Taylor Swift earned name and fame from country music, won six Grammy Awards for her songs belonging to the genre and her last album, Red, sold millions of copies.
It would have been easier for her to tread the same road and sell records, but she decided to explore unexplored avenues, or maybe it was something she has been waiting to foray into. She made her transition from country music to pop through her fifth album, 1989.
It was perhaps the biggest risk she has taken in her music career not just because she has moved out of her comfort zone – from country music to a genre of music which is thronged by numerous artistes, including those of her age. But she seems to be sure of herself and her collaboration with well-known music producers like Max Martin and Shellback for the album speaks volumes.
The tune, music and almost everything in the album is different from her previous works. 1989 has songs with ample bass, electronic sounds, harmonic vocals and drums, and less of guitars. However, lyrics of the songs are very "Swift" – playful and provocative.
The album has 13 songs: "Welcome To New York," "Blank Space," "Style," "Out Of The Woods," "All You Had To Do Was Stay," "Shake It Off," "I Wish You Would," "Bad Blood," "Wildest Dreams," "How You Get The Girl," "This Love," "I Know Places," and "Clean."
While many may not like the songs from the new album as much as her previous tunes, but they cannot be ignored. And most critics think it was worth taking the risk.
Here is what critics have to say about the album, 1989, in their reviews:
Jem Aswad from Billboard: (Rating: Four stars out of five)
"...it's (1989) Swift's best work -- a sophisticated pop tour de force that deserves to be as popular commercially as with Robyn-worshipping blog--gers; an album that finds Swift meeting Katy and Miley and Pink on their home turf and staring them down," Aswad wrote in his review.
"A clean break with the core audience is a risky move for any artist," he added. "But Swift avoided that fate entirely with this album, making her rare ability to write for multiple audiences and ages even more universal. With 1989, she expertly sets up the next chapter of what is now even more likely to be a very long career."
Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone: ((Rating: Four stars out of five)
"1989 is a drastic departure – only a couple of tracks feature her trademark tear-stained guitar. But she's still Taylor Swift, which means she's dreaming bigger and oversharing louder than anyone else in the game. And she still has way too many feelings for the kind of dudes who probably can't even spell "feelings," wrote Sheffield.
"Deeply weird, feverishly emotional, wildly enthusiastic, 1989 sounds exactly like Taylor Swift, even when it sounds like nothing she's ever tried before. And yes, she takes it to extremes. Are you surprised? This is Taylor Swift, remember? Extremes are where she starts out," he added.
Ben Rayner from The Star: (Rating: two and a half out stars out of four)
"She's lost some of that distinctly Swift-ian charm and, truth be told, a little of her soul in the transition to a more routine species of contemporary robo-pop already popularly practiced by everyone from Katy Perry to Icona Pop, while the whooshing, monolithic production is occasionally a touch too overwrought (see, for instance, "Out of the Woods") to suit her diarist's vignettes of romance in various states of giddiness and/or disarray," wrote Rayner in his review.
"And the best of 1989 retains the easy melodicism of Swift's previous work despite dressing it up in grander, gaudier attire. There's just less of Taylor Swift present on the record and more of every other bankable pop star out there at the moment, which is a pity since Swift was doing just fine without chasing her peers into facelessness," he added.
Jon Caramanica from The New York Times: (Rating: No rating)
"Her idea of pop music harks back to a period — the mid-1980s — when pop was less overtly hybrid. That choice allows her to stake out popular turf without having to keep up with the latest microtrends, and without being accused of cultural appropriation," wrote Caramanica.
"On this new stage, Ms. Swift is thriving. And crucially, she is more or less alone, not part of any pop movement of the day. She has set herself apart and, implicitly, above."