1989 (album)

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1989
Cover artwork of Taylor Swift's album 1989, showing a cropped photograph of Swift with her face cut off at the eyes
Standard North American cover
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 27, 2014 (2014-10-27)
Studio
GenreSynth-pop
Length48:41
LabelBig Machine
Producer
Taylor Swift chronology
Red
(2012)
1989
(2014)
Reputation
(2017)
Singles from 1989
  1. "Shake It Off"
    Released: August 19, 2014
  2. "Blank Space"
    Released: November 10, 2014
  3. "Style"
    Released: February 9, 2015
  4. "Bad Blood"
    Released: May 17, 2015
  5. "Wildest Dreams"
    Released: August 31, 2015
  6. "Out of the Woods"
    Released: January 19, 2016
  7. "New Romantics"
    Released: February 23, 2016

1989 is the fifth studio album by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on October 27, 2014, by Big Machine Records. Inspired by 1980s synth-pop, Swift conceived 1989 to recalibrate her artistry to pop after critics disputed her status as a country musician when she released the cross-genre Red (2012) to country radio. She titled 1989 after her birth year as a symbolic artistic rebirth and enlisted Max Martin, who produced Red's electronic-influenced pop tracks, as co-executive producer.

Swift recorded 1989 at studios across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Sweden with an ensemble including Martin, Shellback, Jack Antonoff, Ryan Tedder, Nathan Chapman, and Imogen Heap. The synth-pop production is characterized by pulsing synthesizers, programmed drum machines, and processed backing vocals with electronic elements, a stark contrast to the acoustic arrangements of Swift's past albums. The songs expand on Swift's autobiographical songwriting and explore failed romance from a lighthearted perspective.

Swift and Big Machine promoted 1989 extensively through tie-ins and media endorsements but withheld the album from free streaming services, which prompted an industry discourse on the impact of streaming.[note 1] To support the album, Swift embarked on the 1989 World Tour, which was the highest-grossing tour of 2015. Among seven singles released, three peaked atop the US Billboard Hot 100: "Shake It Off", "Blank Space", and "Bad Blood". 1989 spent 11 weeks atop the Billboard 200 and was certified nine-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It has sold over 14 million copies worldwide and was certified multi-platinum in many countries.

When 1989 was first released, music critics generally complimented its production as catchy; they found an emotional engagement in its songwriting but some felt the synth-pop production eroded Swift's artistic integrity—a criticism that journalists and academics retrospectively regarded as rockist. 1989 won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards, and it was listed in all-time album rankings by Rolling Stone and Consequence. Critics and academics have considered 1989 an album that transformed Swift's status to a pop icon and promoted poptimism, but they also highlighted the media scrutiny that ensued. Following a 2019 dispute regarding the ownership of Swift's back catalog, she re-recorded 1989 and released it as 1989 (Taylor's Version) on October 27, 2023.

Background

Taylor Swift had identified as a country musician until she released her fourth studio album, Red, on October 22, 2012.[2][3] The album incorporates eclectic styles of pop and rock, and two of its most successful singles—the US number-one "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and the number-two-peaking "I Knew You Were Trouble"[4]—are pop songs that feature prominent electronic stylings.[5][6] Swift and her then-label Big Machine promoted Red to country radio, and she appeared at country-music awards shows.[7] The album's associated world tour, which from March 2013 to June 2014, was the all-time highest-grossing country tour when it completed.[8] Although Red features a few country-oriented songs, its pop-leaning production and commercial success sparked a media debate over Swift's status as a country artist, to which she replied in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, "I leave the genre labeling to other people."[7][9]

Besides her musicianship, Swift's personal life was another aspect that attracted media attention. Although she had been known as "America's Sweetheart" because of her wholesome and down-to-earth image,[10] her serial romantic relationships blemished her reputation, and a short-lived romance with English singer Harry Styles during promotion of Red generated much media gossip.[11] She disliked how the media excessively focused on her relationships, which overshadowed her professional work, and chose to no longer openly discuss her love life in the press.[12] On Red's follow-up album, Swift continued autobiographical songwriting inspired by her personal life, a cornerstone of her artistry.[13] New creative influences were her relocation from Nashville to New York City in March 2014, which propelled a sense of freedom to embark on new ideas,[14] and the media scrutiny of her public image, which prompted new songwriting themes.[15]

Recording and production

Peter Gabriel wearing a blue shirt, singing into a microphone while holding one fist in the air
Annie Lennox performing on a piano while smiling
The music by such 1980s artists as Peter Gabriel (left) and Annie Lennox (right) inspired 1989.[16]

Swift began writing her fifth studio album in mid-2013, when she was touring to support Red.[17] She viewed Red as an album that straddled the boundary between country and pop and thus wanted its follow-up to be "blatant pop" because she believed, "[If] you chase two rabbits, you lose them both."[18] Inspired by 1980s synth-pop, she viewed the decade as an "experimental time in pop music" when musicians abandoned the established "drums-guitar-bass-whatever" production to make songs with synthesizers, drum pads, and overlapped vocals.[13][19] Two of her main inspirations were Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel—she admired how the former conveyed her "intense" thoughts through music and the latter's synth-pop sound created "an atmosphere behind what he was singing, rather than a produced track".[16]

