Never one for subtlety, Taylor Swift took some time out from her quest to be every young female celebrity’s BFF to launch her new album with a live-stream “event.” It ended at 5:30 ET this evening (but is now playing on repeat), and here’s what you need to know, in order of importance:
-The album is called 1989, in honor of Taylor’s birth year and the era that inspired it. It’ll be out October 27.
-Swift referred to the album as “her first documented pop album.” She also called it the “most sonically cohesive album [she’s] ever made” and her “favorite album [she’s] ever made.” What this likely means is that Swift is no longer puzzle-piecing country radio singles amid dubstep-pop, à la 2012’s Red, and fully embracing her pop crossover.
-Taylor described late-’80s pop, which inspired her, as “ahead of its time” and called the era “a time of limitless potential.” Also, this string of words: “bright colors, bold changes, rebellion… The idea of endless possibility was a huge theme in my life in the last year.”
-Here’s the cover of 1989:
-The new album’s lead single is called “Shake It Off.” You can listen to it below. The insanely catchy song is approximately zero percent country music. “Shake It Off” is a “can’t stop, won’t stop” anthem that: a) actually incorporates the phrases “players gonna play, haters gonna hate” into the chorus; b) has a spoken-word section that reminds me of Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend“; c) name-checks dudes with “hella good hair”; d) acknowledges Swift’s serial dater reputation. A more milquetoast, brass-tinged take on Miley’s “We Can’t Stop.”
-The “Shake It Off” music video (above) synthesizes a number of influences and trends from recent years: Black Swan, white artists using black back-up dancers as accessories, cat clothing, Daft Punk’s vision of the future, music videos that celebrate normies as beautiful just the way they are. Director Mark Romanek, of the films One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go (and Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” video), directed the clip.
-Swift has been working on 1989 for two years, the perfect amount of time for someone to “change and grow.” “I woke up not wanting, but needing, to make a new style of music,” she said.
-She’s been “taking lots and lots of Polaroids in last couple years,” since she likes that it’s a “tangible thing.” She’s gonna include a packet of 13 different Polaroids in each physical album of 1989.
-The bonus edition of the album won’t include more songs, just voice memos from her phone of completed tracks. This is basically how Taylor Swift does demos.
-Also, this delightful quip, which anyone who follows Taylor on social media already knows: “All I think about are metaphors and cats.”
Fall just got dominated by T-Swift.