away by the catchy tunes, listen to the lyrics. One thing I’ve always loved about T Swift is how relatable her lyrics are, and 1989 stays true to that. So lets break it down track by track.
Welcome to New York
“Everybody here wanted something more, searching for a sound they hadn’t heard before.”
If this song doesn’t inspire you to move to New York right now, then I don’t know what will. Seriously, I’m pretty sure this song is my new anthem. Honestly, while I loved Shake It Off & Out of the Woods, I wasn’t super excited about 1989 until I heard Welcome to New York. Once I heard this song, I literally could not wait. I also blasted this song every second of every day until the album was released. The lyrics paint a picture of a life I lay awake at night dreaming of. A fresh start in a city where I can be literally anyone I want. A nose ring, uniquely colored hair, and a sense of fashion that consists of more than yoga pants and brown boots may not fit in in Blacksburg, Virginia, but it sure as hell would in New York City. Its a “concrete jungle made of dreams”, a city that inspires you simply by being there, and a city where you can be whatever and whoever you want. Taylor perfectly captures everything beautiful and alluring about New York in this song.
“So hey, let’s be friends. I’m dying to see how this one ends, grab your passport and my hand.”
The general consensus seems to be that Blank Space is the most popular song on the album aside from Shake It Off, and I would have to agree that it’s quite good. The idea behind the song seems to be taking a chance with new love. The attitude is “Hey, this is all a game so let’s just go for it and see what happens. It could go really well or really badly.” I think sometimes we overthink relationships, and while you shouldn’t blindly jump into every relationship, once in awhile it can be fun. It can also give you a lot of life experience.
“I got that good girl faith in a tight little skirt.”
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this song. The James Dean reference alone caught my attention, but the rest of the song is classic as well. The theme seems to be that relationship that is never really over. It’s that on again off again relationship, the one you just can’t quite forget. Definitely one of my favorites on the album.
Out of the Woods
I heard a girl talking about this song, saying “Wait, I don’t get it, did she get lost in the woods on a date?” IT’S A METAPHOR. A pretty good one at that. Taylor is talking about the relationship where you can never really tell what’s happening. You aren’t officially a couple, but at the same time you are definitely in a relationship. You are constantly wondering where you stand, and it can cause for a very strained relationship. P.S. Taylor and Harry moved the furniture so they could dance around the living room and oh my gosh that is the cutest thing ever and if I guy ever did that for me I would probably melt right there on the spot.
All You Had to Do Was Stay
“Why’d you have to go and lock me out when I let you in?”
While this song wasn’t one of my particular favorites off of the album, I still quite liked it. Taylor is talking about the kind of relationship where the other person isn’t fully committed, even though you are and you have opened you heart to them. These experiences are quite painful, and Taylor sums it up nicely; really all they have to do is stay.
Shake It Off
I remember when I heard Taylor Swift had a new single; I lost my shit in a gas station in the middle of Georgia (mostly because I didn’t have internet & couldn’t listen to it for another 3 hours). However, when I did hear it, I hated it. Not because the song was bad, I think I was just thrown off by how different it was. It’s like moving to a new house: you hate it at first and you just want to go back to where everything is familiar, however eventually it grows on you. Trust me, these days I crank the volume up when Shake It Off comes on, and dance my heart out. The message of the song is something I’m really struggling with lately. I’m a people pleaser, and I also have severe social anxiety, so I need to be reminded on a daily basis that 1) you can’t please everyone, the haters are gonna hate, 2) It’s going to be all right 3) Shake all the bad stuff off.
I Wish You Would
We all have regrets when it comes to relationships (unless of course you’re perpetually single, like myself). This song really encompasses all of those. I wish you knew that… This song wasn’t among my favorites initially, but it’s slowly growing on me.
“If you’re coming my way, don’t.”
Literally every girl can relate to this. If you can’t, well you’re friends are amazing, and never let them go. However, most of us have been stabbed in the back at least once by a close friend. Seriously, I sing this song at the top of my lungs in the car, all while picturing a certain person’s face in my mind. She was my best friend, and she stabbed me in the back, so I walked away and never looked back. Because baby, we’ve got bad blood.
“Nothing lasts forever, but this is gonna take me down.”
THIS SONG BRINGS ME SO MUCH JOY. Seriously, it has Lana Del Rayesque undertones (and I LOVE Lana). This song is so different from Taylor’s other music; she took a risk and in my opinion that risk really paid off. Listening to this song really does make you feel like you’re floating in a dream, and I listen to it while falling asleep on a daily basis.
How You Get The Girl
“I would wait forever and ever.”
This song is cute and adorable and every boy should be required to listen to it upon entering college (because let’s be real, there’s no real hope for boys before then, and even then we’re pushing it). It’s literally a cheat sheet on how to get the girl. Boys, take note.
“When you’re young you just run, but you come back to what you need.”
Taylor has several songs that really embody what it’s like to be in love (not that I would know, but I’m assuming) and this is one of them. It’s that forbidden love, one that no one thinks should work or will last. It’s one of those “we may be bad for each other, but I love him” songs. Those relationships you read about that you know shouldn’t work, but you can’t help but root for them anyways.
I Know Places
“Just grab my hand and don’t ever drop it – my love.”
I would say this song is the darkest on the album. The “i-i-i” hook at the beginning and throughout the chorus really give the song a darker tone, which makes it captivating. Taylor is writing about a Romeo and Juliet type love; a love that is attacked from all sides, but they find places to run away to. Taylor has never really done a dark song like this before, but after hearing this one, I can’t help but hope the next album has more like it.
“I must admit, just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it.”
This song really hit me in a way that no Taylor Swift song ever has before. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed her music, but I’ve never really related to it. This song, however, tells a story. It tells the story of someone who was in a relationship that ended painfully and messily; it was the kind of the relationship that left a permanent mark that was nearly impossible to get rid of. However it is possible to recover, and Taylor shows us that by the end of the song. I know what it’s like to be the person in this song. To let all the emotions, the pain, the hurt, the betrayal, just wash over you in a perfect storm, until you are so awash in emotions you can’t separate one from another; however you’re finally letting yourself feel. You’re finally able to breathe despite the fact that you’re drowning, because you’re finally letting yourself feel.
“We need love, but all we want is danger.”
This song embodies the college spirit when it comes to love and relationships. We’re young and in love, we’re going to take risks and face a thousand heartbreaks, but it won’t keep us from believing that love is real. It is very catchy and upbeat, and definitely the kind of song I would listen to on the weekends while partying…if I actually went out and partied on the weekends.
“Haven’t you heard what becomes of curious minds?”
One of my favorite stories is Alice in Wonderland and Taylor gave me yet another reason to love her by putting that story into a song. God bless her. It’s all about losing your mind to love, and perhaps going a little crazy along the way. This song is definitely about a bad love, but it’s still a captivating love.
You Are In Love
” One night he wakes, strange look on his face. Pauses, then says “You’re my best friend.” And you knew what it was – he is in love.”
There is no doubt in my mind that this song will be my wedding song. Seriously, it’s beautiful, and makes my heart hurt in both a good and bad way, and I’ve definitely cried more than once while listening to this song. It’s beautiful and heart wrenching and so perfect. Hands down my favorite song on the album, which is tough because this album is just so good. But seriously, this is my wedding song.
2. Blank Space
6. Shake It Off
8. Bad Blood
11. This Love
12. I Know Places
14. New Romantics
16. You Are In Love