Swift enlisted Martin and Shellback as prime collaborators because she found "I Knew You Were Trouble" topping the US pop radio chart for seven weeks a motivation to fully embrace the electronic-pop sound that they produced.[4][9] She enjoyed working with them because they often took her ideas in a different direction, which challenged her as a songwriter.[17] Big Machine president Scott Borchetta initially was skeptical of Swift's decision and persuaded her to record a few country songs with instruments such as fiddle, but she rejected his request.[4] Borchetta ultimately agreed with her to not promote the album to country radio, which had been formative in driving Swift's career.[20][21] Martin and Shellback produced seven of the standard edition's thirteen tracks.[22] Swift credited Martin as co-executive producer because he also recorded and produced the vocals on tracks where he was uncredited, which she deemed important in producing a coherent album.[4]

Jack Antonoff was another key producer on 1989; he had worked with Swift on the 1980s new wave-influenced soundtrack single "Sweeter than Fiction" (2013).[23] Antonoff extensively used the Juno-6 synthesizer, which he thought to have "such a sadness and a glory all at once",[24] and co-wrote and co-produced three tracks, two for the standard edition and one for the deluxe edition.[19] "I Wish You Would" stemmed from his experimental sampling of the snare drums on Fine Young Cannibals' 1988 single "She Drives Me Crazy". He played his sample to Swift on an iPhone and sent it to her to re-record.[13] The final track is a remix that retains the distinctive snare drums.[25] For "Out of the Woods", Antonoff sent his finished instrumental track to Swift while she was on a plane.[26] She sent him a voice memo containing the lyrics roughly 30 minutes later.[18] The song was the first time Swift composed lyrics for an existing instrumental.[27]

Swift contacted Ryan Tedder, with whom she had always wanted to work, by a smartphone voice memo.[28] He co-wrote and co-produced two songs—"Welcome to New York" and "I Know Places".[22] For "I Know Places", Swift scheduled a meeting with him at the studio after forming a fully developed idea on her own; the recording process the following day finalized it.[29] Tedder spoke of Swift's work ethic and perfectionism with Time: "Ninety-five times out of 100, if I get a track to where we're happy with it, the artist will say, 'That's amazing.' It's very rare to hear, 'Nope, that's not right.' But the artists I've worked with who are the most successful are the ones who'll tell me to my face, 'No, you're wrong,' two or three times in a row. And she did."[6]

For "Clean", Swift approached British producer Imogen Heap in London after writing the song's lyrics and melody. Heap helped to complete the track by playing instruments on it; the two finished recording after two takes in one day at Heap's studio.[19] Nathan Chapman, Swift's longtime collaborator, co-produced the track "This Love".[30] The album was mastered by Tom Coyne in two days at Sterling Sound Studio in New York City.[22][19] Swift finalized the record upon completing the Asian leg of the Red Tour in mid-2014.[31]

Music and lyrics

Overview

The standard edition of 1989 includes 13 tracks; the deluxe edition includes six additional tracks—three original songs and three voice memos.[32][33] The album prominently incorporates synthesizers, programmed drum machines, pulsating basslines, and processed backing vocals—a stark contrast to the acoustic arrangements of Swift's past albums.[34][35] Because she aimed to recreate authentic 1980s pop, the album is devoid of contemporary hip hop or R&B crossover elements popular in mainstream music at the time.[36] Although Swift declared her move from country to pop on 1989, several reviewers, including The A.V. Club's Marah Eakin,[37] argued that Swift had always been more pop-oriented even on her early country songs.[3] The three voice memos on the deluxe edition contain Swift's discussions of the songwriting process and unfinished demos for three songs—"I Know Places", "I Wish You Would", and "Blank Space".[38] Myles McNutt, a professor in communications and arts, described the voice memos as Swift's effort to claim her authority over 1989, defying pop music's "gendered hierarchy" which had seen a dominance of male songwriters and producers.[33]

As with Swift's past albums, 1989 is primarily about the emotions and reflections resulting from past romantic relationships.[34][39][40] Swift's songwriting retained its storytelling which had been nurtured by her country-music background,[41][42] but it is more ambiguous and embraces pop-music songwriting prioritizing emotional intensity and general ideas over intricate details.[43] Swift's characters in the 1989 songs cease to vilify ex-lovers and failed relationships like those on her past songs did[44][45] and instead look at them through a wistful perspective.[18] She attributed this change of attitude to her realization of "more complex relationships", in which she was also responsible for the downfall instead of completely putting the blame on the other.[16] For USA Today journalist Brian Mansfield, even though the songs were inspired by Swift's personal life, they resonated with a wide audience who found themselves and their situations represented in her songs.[45] The album's liner notes, which include a one-sentence hidden message for each of the 13 songs, collectively tell a story of a girl's tangled relationship. Ultimately, she finds that, "She lost him but she found herself and somehow that was everything."[46]

