It’s time to churn out another edition of my Tay-Tay Top Five, and today it’s all about the album that I have the biggest emotional connection to – 1989. The 1989 album was one that I discovered in the run-up to my wedding and it’s the album that turned me into a full-blown Swiftie. I had been a fan of Taylor for a while, but nowhere near as much as I was after listening to this for the first time. I mentioned in a previous post that Lover is probably my favourite out of all the Taylor Swift albums, however, 1989 will always be the album that got me through a time when my OCD was at its worst. From the end of 2014 to the end 2017 (when Reputation was released, naturally), I listened to it virtually non stop. I listened to it every day on my drive to work, I listened to it on repeat as I drove to my hypnotherapy appointments for my progressively worsening anxiety, and I listened to it when I just needed to shut my thoughts off. In addition to perking me up when I’ve needed it most, it’s also got some absolute bangers on it, including my all time favourite song EVER – Shake it Off.
1989 is Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, named after the year of her birth. The album is heavily synth-pop based following on from Red, which lightly touched upon the genre in addition to Taylor’s usual country style. Some of the lyrics were taken directly from her very own journals, while others drew inspiration from her move to New York City earlier in 2014. Additionally, there were a number of satirical nods to the media’s portrayal of her as a “serial dater.”
Information correct at time of writing.
Release Date: 27th October 2014
Producers: Max Martin, Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, Nathan Chapman, Imogen Heap, Mattman & Robin, Ali Payami, Shellback, Ryan Tedder, Noel Zancanella.
Label: Big Machine Records
Tracks: 13 (standard edition); 16 (deluxe edition).
Awards & Nominations:
American Music Awards – Favourite Pop/Rock Album 2015 (Won)
Japan Gold Disc Awards – Album of the Year (Western) 2015 (Won)
iHeart Radio Music Awards – Album of the Year 2016 (Won)
Echo Music Prize – Best International Pop/Rock Album 2015 (Nominated)
Juno Awards – International Album of the Year 2015 (Nominated)
58th Grammy Awards – Album of the Year 2016 (Won) and Best Pop Vocal Album 2016 (Won)
My Top Five
- Shake It Off
- Out of the Woods
- Wildest Dreams
- Blank Space
Honourable Mentions: Welcome to New York, Bad Blood, Style.
Shake It Off
If you’ve stuck with my blog from the beginning, you’ll know that my absolute favourite Taylor Swift song is Shake It Off. It always makes me happy, it’s the best song to dance it out to, and I just love the overall message of shaking off the negativity and telling the haters to do one. To me, the phrase “shake it off” also works when it comes to dealing with anxiety and the intrusive thoughts that plague me on a daily basis too, so it’s a double whammy. So much so that I have this very phrase tattooed on my left foot. Shake It Off is also mine and Lillie’s song. At every work wedding we went to, every night out we had, and every road trip we’ve ever taken, we have danced our butts off and sang this at the top of our lungs. You may even spot a video of us drunkenly singing it on my Instagram stories. It’s the song that reminds me of our friendship and all of the good times we’ve had.
I think if you’re not a fan of hers, Clean won’t be one of Taylor Swift’s songs that you’ll instantly recognise, but trust me, you HAVE to listen to it. It’s beautiful. Lyrically, the song is about escaping a toxic relationship, and following a metaphorical “storm,” you’re “finally clean.” However, I relate to the lyrics a little differently. For me, Clean brings with it images of my mental health recovery – and I think that’s largely down to me listening to it a lot when driving to my CBT sessions especially. The line “when I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe” signifies the breaking point I got to when my OCD was at its worst and I realised I really needed some help, and no amount of self-help books were going to do the trick. During my hours’ round-trip to the psychiatric hospital where I had my outpatient appointments the whole of the 1989 tracklist is what kept me company as I drove, but Clean would be the song that just always hit me. From the first time I heard it, I used to imagine listening to it as someone who was fully recovered from OCD, and on the day of my final CBT appointment when I was officially discharged, it was the song I played in my car as I drove away (kind of sappy, making it sound like the end of a bad movie, but that’s what I did). While of course I wasn’t completely “clean” from my mental health troubles (the current state my mind is in right now is living proof of that), I left that building feeling as though I was. I had completed 20 weeks of high intensity CBT and I could do things I never thought I’d do again. Even now, Clean is a song that I listen to when I’m feeling anxious, and it never fails to calm me down.
