MUST LISTEN: “Welcome To New York”
The opener is full of synth-pop sounds that make it clear T Swizzle isn’t a country artist anymore, and frankly, we’re kind of glad. No more singing about sitting in the bed of a truck looking up at the stars with her sweet #gent boyfriend–Swift is leaving her country roots in the dust and packing her bags for the Big Apple. She compares New York City to a “great love,” which I guess is true, because it always smells funky and comes with a risk of communicable diseases, and eventually you get so fed up with its shit that you leave and move to the suburbs, a bitter hollow version of the person you once were. Taylor is growing up, and it’s about damn time. I hope she packed condoms in that suitcase. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Nashville anymore.
MUST LISTEN: “Blank Space”
Now that Taylor Swift is all grown up and moved to the city, she’s ready to have some fun. Gone is the Taylor who writes love songs after a first date and stalks her prey like a wild animal; enter the Taylor who will “make the bad guys good for a weekend.” Sexually liberated and dance-challenged, Taylor wants to have a one-night stand. Hold up. This is the same girl who wrote a damning song about John Mayer when he didn’t send her flowers after hooking up. Sorry, but she should’ve seen that one coming. And now she’s “young and reckless” and ready to “be that girl for a month”? You do you, Taylor. Again, I recommend condoms.
MUST LISTEN: “Style”
This song is entrancing in the best way, and reminiscent of something Daft Punk would put out. The old Taylor is clearly alive and well, referencing finding a love that’s classic and “will never go out of style.” Thought you could trick us with “Blank Space,” huh, Taylor? I’m sure you wish you could find a James Dean, and I wish I didn’t have to put on pants this morning, but we both can’t have what we want. This music video is definitely going to be shot in black and white, with Taylor in pinned curls and red lips and her love interest wearing a white T-shirt with the sleeves rolled up, à la James Dean. So vintage. Classic Taylor. Don’t worry, we still buy it.
MUST LISTEN: “Out Of The Woods”
I have no idea what this songs means and I love it. Why are you in the woods with a boy? You have at least a dozen houses. This song has too many subtle cliches and euphemisms to actually know what she’s talking about. She’s trying to get out of the woods, and now she and her lover are paper airplanes flying, hopefully to a recycling bin, because New York has some hefty littering fines. Now the trees are monsters and I’m totally lost. The heavy drum beat and repetitive chorus make this song easy to sing along to, and there’s a small reference to her relationship with Harry Styles. Apparently Swift is super mature now and not naming names, because this is the only love (or hate) reference we can definitively detect in the entire album, and there’s not even a tinge of bitterness. I’m proud, but I also kind of wanted a cat fight.
MUST LISTEN: “All You Had To Do Was Stay”
This is only song on the album that’s about a breakup, but if I can’t drunkenly cry the lyrics on my ex-boyfriend’s voicemail, is it really a Taylor Swift breakup song? It’s too positive and upbeat to bring up any real emotions, even after downing an entire bottle of wine. Trust me, I tried. It’s still a super catchy purely pop, if not over-generalized, song.
MUST LISTEN: “Shake It Off”
Do I even need to say anything? This song is the ultimate singalong and “F the haters” anthem for every mood. It brought a flurry of “Shake It Off” lip dubs, including our favorite by the totally lovable Delta Sigmas at Transylvania University. If you don’t sing along when this song comes on in the car, you’re a liar and a fraud.
MUST LISTEN: “I Wish You Would”
We finally get to hear Taylor’s voice without any vocal manipulation, and girl still has it. Filled with ’80s synth-pop, this song could be in any John Hughes movie and fit right in. Molly Ringwald was definitely the Taylor Swift of her generation–we wanted to hate her because she was good at basically everything, but we had to love her. Cult classic or not, Taylor is definitely appealing to the masses with these timeless pop hits that are just general enough that anyone can relate.
MUST LISTEN: “Bad Blood”
If you’ve ever had an ex-best friend who stabbed you in the back, this song is literally your anthem. The booming drum beat alone actually makes it sounds like you should be walking into an arena to have a face-off with your frenemy. Weapon of choice: cut-to-the-core lyrics. Bitter Taylor is back in this hard-hitting track and I’m loving it. I need more. The only fault in this song is that it doesn’t mention my frenemy by name. Bitch.
MUST LISTEN: “Wildest Dreams”
When I first heard this song, I had to pause and make sure Taylor hadn’t pulled a Vanilla Ice and ripped the melody straight from Lana Del Rey. Eerily similar to everything Del Rey (because let’s face it, all her songs sound the same), Taylor attempts to pull off the same sad, breathy, violin-filled, melodic tone throughout the whole thing, but I knew it was totally Swift when she talks about seeing her man in her dreams. Girl daydreams A LOT. Good ol’ Taylor lives in daydreams, because reality is a place where GIFs of her awful dancing get circulated around the internet like nudes. I’m not complaining though, because I love Lana almost as much as Taylor, and this song is basically my wet dream.
MUST LISTEN: “How You Get The Girl”
Subtweet, guys: this is how you date Taylor Swift. The requirements are extensive. You have to tell her you want her for worse or for better, and love her forever, and never leave. That’s not crazy, right? I don’t think so. Totally acceptable standards.
MUST LISTEN: “This Love”
Slow, kind of sad, with references to things you find at the ocean and ghosts. Never change, Taylor. Remind me to cry to this song later when I get dumped or I’m out of vodka–same thing.
MUST LISTEN: “I Know Places”
Can we please talk about how amazing this song is? Definitely one of my favorites. It’s a little angry with a dig at the paparazzi, who seem to be taking it to a whole other level these days. Shake it off, Tay. I don’t know who’s chasing Taylor Swift in this song, but it would probably be me if I ever saw her in real life. No regrets.
MUST LISTEN: “Clean”
Taylor’s been a dirty girl, so it’s time to take a shower and wash off the stench from the New York City streets and that one-night stand she had earlier. She talks about a drought, and I’m fairly certain she’s talking about the sexual dry spell she encountered after she scared away all the men in her life by writing songs about them. Lessons learned, thirst quenched. Taylor is all grown up, and she learned that casual sex is perfectly fine. I can’t help but see this song as one big sexual innuendo, and I very much approve of its message.
Well, I just named every single song as a must listen. This was not a mistake. If you’re going to listen to this album, every single song is worth it, if for no other reason than Taylor Swift finally loosening up and dropping that “country cutie” image that was soooo 2007. New Taylor doesn’t take shit from frenemies or the paparazzi, and she realized that mentioning guys in songs seriously worsens her sex life. We’re so proud of you, Tay. Welcome to the dark side, where the morals are questionable and the fucks aren’t given. .
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