Songs

Swift's feelings when she first moved to New York City inspired the opening track, "Welcome to New York", a synthesizer-laden song finding Swift embracing her newfound freedom.[30][47] "Blank Space", set over a minimal hip hop-influenced beat, satirizes the media's perception of Swift as a promiscuous woman who dates male celebrities only to gather songwriting material.[37][48] The production of "Style", a funk-flavored track, was inspired by "funky electronic music" artists such as Daft Punk;[19][49] its lyrics detail an unhealthy relationship.[50] "Out of the Woods" is an indietronica-flavored synth-pop song featuring heavy synthesizers, layered percussions and looping background vocals, resulting in a chaotic sound.[27][51] Swift said that the song, which was inspired by a relationship that evoked constant anxiety because of its fragility, "best represents" 1989.[52][53] "All You Had to Do Was Stay" laments a past relationship and originated from Swift's dream of desperately shouting "Stay" to an ex-lover against her will.[54]

The dance-pop track "Shake It Off", sharing a loosely similar sentiment with "Blank Space", sees Swift expressing disinterest in her detractors and their negative remarks on her image.[55][56] The bubblegum pop song "I Wish You Would", which uses pulsing snare drums and sizzling guitars, finds Swift longing for the return of a past relationship.[57][58][59] Swift said that "Bad Blood", a track that incorporates heavy, stomping drums,[48] is about betrayal by an unnamed female peer, alleged to be Katy Perry, with whom Swift was involved in a feud that received widespread media coverage.[18][60] "Wildest Dreams" speaks of a dangerous affair with an apparently untrustworthy man and incorporates a sultry, dramatic atmosphere accompanied by string instruments.[19][49][61] On "How You Get the Girl", a bubblegum pop track featuring guitar strums over a heavy disco-styled beat, Swift hints at her desire to reunite with an ex-lover.[49][58][62] "This Love" is a soft rock-flavored electropop ballad;[47][48] music critic Jon Caramanica opined the song could be mistaken as "a concession to country" because of the production by Swift's longtime co-producer Nathan Chapman.[30]

The penultimate track of the standard edition is "I Know Places", which expresses Swift's desire to preserve an unstable relationship. Swift stated that it serves as a loose sequel to "Out of the Woods".[52] Accompanied by dark, intense drum and bass-influenced beats, the song uses a metaphor of foxes running away from hunters to convey hiding from scrutiny.[61][63] The final track on the standard edition, "Clean", is an understated soft rock and synth-folk song talking about the struggles to escape from a toxic yet addictive relationship; the protagonist is "finally clean" after a destructive yet cleansing torrential storm.[47][64][65] "Wonderland", the first of the three bonus songs on the deluxe edition, alludes to the fantasy book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to describe a relationship tumbling down a "rabbit hole".[25] Inspired by Antonoff and Lena Dunham's relationship, the ballad "You Are in Love" is about an ideal relationship from another woman's perspective.[66][67] The final song's title, "New Romantics", refers to the cultural movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[25] With a strong 1980s synth-pop sound, the song sees Swift reigniting her hopes and energy after the heartbreaks she had endured.[44][68]

Title and artwork

Swift named 1989 after her birth year and said it signified a symbolic rebirth of her image and artistry.[19][69] As creative director for the album's packaging,[22] Swift included pictures taken with a Polaroid instant camera—a photographic method popular in the 1980s.[70][71] The cover is a Polaroid portrait of Swift's face cut off at the eyes, which Swift said would bring about a sense of mystery: "I didn't want people to know the emotional DNA of this album. I didn't want them to see a smiling picture on the cover and think this was a happy album, or see a sad-looking facial expression and think, oh, this is another breakup record."[72][73] She is wearing red lipstick and a lavender sweatshirt embroidered with flying seagulls.[70][74] Her initials are written with black marker on the bottom left, and the title 1989 on the bottom right.[71][73]

Each CD copy of 1989 includes a packet, one of five available sets, of 13 random Polaroid pictures, made up from 65 different pictures.[75] The pictures portray Swift in different settings such as backdrops of New York City and recording sessions with the producers.[76] The photos are out-of-focus, off-framed, with a sepia-tinged treatment, and feature the 1989 songs' lyrics written with black marker on the bottom.[71] Polaroid Corporation chief executive Scott Hardy reported that the 1989 Polaroid concept propelled a revival in instant film, especially among the hipster subculture who valued the "nostalgia and retro element of what [their] company stands for".[77] Billboard in 2022 ranked the cover of 1989 as one of the 50 greatest album covers of all time.[78]

