I’m not going to eulogise over how good Taylor Swift’s latest album is, because there’s already plenty of those out there. But I will take a second to note how, unlike any pop album I can think of, it actually hit home.
I’m a firm believer that the best music not only has a catchy melody or a great riff (or whatever gets your particular juices flowing) but can grab a hold of what you feel, where your life is at that very moment. The very best music can make you take stock of all that, and that’s what 1989 manages.
It’s rare that an album will so perfectly capture where you are as a person right at the time that you listen to it. There’s obviously an element of chance involved, but it’s still fleeting. We’ve had albums from Pianos Become the Teeth and Have Mercy in the last month – both bands that I love – and neither of them have struck a chord with me as sharply as Swift’s latest.
It’s interesting that the album is called 1989, probably no coincidence that a record written by a 24-year-old feels so familiar thematically. The potential mistakes you may have made and may be making, the missteps and regrets that we’re all accidentally accumulating as we stumble through our early 20’s with essentially no fucking clue where we’re going. 1989 sounds to me 90% a celebration of these things; 10% reflection on what may be going right or wrong.
It’s this candour and vulnerability, wrapped up in brilliant, 80’s-drenched pop songs, that has caught me a bit off guard with this album, and also why I’d recommend it wholeheartedly – even to those who can’t think of anything worse than sitting through it.