Taylor Swift, the country-pop-rock songstress who just recently released her new album, 1989. I admit I was very excited to listen to this album, amongst all the ones she released, because it's a shift from the usual Swift - it's purely pop, not the guitar driven country music, but more of synth and drums with late '80s, early '90s feel. It's a refreshing album, whose references to a lost love is still evident in the songs (but lesser, I think!), but in a catchier, less sappy tunes we are so used to hearing from her.
I am a new listener, and now a new fan. Some would hate her for being so transparent, especially with her music, but this is what makes her admirable. She's maybe oversharing, but in today's age, who is not? The only difference is we live in filters, in sugar coating, meanwhile she tells it as it is, while under the limelight. I have never followed her career so intently. To be honest I just started truly liking her with her 2012 album, Red, where we can already sense a hint of change in her direction. If you call yourself a fan and have not sensed that, how did that happen?
Now going back to her 1989, which is named so after her birth year, I have seen people reacting how different this new release sounds and that they miss the old Taylor Swift. But what do we want her to do? Get stuck for not being herself? Reading her notes on the album, as well as the various interviews she has given, Swift said the change was something she has always wanted to do and if she doesn't do it, she might forever regret not even trying.
A lot of artists have tried experimenting with their career, there is of course Madonna, the queen of pop and re-invention, as the most evident example, among others. While Mad's is a success story, there are some whose career went into oblivion, never ever had a chance to recover, because they risked the change. Maybe they did it wrong? Maybe the success of the change hit them so hard, they wasted the opportunity? We would not know. But regardless if it was a great feat or a doom, isn't taking a risk the very same thing that should drive all of us? The only successful people I know have pushed boundaries and dared to reach heights as compared to their play-it-safe contemporaries. There might be a chance for us to fail, but we will never know what will happen if we won't push for it.
The point is, why are we limiting ourselves to what is expected? Not because it has worked over and over, it does not mean we need to get stuck. For that, I admire Taylor Swift for the path she has decided to cross. I love the new album. It's worth the risk.
After listening to the album for three straight days (okay, mostly when I wake up and get home from work and while writing this blog), I recommend the tracks Welcome to New York, Style, and Out of the Woods.