Release and promotion

Swift marketed 1989 as her first "official pop" album.[79] To bolster sales, Swift and Big Machine implemented an extensive marketing plan.[80] As observed by Maryn Wilkinson, an academic specialized in media studies, Swift adopted a "zany" aspect for her 1989 persona.[note 2] As Swift had been associated with a hardworking and authentic persona through her country songs, her venture to "artificial, manufactured" pop required intricate maneuvering to retain her sense of authenticity.[82] She used social media extensively to communicate with her fan base. To attract a younger audience, she had promoted her country songs online previously.[83] Her social media posts showcased her personal life, making fans feel engaged with her authentic self and thus cemented their support while attracting a new fan base besides her already large one.[81][79]

She also promoted the album through product endorsements with Subway, Keds, and Diet Coke.[84] Swift held a live stream via Yahoo! sponsored by ABC News on August 18, where she announced the details of 1989 and released the lead single "Shake It Off",[85] which debuted atop the US Billboard Hot 100.[86] To connect further with her supporters, Swift selected a number of fans based on their engagement on social media and invited them to private album-listening sessions called "the 1989 Secret Sessions".[83] They took place at her properties in Los Angeles, New York City, Nashville, Rhode Island, and London throughout September 2014.[87]

Swift performing on The 1989 World Tour
Swift on the 1989 World Tour, the highest-grossing tour of 2015

The album's standard and deluxe editions were released for download on digital platforms on October 27, 2014.[88] In the United States and Canada, the deluxe edition was available exclusively through Target Corporation.[28][89] The songs "Out of the Woods" and "Welcome to New York" were released through the iTunes Store as promotional singles on October 14 and 20, respectively.[90] 1989 was supported by a string of commercially successful singles,[91] including Billboard Hot 100 number ones "Blank Space" and "Bad Blood" featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar, and top-10 hits "Style" and "Wildest Dreams".[92] Other singles were "Out of the Woods", previously a promotional single,[93] and "New Romantics".[94] The deluxe edition bonus tracks, which had been available exclusively through Target, were released on the US iTunes Store in 2015.[95]

On November 3, 2014, Swift removed her entire catalog from Spotify, the largest on-demand streaming service at the time,[75] arguing that their ad-supported free service undermined the platform's premium service, which provides higher royalties for songwriters.[96] She had written an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in July 2014, expressing her concerns over the decline of the album as an economic entity following the rise of free, on-demand streaming.[97] Big Machine and Swift kept 1989 only on paid subscription-required platforms such as Rhapsody and Beats Music.[80] This move prompted an industry-wide debate on the impact of streaming on declining record sales during the digital era.[79]

In June 2015, Swift stated that she would remove 1989 from Apple Music, criticizing the service for not offering royalties to artists during their free three-month trial period.[98] After Apple Music announced that it would pay artists royalties during the free trial period, she agreed to leave 1989 on their service; she then featured in a series of commercials for Apple Music.[99][100] She re-added her entire catalog on Spotify in June 2017.[1] Swift began rerecording her first six studio albums, including 1989, in November 2020.[101] The decision came after talent manager Scooter Braun acquired the masters of Swift's first six studio albums, which Swift had been trying to buy for years, following her departure from Big Machine in November 2018.[102]

In addition to online promotion, Swift made many appearances on radio and television.[80] She performed at awards shows including the MTV Video Music Awards[103] and the American Music Awards.[104] Her appearances on popular television talk shows included Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Late Show with David Letterman and Good Morning America.[80] She was part of the line-up for the iHeartRadio Music Festival,[105] CBS Radio's "We Can Survive" benefit concert,[106] the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show[107] and the Jingle Ball Tour.[108] The album's supporting tour, the 1989 World Tour, ran from May to December 2015. It kicked off in Tokyo,[109] and concluded in Melbourne.[110] Swift invited various special guests on tour with her, including singers and fashion models the media called Swift's "squad" which received media coverage.[111] The 1989 World Tour was the highest-grossing tour of 2015, earning over $250 million at the box office.[112] In North America alone, the tour grossed $181.5 million, setting the record for highest-grossing US tour by a woman.[113] Swift broke this record in 2018 with her Reputation Stadium Tour.[114]

Commercial performance

US music-industry publications were fond of predicting 1989's sales performance;[80] the music industry had seen declining record sales brought by digital download and streaming platforms,[115] but Swift had established herself as a best-selling album artist in the digital era: her last two albums, Speak Now (2010) and Red (2012), each sold over one million copies within one week.[79] Many industry personnel questioned whether Swift abandoning country music and withdrawing from streaming would impact the album's sales.[79] During one week leading to 1989's release, publications predicted the album would sell short of one million copies in its debut week, with estimations from 600,000 to 750,000[115] to 800,000–900,000.[116] After 1989 was released, Billboard closely monitored its sales and raised the first-week prediction from 900,000[117] to one million within 24 hours,[118] 1.2 million within 48 hours,[119] and 1.3 million after six days of tracking.[120]

