October 22, 2014


The Complete Guide to Taylor Swift's '1989'

Release Date

1989 arrives on October 27. A deluxe version of the album will include three bonus tracks (taken from actual voicemails!) and each will feature different Polaroids.

The Announce

Taylor Swift announced 1989 in August via worldwide livestream. To cap off that livestream, she shared the first single from the record, “Shake It Off.” She introduced the track by calling out her haters and gossip queens, giving her audience some pretty solid advice: When it comes to rumors, "You can just shake it off."

Swift told her audience that the single will appear on her upcoming album. "Having been born on December 13, 1989, this album is called 1989." Makes sense! She also shared a Polaroid album cover (see it above) and announced that this is her "first officially documented pop album."

Apparently that's not all: The young musician said 1989 is "the most sonically cohesive album I've ever made and my favorite record we've ever made."

Fans can expect a real '80s feel to the album. "I've been listening to a lot of late '80s pop...I love how bold it was," Taylor said. "It was a time of limitless potential...bright colors, bold choices, rebellion." The theme? "Endless possibility."

The Music

Where Taylor's previous album Red felt like it existed in both country and pop worlds, 1989 is totally Top 40. “At a certain point, if you chase two rabbits, you lose them both,” the star told Rolling Stone.

The album opens with “Welcome to New York,” a synth-heavy pop song Swift wrote with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic. “I wanted to start the album with this song because New York has been an important landscape and location for the story of my life in the last couple of years. I dreamt about moving to New York. I obsessed over moving to New York, and then I did it,” she shared on her official YouTube page. “The inspiration that I found in that city is kind of hard to describe and hard to compare to any other force of inspiration that I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s like an electric city. I approached moving there with such wide-eyed optimism and sort of saw it as a place of endless potential and possibilities. You can kind of hear that reflected in this music, in this first song especially.”

There’s also “Out of the Woods,” co-written by fun./Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff. The song is about Swift's tumultuous relationship with One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles. She opened up about the tune in another video interview on her YouTube page. “This song is about the fragility and kind of breakable nature of some relationships," she explained. "It's a relationship where you never feel like you’re standing on solid ground. That kind of a feeling brings on excitement but also extreme anxiety and kind of a frantic feeling of wondering. Endless questions! This song sounds exactly like that frantic feeling of anxiety and questioning, but it stresses that even if a relationship is breakable and fragile and full of anxiety, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthwhile, exciting, beautiful, all the things that we look for." Intense stuff!

“Style” is the fourth song Taylor shared. It's an upbeat ‘80s synth anthem that has the pop princess chanting, “You got that long hair, slicked back, white t-shirt / And I got that good girl faith and a tight little skirt / And when we go crashing down, we come back every time / Because we never go out of style / We never go out of style.” Love is in the air! Our money is on this song also being about Harry Styles.

What To Expect

Here's what we know about the music that hasn't leaked out yet: With the exception of Harry, the boys are gone! At least, mostly. In her Rolling Stone cover story, Swift shared her thoughts on relationships: “Different phases of your life have different levels of deep, traumatizing heartbreak and in this period of my life, my heart was not irreparably broken. So it’s not as boy-centric of an album, because my life hasn’t been boy-centric.” It’s true: The singer hasn’t been on a date since her very public breakup with Styles in January 2013.

In the same interview, Swift mentions a song called “Bad Blood,” about a female popstar she refused to name. “She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, ‘Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?’” Taylor explained. “She did something so horrible. I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’” Conspiracy theorists point to this pop star being Katy Perry. Who knows?

All the songs will have strong messages. Taylor opened up about “Shake It Off” in a behind-the-scenes clip, “A lot of the people who I think will relate to this song are people who are dealing with not ever really feeling cool with themselves, because other people make them feel like they don't fit in,” she explained. “One thing I learned in this whole process is that you can get everything you want in life without ever feeling like you fit in. Selling millions of records doesn't make me feel cool. It makes me feel proud, and I have a lot of people on my side, and I've worked really hard, but I don't think it's the most important thing in life, to fit in. I think the most important thing in life is to dance to the beat of your own drum, and to look like you're having more fun than the people who look cool, like they fit in."

She also mentions two other songs are about ex-Harry Styles: “I Wish You Would,” and “All You Had to Do Was Stay.”

Taylor Swift on Youtube
Taylor Swift on Youtube


Ryan Tedder – The OneRepublic frontman co-wrote the album’s opener “Welcome to New York.”

Jack Antonoff – The second single from 1989, “Out of the Woods,” was co-written by the fun./Bleachers musician. In Swift’s Rolling Stone cover story, Antonoff says it was a fast process. He sent her a track and “literally 30 minutes later she sent me back a voice note that sounded exactly like the record.”

Imogen Heap – It’s rumored “Clean” was co-written by Imogen Heap. It’s unconfirmed, but here’s hoping!

Max Martin – The Swedish pop-producer extraordinaire is the mastermind behind Red’s biggest hits“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” "I Knew You Were Trouble” and “22.” Swift isn’t one to fix what ain’t broke, so she’s brought the magic man on for 1989. Apparently he’s on most of the album, feeding into Swift’s headfirst dive into pop music territory. Scott Brochetta, CEO of Taylor’s country label Big Machine, told Idolator, “Will country stations play a complete pop song just because it’s her? No. But when she comes to town, her friends at country radio will come and see her.” 

Shellback – Swift told the AP that she’s working with the Swedish songwriter (plus, again, Max Martin), as she has in the past. “I’ll bring in ideas, and they’ll take such a different turn than where I thought they were going to go, and that level of unexpected spontaneity is something that really thrills me in the process of making music,” she said . “What if we did this? What if we made it weirder? What if we took it darker? I love people who have endless strange and exciting ideas about where music can go.”


  1. Welcome to New York
  2. Blank Space
  3. Style
  4. Out of the Woods
  5. All You Had To Do Was Stay
  6. Shake It Off
  7. I Wish You Would
  8. Bad Blood
  9. Wildest Dreams
  10. How You Get The Girl
  11. This Love
  12. I Know Places
  13. Clean