by Clara Butler
It’s no secret that I’m a huge T-Swift fan. I have every album she’s ever made and I’ve even dressed up as her more than once. Growing up, she had a huge influence on me and songs like “Place in this World” and “Fifteen” made me feel like everyone was a little lost and that’s okay. So cheesiness aside, I was super excited when I found out that she was putting out a new album this year. After obsessively listening to Red, I was desperate for new songs. I was nervous that I might not like her switch into pop because her country roots had been part of her charm for so long. But after listening to “Shake it Off” all summer, I fully supported Taylor Swift turned pop-star. What follows is a track-by-track review of her newest album.
1. Welcome To New York
|Taylor dancing at award shows = perfection|
Although this song has been heavily criticized, I think it’s great. Living in New York, it makes me like this song even more and I know that I’ll be listening to it every time I’m not in NYC and need to reflect on how cool it is that I actually go to school here. Does it glamorize New York? Of course. Does it make NYC a little unattainably perfect? Probably. But if you think about it, almost every song written about New York presents an unrealistic picture of this diverse and indescribable city. Also, I think it’s amazing that she is donating the profits from this song to NYC schools.
2. Blank Space
|Will you write my name in that blank space?|
Okay, but HAVE YOU SEEN THE MUSIC VIDEO??? I already loved this song because of how it says “f*** you” to everyone who has ever criticized Taylor for only writing songs about boys that she has dated. But like really, why don’t men get criticized for this? Does One Direction or John Mayer get called out for only writing about girls? NO. So good on her for challenging media representations of her head-on with an over-the-top music video that is badass. If you need more proof of Taylor’s contribution to feminism, read this article.
|SLAY TAYLOR SLAYYYYYY|
This might be my favorite track of the entire album because it is just so much fun to listen to. Taylor DOES have that classic red lip thing and the guy, allegedly Harry Styles, does have a James Dean feel to him. The song starts slow but then picks up at the chorus. Listening to the preview of the song, I thought it was just going to be upbeat and super happy but she actually calls out the guy multiple times for hanging out with other girls and not really being there for her. Once again, Taylor writes an incredible song that you can dance to but also relate to in a deep way.
4. Out Of The Woods
|My dad watched this performance and now he’s a Swiftie.|
I remember when this song was released before the album I listened to it on repeat because I just couldn’t even fathom why it was so addicting/amazing/good. I mean the bridge where she says “I walked out, I said, I’m setting you free but the monsters turned out to be just trees” like HOW DO YOU WRITE SUCH GOOD SONGS??? Honestly though, I was skeptical of this song too because at first I thought that the chorus was a little too simplistic but I have learned to love it and I love the story that it tells.
5. All You Had To Do Was Stay
|“All you had to do was STAYYYYYYY”|
While this isn’t my favorite song on the album, I still think it’s a fun song to sing along to and I could never say anything bad about Taylor Swift because I’m afraid that the Taylorency will come after me. I think that my favorite thing about this song is that on her tumblr, she constantly posts videos of people dancing to this song. I also love trying to mimic her voice when she says “STAY”. I’m predicting that it will be the next “I Knew You Were Trouble” since it is ripe for parody.
6. Shake It Off
|My face whenever I have to dance with actual dancers|
As you know, this was my summer jam. I mean, what better chorus is there than “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”? Like, you can use this song as proof that you don’t care about your haters or the people that broke your heart or basically anyone who has wronged you in anyway. Also, the music video just makes me love Taylor even more because her dancing is so awkward and perfect at the same time. And can we talk about that cat sweatshirt at the beginning for a second because it’s the best.
7. I Wish You Would
|Me trying to describe how much I love this song (aka I can’t)|
Okay I should really stop writing that I love every song but I’m sorry I can’t help it. I especially love the chorus because of the slight drop and just how real this song is like when she says “We’re a crooked love in a straight line down”. Basically Taylor is a songwriting genius who knows how to write a damn good song and I wish she would (get it?) release more music because I can’t stop listening to this album.
8. Bad Blood
|Tell ’em taylor (also hi Matt).|
This was probably my least favorite song on the album the first few times I listened to it because I didn’t love the chorus since I thought that rhyming “bad blood” and “mad love” was a little forced but I realized that I really love the verses and the line “bandaids don’t fix bullet holes” is just so good and I can never not like a Taylor song so I obviously came around. Also this little girl singing the song is everything.
9. Wildest Dreams
|Just Tay standing in a nice dress staring at the sunset…|
Another one of my favorites from the album. I was hoping for some genuine ballads on the CD but since this is a pretty upbeat album, this is one of the slowest ones yet I absolutely love it. I mean, she is asking to be remembered in this very positive way and its kind of emotional if you think about it. This couple only sees each other in their dreams but even though the lyrics by themselves are a little sad, the song is still sung in a positive way that is more nostalgic than depressing.
10. How You Get the Girl
|This is what happens when you don’t get the girl.|
This song seems very different from Taylor’s usual style since I could see a number of artists singing it but I think that she still does a great job with this track. While not one of her strongest, it’s definitely still extremely catchy and does give some much needed advice to those guys out there who don’t know how to treat their ladies right (as do most T-Swift songs). So don’t leave her alone and never tell her why, okay?
11. This Love
|I love this song (and you Tay).|
Another slower track on the album, this song is beautiful and sad and deep, just like Taylor. The music is just so soothing and melodic and the lyrics add another level of beauty to it. When Taylor usually sings about love, it is usually about the guy himself but this song is actually about the emotions felt and love as a tangible presence. This song is almost a little eerie because of the depictions of love rising up from the dead and her lyrics about ghosts. But it kind of just adds to its charm for me.
12. I Know Places
|Taylor is a cute lil fox.|
I really like this song because I think that it is just so catchy and maybe it’s because I have fond memories of hide and seek as a child so I can relate to wanting to just hide out somewhere for a while. Also, maybe I’m reading into this too much but saying that they “have the cages and boxes” and that Taylor is running away from them kind of sounds like she wants to break the status quo and needs to hide from critics while they adjust to her revolutionary actions. Maybe not, maybe Taylor does just really want to be a fox.
|Please don’t be sad Taylor, we love you.|
It’s obvious that Imogen Heap who helped Taylor on this track was a huge influence on this song but the lyrics are still in Taylor’s voice and are hauntingly beautiful. If this ever became a music video, I imagine it would be a combination of an apocalyptic flood and her “Back to December” music video. But I’ve heard from a number of people that this song helped them get over someone in their life and I’m glad that Taylor writes songs that relate to our life and let us feel a little less alone.
And if you don’t like Taylor Swift, I just have one thing to say to you:
|…hate, hate, hate, hate|
Clara Butler is a junior at Barnard and the Girl Talk and Opinions Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.