Through November 2, 2014, 1989 debuted atop the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 1.287 million copies, according to data compiled by Billboard for the chart dated November 15, 2014. Swift became the first artist to have three albums each sell one million copies within the first week, and 1989 was the first album released in 2014 to exceed one million copies.[121] 1989 topped the Billboard 200 for 11 non-consecutive weeks[122] and spent the first full year after its release in the top 10 of the Billboard 200.[123] By September 2020, the album had spent 300 weeks on the chart.[124] 1989 exceeded sales of five million copies in US sales by July 2015, the fastest-selling album since 2004 up to that point.[note 3] With 6.215 million copies sold by the end of 2019, the album was the third-best-selling album of the 2010s decade in the United States.[127] The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album nine-times platinum, which denotes nine million album-equivalent units.[128] As of August 2023, 1989 had accumulated 12.3 million album-equivalent units in the United States.[129]

1989 also reached number one on the record charts of various European and Oceanic countries, including Australia, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.[130] The album received multi-platinum certifications in many countries, such as Australia (eleven-times platinum),[131] Austria (triple platinum),[132] Belgium (four-times platinum),[133] New Zealand (nine-times platinum),[134] and Norway (triple platinum).[135] In Canada, it was certified six-times platinum by Music Canada (MC)[136] and sold 542,000 copies to become the decade's fifth-best-selling album.[137] It was the fastest-selling album by a female artist of 2014 in the United Kingdom,[138] where it earned a five-times platinum certification from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[139] In the Asia-Pacific markets, 1989 was certified platinum in Japan and Singapore,[140][141] and it sold over one million units as of August 2019 to become one of the best-selling digital albums in China.[142] According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), 1989 was the second-best-selling album of 2014 and third-best-selling of 2015.[143][144] By 2022, the album was Swift's best-selling and had sold 14 million copies worldwide.[145]

After Swift embarked on her sixth headlining world tour, the Eras Tour, in March 2023, sales and streams of Swift's discography resurged.[146] 1989 reached new peaks on the albums charts in Greece (number one),[147] Austria (number four),[148] Sweden (number 17).[149] It appeared on new albums charts of Argentina (number one),[150] Uruguay (number seven),[151] and Iceland (number 25).[152]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.4/10[153]
Metacritic76/100[154]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[155]
The A.V. ClubB+[37]
Cuepoint (Expert Witness)A−[156]
The Daily Telegraph[64]
The Guardian[61]
Los Angeles Times[49]
NME7/10[47]
Pitchfork7.7/10[44]
Rolling Stone[62]
Spin7/10[63]

When 1989 was first released, contemporary music critics gave it generally positive reviews.[9] On Metacritic, a review aggregator site that compiles reviews from mainstream publications and assigns a weighted average score out of 100, 1989 received a score of 76 that was based on 29 reviews.[154] AnyDecentMusic? compiled 28 reviews and gave the album a score of 7.4 out of 10.[153]

Most reviewers highlighted Swift's mature perception of love and heartbreak.[157] The A.V. Club's Marah Eakin praised her shift from overtly romantic struggles to more positive themes of accepting and celebrating the moment.[37] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph commended the album's "[sharp] observation and emotional engagement" that contrasted with lyrics found in "commercialised pop".[64] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian lauded Swift's artistic control that resulted in a "perfectly attuned" 1980s-styled synth-pop authenticity.[61]

The album's 1980s synth-pop production divided critics. In an enthusiastic review, The New York Times critic Jon Caramanica complimented Swift's avoidance of contemporary hip hop/R&B crossover trends, writing, "Ms. Swift is aiming somewhere even higher, a mode of timelessness that few true pop stars...even bother aspiring to."[30] Writing for Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield characterized the record as "deeply weird, feverishly emotional, wildly enthusiastic".[62] In a review published by Cuepoint, Robert Christgau applauded her departure from country to experiment with new styles, but felt this shift was not radical.[156] NME reviewer Matthew Horton considered Swift's transition to pop "a success", save for the inclusion of the "soft-rock mush" of "This Love" and "Clean".[47] Shane Kimberlin writing for musicOMH deemed Swift's transition to pop on 1989 "not completely successful", but praised her lyrics for incorporating "enough heart and personality", which he found rare in the mainstream pop scene.[158]

Some critics lamented that Swift's move from country to pop eroded her authenticity as a songwriter, particularly because of pop music's "capitalist nature" as opposed to country music's emphasis on authenticity.[159][145] Slant Magazine's Annie Galvin observed that Swift maintained the clever songwriting that had distinguished her earlier releases, but was disappointed with the new musical style.[59] Entertainment Weekly's Adam Markovitz and Spin's Andrew Unterberger were critical of the heavy synthesizers, which undermined Swift's conventionally vivid lyrics.[63][160] AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the album as "a sparkling soundtrack to an aspirational lifestyle" that fails to transcend the "transient transparencies of modern pop".[155] Mikael Wood, in his review for the Los Angeles Times, found the album inauthentic, but acknowledged her effort to emulate the music of an era she did not experience.[49]