Out of the Woods
I think most Swifties appreciate the masterpiece that is Out of the Woods. Taylor has said that this is the song on the album that best represents 1989 and that it represents the fragile and breakable nature of a relationship, while the bridge in particular is said to reference her relationship with Harry Styles, and a snowmobile accident they had on a ski trip. One of the reasons why I love this song so much is just the intensity of it all. It’s yet another example of how incredibly well Taylor tells a story in her song writing, and the theme of anxiety being so prominent in a relationship is one that I’m quite familiar with. It’s also a fantastic song to belt out as you’re driving – especially the bridge: “REMEMBER WHEN YOU HIT THE BRAKES TOO SOON, TWENTY STITCHES IN A HOSPITAL ROOM…” Actual chills.
How beautiful is the music video for Wildest Dreams? Honestly, Taylor is just flawless. The song itself tells the story of the inevitable end of a relationship and the protagonist’s plea to remember them. I don’t exactly have that sort of connection to the song, but I just love the lyrics of the song and how it’s just the perfect “air grabber” to belt out as you’re driving.
Blank Space is one of my favourite 1989 songs – it’s upbeat, catchy, and II love how the song is a satirical nod to the media’s portrayal of Taylor as a glamorous but crazy and manipulative girlfriend. This is another one of her songs that has a fabulous music video to go with it too – the selection of outfits she wears in it is just amazing especially, and I love how she really plays up to the stereotype of the “crazy-ass girlfriend” – my favourite memory of this video is watching it with my friends where 90% of the room agreed that it was a portrayal of me and Liam…I wouldn’t exactly say that it’s not true…
My honourable mentions go to three tracks on the album – in particular, Welcome to New York. It’s the first track, and it’s just the perfect song to kick things off – it almost reminds me of the opening scene of a movie. I love the hope and optimism of the song, and it’s such a good song to listen to when you need to pep yourself up for something. I’ve mentioned before that going to New York is way up there on my travel bucket list, and I’ve got this sad little fantasy of listening to this song on the plane as it starts to land in the city. At whatever point I eventually travel to New York, as soon as they say we’re getting ready to land, this track will be going on. Another of my honourable mentions goes to Bad Blood – a song rumoured to be about Taylor’s alleged feud with Katy Perry. It’s another one to listen to when you’re pissed off with someone and needing to get some rage out, and I think a lot of women especially can relate to being stabbed in the back by someone thought to be their friend. I was however, disappointed when the Kendrick Lemar version entered the charts rather than the album version, which omitted the two main verses. My final honourable mention goes to Style, which is another track that’s perfect for listening to when you’re driving – I love the beat, the lyrics and the whole electro-pop style of it. It’s also quite a good song to listen to when you’re getting ready for a night out (not that that happens much more these days – cheers covid).
1989 by Taylor Swift definitely has to be one of my favourite albums of all time. The personal connection I have to it means that no matter how many times I listen to it, it never gets old. I love the modern, synth-pop style, and it’s a real mixed back of tracks. I have some great memories attached to it too – in particular, dancing my butt off at various events with Lillie and my journey towards my OCD recovery. Because of that, it’s always going to be a special album for me.
What are your thoughts on 1989? Let me know your favourite tracks in the comments!
Catch Up with the Rest of My Tay-Tay Top Five Series
Fearless – Taylor’s Version (2021)
Folklore – The Long Pond Studio Sessions (2020)
Speak Now (2010)
Taylor Swift (2006)