Taylor Swift adopts ‘80s pop on 1989
The fifth studio album from acclaimed global superstar Taylor Swift is described in a press announcement as her “most sonically cohesive collection.” The 13-track project on Big Machine/Republic is titled 1989 and finds Swift ready to “blaze into the next phase of her still-young career.” She says the new album was inspired by the “experimental nature of late '80s pop music,” and features collaborations with Fun.'s Jack Antonoff, Shellback (Maroon 5, Usher, Christina Aguilera), and Max Martin (Britney Spears, Pink, Katy Perry), who co-executive produced the album with the ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ singer.
Swift, 24, says it takes her a couple of years to make an album, telling Grammy.com, “I like to take two years to make an album because I like to give myself time to evolve and change and challenge myself and try new things," she explains in an exclusive interview. “I tend to write for the entire two-year process but usually the things I write in the first six to eight months get thrown out. Not because they weren't great songs but because they don't fit my idea of what the new album should be.”
“When people tell me they like one of my albums, I don’t take that as ‘So I should make that again,’ I take that as ‘Great … now I want them to like this album for different reasons.’” Swift says one of her goals for 1989 was for it to have its own sound that “was not all over the place.” She goes on to tell Grammy.com she was inspired by the risk-taking and experimentation that distinguished much of ‘80s music. “Everybody was bucking the system … I loved the way people that people were living their lives,” she says.
Lead single ‘Shake It Off’ is currently No. 1 on the Mediabase Hot AC radio airplay chart and No. 2 at Top 40. The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Swift's second single to debut atop the chart, and only the 22nd song to do it in the history of the Hot 100. Swift says follow up single, ‘Out of the Woods,’ was co-written with Jack Antonoff. She tells Rolling Stone part of it “reads like a diary” and parts of it “read like something 100,000 people should be screaming all together.”
Billboard.com calls 1989 “Swift's best work,” adding the album is a “sophisticated pop tour de force that deserves to be as popular commercially as with Robyn-worshipping bloggers; an album that finds Swift meeting Katy and Miley and Pink on their home turf and staring them down.” Time.com notes that the “expertly crafted sound” of 1989 shifts the focus away from her past and onto her music, “which is as smart and confident as it’s ever been.” Meanwhile, TheGuardian.com asks, “Why do people take Taylor Swift so much more seriously than her peers? Great songs, smart turns of phrase and a noticeable lack of the usual hollow pop platitudes all help.”
Swift is currently promoting 1989 with a series of television appearances on morning news shows, the afternoon and late-night talk circuit, and as a guest mentor on The Voice. She’s also preparing for the annual Jingle Ball in L.A. (Dec. 5) and New York (Dec. 12). A full world tour behind 1989 is planned for early 2015.
Watch the official music video for ‘Shake It Off,’ the first single off the new Taylor Swift album, 1989.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania. She began performing in her preteen years by taking the stage as part of a children's theater troupe, and was soon singing karaoke as well as frequenting open-mic nights. She also sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ before a Philadelphia 76ers game when she was eleven.
* Swift learned to play guitar at age 12, modeling early songwriting attempts after crossover artists such as Shania Twain and Dixie Chicks. Her parents’ realized she had a special talent and began making regular visits to Nashville so that Swift could perform and meet with local songwriters.
* The Swift family eventually moved to Nashville and Swift began performing at the renowned Bluebird Café. She was recruited by Scott Borchetta and signed to his newly formed Big Machine Records label, becoming the youngest songwriter ever hired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Her debut single, ‘Tim McGraw,’ appeared in August 2006, and introduced Swift’s formula for writing songs about her experiences as a lovelorn teenager.
* Taylor Swift became one of country's newest and youngest faces in 2006 when the 16-year-old released her self-titled debut album. The first-time effort went platinum and quickly catapulted Swift as a rising star behind a handful of consecutive Top 10 singles (a record for a female solo artist).
* Swift received a Grammy nomination as Best New Artist at the 2007 Grammy Awards, losing out to Amy Winehouse. Her sophomore album, Fearless, arrived in November 2008, topping the Billboard 200 for 11 non-consecutive weeks and setting various records, including the longest chart-topper by a female country artist.
* Fearless earned four Grammy Awards for Best Country Album and Album Of The Year. The album also spawned five singles including the monster crossover hit, ‘Love Story,’ which sold more than five million copies in the U.S. alone. In addition, the song ranks internationally as one of the best-selling singles of all time.
* In addition to being a seven-time Grammy winner—including being the youngest artist in history to earn the coveted Album of the Year Grammy—Swift is the best-selling digital music artist of all time, and the only female artist in music history (fourth overall) to twice have an album hit the one million mark for first-week sales. Swift accomplished the feat with the release of her third and fourth albums: 2010’s Speak Now and 2012's Red.
* Taylor Swift is the first artist since the Beatles (and the only female artist in history) to log six or more weeks at No. 1 with three consecutive studio albums. Billboard's youngest-ever Woman of the Year was also named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. As a philanthropist, she supports arts education, children's literacy, natural disaster relief, LGBT anti-discrimination efforts, and charities for sick children.