Awards and rankings

1989 won industry awards, including Favorite Pop/Rock Album at the American Music Awards[161] and Album of the Year (Western) at the Japan Gold Disc Awards in 2015,[162] and Album of the Year at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in 2016.[163] It also earned nominations for Best International Pop/Rock Album at the Echo Music Prize,[164] International Album of the Year at the Juno Awards,[165] and Best International Album at the Los Premios 40 Principales in 2015.[166] At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards in 2016, 1989 won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.[167] Swift became the first female solo artist to win Album of the Year twice—her first win was for Fearless (2008) in 2010.[168]

Many publications ranked 1989 among the best albums of 2014. Those who placed the album within their top 10 included Billboard (first),[169] American Songwriter (4th),[170] Time (4th),[171] The Daily Telegraph (5th),[172] The Music (5th),[173] Drowned in Sound (6th),[174] Complex (8th),[175] and Rolling Stone (10th).[176] Other publications that featured 1989 in their lists were The Guardian,[177] The A.V. Club,[178] PopMatters,[179] Pitchfork,[180] and MusicOMH.[181] The album ranked 7th on The Village Voice's 2014 Pazz & Jop mass critics' poll[182] and featured in individual critics' lists by Jon Caramanica for The New York Times (7th),[183] Ken Tucker for NPR (3rd),[184] and Brian Mansfield for USA Today (1st).[185]

Legacy

Cultural influence

1989 transformed Swift's image from a country singer to a pop icon.[186][187] Time journalist Raisa Bruner wrote, "1989 changed the music industry forever and cemented Swift's place as not only an artist with longevity, but a star who would make music on her own terms."[188] It was the second album to spawn five or more US top-10 singles in the 2010s decade,[note 4] and made Swift the second woman to have two albums each score five US top-10 hits.[note 5] Its singles received heavy rotation on US radio over a year and a half following its release, which Billboard noted as "a kind of cultural omnipresence" that was rare for a 2010s album.[191] Academic Shaun Cullen, who specializes in the humanities, described Swift as a figure "at the cutting edge of postmillennial pop".[192] Swift continued to incorporate 1980s-synth-pop first explored on 1989 to her subsequent releases, namely the albums Reputation (2017), Lover (2019), and Midnights (2022).[111][193] Antonoff continued working with Swift on those albums and collaborated with other musicians to commercial success, and he credited Swift as the "first person" who recognized him a producer.[193]

Ryan Adams performing
Rock singer-songwriter Ryan Adams (pictured) released his track-by-track cover of 1989 in September 2015.

Artists who cited 1989 as an influence included American singer-songwriter Conan Gray,[194] American actor and musician Jared Leto,[195] and British pop band the Vamps, who took inspiration from 1989 while composing their album Wake Up (2015).[196] American director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson cited 1989 as an inspiration for her feature film debut, Someone Great (2019).[197] American rock singer-songwriter Ryan Adams released his track-by-track cover album of 1989 in September 2015. Finding it a "joyful" record, he listened to the album frequently to cope with his broken marriage in late 2014.[198] On his rendition, Adams incorporated acoustic instruments, which contrast with the original's electronic production.[199][200] Swift was delighted with Adams' cover and told him, "What you did with my album was like actors changing emphasis."[201]

Along with 1989's success, Swift's status as a pop star became a subject of media scrutiny. Swift described herself as a feminist,[202] but her public appearances with singers and fashion models whom the media called her "squad" gave the impression that she did so just to keep her name afloat in news headlines.[111] Kristy Fairclough, a professor in popular culture and film, commented, "Her shifting aesthetic and allegiances appear confusing in an overall narrative that presents Taylor Swift as the centre of the cultural universe."[111] Swift's disputes with several celebrities, including rapper Kanye West, diminished the sense of authenticity that she had maintained.[100][note 6] Swift announced a prolonged hiatus following the 1989 World Tour because "people might need a break from [her]".[100] Her follow-up album, Reputation, was influenced by the media commotion surrounding her celebrity.[204]

Critical reevaluation

After Adams released his 1989 cover in 2015, Pitchfork attracted criticism when it reviewed his rendition while neglecting Swift's artistic output.[205] In the New Statesman, Anna Leszkiewicz wrote that the "most highbrow music critics" praised Adams for transforming Swift's 1989 from a "cheesy" album to a more serious one.[206] The philosopher Alison Stone argued that this critical reaction was a result of both rockism and sexism. According to Stone, music journalism assumed that Swift's pop music had its "feminine" qualities of "superficiality and triviality", which it deemed inferior to Adams's indie rock and "singer-songwriter" identities that supposedly embodied authenticity and meaningfulness.[207] Stone and Slate's Forrest Wickman commented that this was in line with Pitchfork and other rock-music critics' tendency to prefer male-oriented, "edgy" musicians to "mainstream" acts.[205][208]

