Continuing my ranking of Taylor Swift’s albums…
#2 – 1989 – 2014
If Taylor Swift heavily flirted with pop music on 2012’s Red, she climbed into bed with it on 2014’s 1989. And the result was her most electrifying album to date.
This album felt like a strange detour at the time, but in retrospect I think it was a giant leap toward a sound Swift had in her all along. Though 1989 trails Fearless in overall sales, it’s the album on which she truly emerged as a global superstar.
Best Songs of 2015 – #12
‘Blank Space’ – Ryan Adams
When I reviewed Ryan Adams’ song-for-song recreation of Taylor Swift’s smash hit 1989, I predicted that ‘Blank Space’ would end up on my best-of song list two years in a row by two different artists. Good call.
Adams turns the track into a gentle, breathy ballad, sad where Swift’s (also excellent) version is slightly taunting.
In Billboard’s fourth and fifth spots are a couple of repeats — one I like and one I loathe. At #4 is Fetty Wap with the horrible ‘679‘ and rounding out the top five is Shawn Mendes with the respectable ‘Stitches.’
Taylor Swift’s dominance continues as yet another 1989 single hits the top ten. ‘Wildest Dreams’ is the fifth 1989 track to reach the top ten, making this one of only 21 albums in history to have that many songs on the chart. And the album is sure to generate at least one more hit, if not several.
The most unexpected new release this year has to be Ryan Adams’ song-for-song cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. It’s such a delightfully random project, like a piece of fan fiction come to life.
It also turns out to be a very good album in its own right. Adams is faithful to the melodies and lyrics of Swift’s originals but gives each his own stylistic spin, mostly slowing them down and trading pop rock for folk rock.
Best Songs of 2014 – #5
‘Blank Space’ – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift dominated the music scene last year with her first foray into pure pop, 1989. The album was the year’s top seller (even edging out the Frozen soundtrack in a photo finish) and showed up high on just about every critic’s list.
It’s tempting to call 1989 Swift’s most superficial record, but I think it’s generally as deep and satisfying as her previous work. It’s not the dessert, it’s the whole meal.