Opinion: Will Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ be remembered?

Music blogger, David Bradford, discusses Taylor Swift’s album “1989” and if it will be remembered as a staple in pop music lore.

Photo by Ben Miller, creativecommons.org

[title_box title=”Will Taylor Swift’s 1989 be remembered?”]

Oct. 27 marks the one-year anniversary of Taylor Swift’s magnum opus “1989”, an album that was the final nail in Taylor’s transition-from-country-to-pop coffin.

Or course, we have all been exposed to Swift’s career from the start. She initially found success with her 2006 self-titled debut album. Ever since, Swift’s career has been chronicled with great detail, with everything from her relationship with Harry Styles to the 2009 VMA incident with Kanye West being engrained in the mainstream’s memory.

Prior to the release of “1989”, Swift was the victim of immense ridicule from music listeners as well as her peers at times. She was accused of dating people just so she could write a song about their breakup.

While there is validity to this claim, after the 2012 release of “Red”, which saw Swift venture even further away from country into pop territory than previous releases, Swift transformed. No longer a shy and awkward teenage star, Swift is now pop’s boldest and most confident princess. She ditched Nashville for New York City, started beef with the former pop princess Katy Perry, attacked Apple Music’s streaming service, made her group of friends the most famous clique since the Rat Pack, and has incorporated other super stars in her live shows; ranging from musical guests like The Weeknd and St. Vincent to athletes such as Russell Wilson and Kobe Bryant.

Those who used to “hate, hate, hate” on Swift have now hopped on the bandwagon. Just when we thought she couldn’t get any bigger, there is no more desired act in pop music. With this newfound immense success, this begs the question: Will “1989” be remembered as a staple in pop music lore?

The answer to that question is no. Sure, “1989” has unparalleled success considering the decline of the albums. As of now, it has sold over eight million copies world wide, including over a million in the United States during its opening weekend. Its five music videos have garnered over three billion views. All five singles have been top ten hits, with three reaching number one.

However, the album is too much of a knock off on already established genres and artists. “Bad Blood” is a clear Avril Lavigne rip off, while “Wildest Dreams” sees Swift channeling her inner Lana Del Rey. “1989” is a reinterpretation of 1980’s synth pop and doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to pop the same way albums like “Thriller” by Michael Jackson did.

Yet, “1989” is important because of what it has done for Taylor Swift, rather than what it has done for music. The fact that she was able to transition from country into pop so smoothly and with such success will be her true lasting legacy.

Edited by Jessica Carr

Featured Image by Ben Miller, obtained via creativecommons.org