Retrospective reviews have considered 1989 an artistically accomplished album. Paste's Ellen Johnson wrote that it was "one of the best American pop albums of all time",[209] and Esquire's Alex Bilmes regarded it as Swift's masterpiece and a modern classic.[210] The Guardian's Ian Gormely wrote that 1989 made Swift the catalyst for poptimism—a critical reassessment of "mainstream" pop music that had been largely dismissed by "indie" music audiences.[211] Lucy Ford of GQ said by embracing synth-pop, Swift "[proved] genres don't indicate authenticity".[212] For many critics, the album stood out in contemporary music because Swift deliberately avoided contemporary hip-hop trends to incorporate 1980s/1990s musical influences, which made it an ambitious album with a nostalgic and classic sound;[note 7] the BBC's Rob Freeman described the sound as "retrofuturist".[215] NME's Hannah Mylrea deemed 1989 Swift's best album with a refined production and sharp lyrics.[216] For the Alternative Press's Kelsey Barnes and Slant Magazine's Annie Galvin, the album fostered Swift's artistic autonomy to experiment with different sounds and songwriting tropes.[217][218] Some critics, such as Lucy Harbron from Clash and Neil Smith from the BBC, regarded 1989 as a pioneer for artists who experimented beyond their perceived musical boundaries.[219][220]

Many publications ranked 1989 among their best albums of the 2010s decade—according to Metacritic, it is the 16th-most prominently acclaimed album on decade-end lists.[221] The A.V. Club[222] and Slant Magazine placed it in the top ten of their lists,[223] and it featured in the top 50 on lists by Billboard,[224] Consequence,[91] NME,[225] Paste,[226] Rolling Stone,[227] and Uproxx.[228] Consequence additionally ranked it sixth on their list of the best 2010s-decade pop albums,[229] and Variety critic Chris Willman ranked it first on his personal list.[230] The Guardian featured the album at number 89 on a 2019 list of the 100 best albums of the 21st century.[231] The Times journalist Ed Potton dubbed it the "album of the century".[232] On Pitchfork's readers' poll for the 2010s decade, it ranked 44th.[233] 1989 placed at number 393 on Rolling Stone's 2023 revision of their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time,[234] and number 39 on Consequence's The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time (2022).[235]

2023 re-recording

In November 2020, after a dispute over the ownership of Swift's back catalog, she began re-recording her first six studio albums that had been released by Big Machine. By re-recording them, Swift had the full ownership of the masters, which granted her full authorization of using her music for commercial purposes and therefore substituted the Big Machine-owned masters.[236] Swift released the re-recording of 1989, subtitled Taylor's Version, on October 27, 2023, nine years after the original release of 1989. It was the fourth re-recorded album in the series, following the Taylor's Version re-recordings of Fearless (2021), Red (2021), and Speak Now (2023).[237] 1989 (Taylor's Version)'s standard track-list contains re-recorded versions of all tracks on the deluxe 1989 edition and five previously unreleased "From the Vault" tracks.[238] After the announcement of 1989 (Taylor's Version), the original album re-entered the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart dated August 26, 2023.[239]

Track listing

1989 – Standard edition[22]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Welcome to New York"
3:32
2."Blank Space"
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:51
3."Style"
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Payami
3:51
4."Out of the Woods"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
  • Martin[a]
3:55
5."All You Had to Do Was Stay"
  • Swift
  • Martin
3:13
6."Shake It Off"
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:39
7."I Wish You Would"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
3:27
8."Bad Blood"
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:31
9."Wildest Dreams"
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:40
10."How You Get the Girl"
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
4:07
11."This Love"Swift4:10
12."I Know Places"
  • Swift
  • Tedder
  • Swift
  • Tedder
  • Zancanella
3:15
13."Clean"
  • Swift
  • Heap
4:30
Total length:48:41
1989 – Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)[240]
No.TitleWriter(s)ProducersLength
14."Wonderland"
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
4:05
15."You Are in Love"
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
4:27
16."New Romantics"
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
  • Martin
  • Shellback
3:50
Total length:60:23
1989 – CD deluxe edition (bonus tracks)[89]
No.TitleWriter(s)ProducersLength
17."I Know Places" (piano/vocal voice memo)
  • Swift
  • Tedder
Swift3:36
18."I Wish You Would" (track/vocal voice memo)
  • Swift
  • Antonoff
Swift1:47
19."Blank Space" (guitar/vocal voice memo)
  • Swift
  • Martin
  • Shellback
Swift2:11
Total length:68:37

Notes

  • ^a signifies a vocal producer
  • ^b signifies an additional producer

Personnel

Adapted from the liner notes of 1989[22]

