‘I’m not gonna lie to you,’ I wrote on Facebook. ‘I’ve just downloaded Taylor Swift’s album.’
The deluge of are you kiddings and WTFs that followed were a clear indication that my friends shared my horror and embarrassment that I, a Hype Machine-loving, no-music-after-2004-listening remixaholic would lower myself to to levels of that chart-dominating twenty-something popette (1989 had the highest selling opening week since 2002’s The Eminem Show).
But I stand by my decision. After just a handful of listens I’m totally addicted.
Well, I say totally, but what I really mean is I can’t stop listening to this album – but only the first half. The first six songs are a synth-soaked dopamine rush of slick, hooky pop. NYC resident T-Swizz opens with scene-setter Welcome to New York, then it’s four more heady hits of electro-fizz before the romance gone wrong exposition ends (it’s widely believed the narrative is based on Swift’s relationship with One Direction’s Harry Styles – hell there’s even a song called Style in there) with ode to self-worth first single Shake it Off.
Track seven, I Wish You Would, is almost power-poppy enough to fall into the first-half high quality haul, but our Tay is already starting to sound a bit maudlin, and this is the point where I suggest you switch off. The latter half is a limp stream of sub-Postal Service wannabe Lana del Rey digi-ballads that should basically be subtitled ‘For Harry, Forever Ago’.
But don’t let that put you off. If you’re a fan of electrogodesses like Robyn, Sia, Charlie XCX or Tove Lo there’s a lot to like about this album. And don’t forget, Swedish songwriting demigod Max Martin cowrote most of it (although a few of the slowies too, annoyingly) so that makes it OK. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. And if you still hate yourself for liking 1989, then file it under ‘guilty pleasure’ and carry on listening anyway.