Taylor Swift’s 1989 was among my favourite records of 2014; the album is pop in weaponised form, so potent that it leaves listeners with little choice but to obey its siren call.
However, what really makes 1989 stand out in T-Swizzles discography is how the former country stars songwriting and sound has matured. Whereas earlier out-and-out chart climbers ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ and ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ were based on an a emotionally binary rhetoric – love interest is exploiting her feelings and now I’m getting my own back – on 1989 Swift opts to take a little more responsibility for her relationship woes.
The best examples of this shift in stance can be found on ‘Style’ (and to a lesser extent on the deluxe only ‘New Romantics‘). In place of the damning “We hadn’t seen each other in a month, When you said you needed space. (What?)” she fired Jake Gyllenhall’s way, or overly simple analysis of Harry Styles actions towards her “That you never loved me or her, or anyone, or anything, yeah” Swift has come to understand that relationships with equally famous stars require a little more understanding: “I say I heard that you been out and about with some other girl /
He says, what you’ve heard it’s true but I can’t stop thinking about you and I / I said I’ve been there too a few times.” It’s an admission – albeit an implied one – that a monogamous, virtuous relationship in the world of celebrity is something that she herself struggles with.
This confession only serve’s to make the already relatable Swift even more so and give her production team the excuse to add the odd imperfection – and by extension character – to the otherwise crystal clear pop. The audible exhale before “I’ve been there too a few times” carries with it a playful smile that add’s Swift’s warmth to the sweeping guitars that better’s anything on M83’s Before the Dawn Heals Us. An album that was surely in Jake Gyllhall’s “indie record” collection and a track that serves notice to even the most ardent of music snobs that T-Swizzle is worthy of their attention.