Production
Instruments
  • Taylor Swift – heartbeat, claps, shouts, acoustic guitar, lead vocals, background vocals
  • Max Martin – keyboard, piano, claps, shouts, background vocals
  • Shellback – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, keyboard, percussion, shouts, stomps, additional guitars, guitar, knees, noise, claps, drums, background vocals
  • Imogen Heap – vibraphone, drums, mbira, percussion, keyboards, background vocals
  • Jack Antonoff – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, background vocals
  • Ryan Tedder – piano, Juno, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drum programming, additional synth, background vocals
  • Niklas Ljungfelt – guitar
  • Jonas Thander – saxophone
  • Jonas Lindeborg – trumpet
  • Magnus Wiklund – trombone
  • Ali Payami – keyboards
  • Noel Zancanella – drum programming, synthesizer, bass, additional synth
  • Nathan Chapman – electric guitar, bass, keyboards, drums
  • Mattman & Robin – drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, percussion
  • Greg Kurstin – keyboards
Art
  • Taylor Swift – creative director
  • Sarah Barlow – photography
  • Stephen Schofield – photography
  • Josh & Bethany Newman – art direction
  • Austin Hale – design
  • Amy Fucci – design
  • Joseph Cassell – wardrobe stylist

Charts

Decade-end charts

2010s decade-end charts for 1989
Chart (2010s) Position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[357] 8
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[137] 5
UK Albums (OCC)[358] 25
US Billboard 200[359] 2

All-time charts

All-time charts for 1989
Chart Position
Irish Female Albums (IRMA)[note 8] 36
US Billboard 200[note 9] 64
US Billboard 200 – Women[note 10] 5

Certifications and sales

Certifications for 1989, with pure sales where available
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[131] 11× Platinum 770,000
Austria (IFPI Austria)[132] 3× Platinum 45,000*
Belgium (BEA)[133] 4× Platinum 120,000
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[365] Platinum 40,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[365]
Digital sales
Gold 20,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[136] 6× Platinum 542,000[note 11]
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[366] 2× Platinum 40,000
France (SNEP)[367] Platinum 100,000
Germany (BVMI)[368] Platinum 200,000
Italy (FIMI)[369] Platinum 50,000
Japan (RIAJ)[140] Platinum 250,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[370] 3× Platinum+Gold 210,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[371] Gold 20,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[134] 9× Platinum 135,000
Norway (IFPI Norway)[135] 3× Platinum 60,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[372] 2× Platinum 40,000
Singapore (RIAS)[141] 3× Platinum 30,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[373] Gold 20,000
Sweden (GLF)[374] Gold 20,000
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[375] Gold 10,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[139] 5× Platinum 1,127,000[note 12]
United States (RIAA)[128] 9× Platinum 6,472,000[note 13]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Release dates and formats for 1989
Region Date Edition(s) Format(s) Label Ref.
Various October 27, 2014
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Digital download Big Machine [88][378]
Canada Standard
  • CD
  • digital download
[379][380]
United States Big Machine [381][382]
Canada Deluxe CD [89]
United States
Germany
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Universal [383][384]
United Kingdom Virgin EMI [385][386]
Australia October 28, 2014 Standard CD Universal [387]
Japan October 29, 2014 Deluxe CD+DVD [388]
Canada December 9, 2014 Standard Vinyl [389]
United States Big Machine [390]
United States December 15, 2014
Digital download [391]
Mainland China December 30, 2014 Deluxe CD Universal [392]
Canada March 3, 2015
  • Deluxe
  • karaoke
Digital download Big Machine [393]
United States April 14, 2015
  • Standard
  • karaoke
CD+G/DVD [394]
Canada May 14, 2015
  • Deluxe
  • karaoke
CD+G [395]
Various June 8, 2017
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Streaming[note 14] [396]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Swift made 1989 available on free streaming platforms again in June 2017.[1]
  2. ^ Wilkinson used "zany" to describe Swift as "a figure who emphasises the pop 'performance' as one of hard work instead, because she exposed its construction as one that does not come 'naturally'".[81]
  3. ^ The record was later surpassed by Adele's 25 (2015).[125][126]
  4. ^ Following Katy Perry's Teenage Dream (2010)[189]
  5. ^ After Janet Jackson; her first album to have five US top-10 entries was Fearless (2008).[190]
  6. ^ Swift and West previously had a publicized adversary at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where West interrupted Swift's acceptance speech for Best Female Video. Their so-called feud emerged again when West released his 2016 single "Famous", in which West incorporates a lyric referencing Swift. West claimed that he had asked for Swift's approval, which she objected to.[203]
  7. ^ Attributed to The Guardian's Ian Gormely,[211] GQ's Jay Willis,[213] and Vulture' Sasha Geffen[214]
  8. ^ Compiled by the Official Charts Company as of March 2019[360]
  9. ^ Complied by Billboard for albums 1963–2015[361][362]
  10. ^ Compiled by Billboard for albums 1963–2017[363][364]
  11. ^ Canadian sales for 1989 as of January 2020[137]
  12. ^ UK sales for 1989 as of October 2022[376]
  13. ^ US sales for 1989 as of January 2024[377]
  14. ^ 1989 was made available on subscription-free streaming platforms on June 8, 2017, and had been available on subscription-based platforms since its release.

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Bibliography

External links