For this week's post, I did something I never thought that I would do -- I listened to Taylor Swift. If you know me at all, then you know exactly how I feel about Taylor Swift's music; I don't exactly like it. That being said, I can also honestly say that I have never given any of her full albums a real chance. I've only heard her hits that were on the radio and based my opinions off of those. That being said, I have heard so many people say great things about her latest album, 1989, so I figured I would do the right thing and give her a fair chance before moving forward. FAIR WARNING: this post is going to have a LOT of media to look at/listen to, so be ready.
To give a little bit of an opening statement, I'm not a fan of pop music. Like at all. I think that there are certain pop artists who are extremely talented, like Lady Gaga for instance, but I've never been one to be excited about someone turning on the latest pop hit. (But then again, how many people were actually excited for the release of that Friday song?)
My opinions on T-Swizzy up to this point have been that I respect her because of how much of her music she writes, but I have not exactly been a fan of her music that I had heard. I do think she's an interesting human being, and from stories I've read about her, she's actually kind of hilarious (see rap video with T-Pain), and she takes the media attention incredibly well. I say that now because I haven't fully listened to the album yet, and I'll be writing this as I go along with it.
Welcome to New York -- the first track is honestly what I expected it would be. A song in the key of G Major that only uses four chords -- the I, IV, V, and vi chords. Not exactly a great start, but like I said, I'm keeping an open mind about this. On top of that, if I'm going to listen to a song about New York, it's totally going to be Bacon Pancakes.
Blank Space -- the second track on the album I was already familiar with, but not because I heard Taylor's original song. No, I heard of this song first because a hardcore/screamo band called I Prevail covered the song for Punk Goes Pop Volume 6. That being said, it was interesting hearing the song in a major key, as opposed to the minor key cover that I Prevail does, and I kind of like the minor key cover a little bit better.
Style -- let me start of by saying "whoa" real quick. I never thought I would find myself both enjoying and going back to play one of Taylor's songs a 2nd time. And then a 3rd time. Style is the third track on the album, and it hits the nail on the head of one thing -- 80's music. The first vibe that I got from the track was it sounds kind of like A-Ha, and then it kind of reminded me of Livin' In A Box with the overall sound of the track. The lyrics are extremely middleschool relationship blarghinfooble, but the sound is still incredible. Well done, Taylor.
Out of the Woods -- Honestly, this track wasn't' too bad either. I wasn't impressed with it like I was with Style, but it wasn't bad. It kind of reminded me of Bastille's album Bad Blood with the way the synthesizers were toned, and she had some pretty cool vocal harmonies throughout the song.
All You Had To Do Was Stay -- This track is very much a pop song. I'm sorry, but pop music just really isn't my thing. There are certain pop artists and pop-rock bands that I will listen to either out of slight enjoyment, or even out of super respect, but...this track is not anything that. So in light of this, here's a picture of some Pokemon in a marching band.
Shake It Off -- This track gave me a super Black Eyed Peas vibe to it. I don't think the drumbeat changed throughout the entire song. Which is totally fine. I'm all for minimalist music. That being said, to the person who wants to mash this song up with Pump It by the BEP, you should totally do it, because they would jam together so well.
I Wish You Would -- This track gave me a very super synthesized modern pop-rock feel when I listened to it. To be honest, it actually reminded me of this song that's one of the main songs of a really cool video game called BIT.TRIP RUNNER. The music in the game uses various synthesizers with some different guitar sounds, and it's a really cool vibe. Check it out.
Bad Blood -- Eh......it's another track using just four chords in rotation, and I don't think I remember the drum beat ever changing except when it built up in the bridge. Once again, my biggest pet peeve with pop music is put on display. Miguel, what do you have to say about this?
Wildest Dreams -- This song kind of reminded me of this super catchy pop song I heard on MTV one night at like 3:30 in the morning by Garth Emery. Again, still not my favorite kind of jams, but I guess I can see what people like it. It does have some nice string-section stuff towards the end.
How You Get The Girl -- I honestly started to get a little annoyed by the time this track rolled around. It's running in the same concept of using only four chords in a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus format. What do you think, Frank? Oh. Well then.
This Love -- This track felt to me like Taylor was trying to be every Christian worship leader lady. Not to knock against worship singers -- some of them are very talented, but there was something funny about this track that I just couldn't shake....
I Know Places -- Ah-ah-ah-I-EE really was not a fan of this track. Dance track beats with really weird vowel pronunciations are just not really my thing. Again, this is just coming from a musical background of someone who just really doesn't like pop music at all. The chorus also doesn't really fit along with the verses, in my opinion. But I guess squares can actually go into circles sometimes?
Clean -- Okay. I kind of liked the really low bass synthesizer in this track. And I'm almost always a sucker for a song written in E Major. However, the build up in the song left me wanting even more. The layers came in beautifully throughout the song, don't get me wrong. I was just left wanting something bigger to happen at the end of the song. So I guess in this case, size does actually matter.
Wonderland -- this track was a nice way to end the album. The piano playing the perfect 4th interval back and forth (ha!) was kinda neat at the beginning, and a few of the rhythms Taylor used in her vocal lines were cool because it almost felt like she was creating a hemiola between the track and her vocals. Plus, it's kind of about Alice In Wonderland, and I really like that story.
For those that don't know, a hemiola is basically when you take two different time signatures (for instance, we will use 6/8 and 3/4), and you play them on top of each other, making the listener feel two separate beat structures at the same time.
And with that, I have given Taylor Swift a fair shot. Still not really a fan of her work, but I still have a ton of respect for her. For one thing, she's made it in the music industry, and I haven't yet. So there's that. For another thing, if I've done my research properly, she still writes her music, which is pretty incredible. And not everyone is going to like your stuff. That's just how being an artist goes. With that, I leave you with this video of a band I discovered recently called Plini, mashing up their song Heart with Trouble by T-Swizzy.
Until next time, my friends, keep creating what you want to create, and no matter what anyone tells you, keep believing in what you're doing. You never know what will happen.