She’s a six time Grammy Award winner, is placed in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world list and her album ‘Speak Now’ made Rolling Stone’s The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time (by female artists) list. Her success is unprecedented and unequalled by anyone, past or present. Swift’s new album ‘Red’ now boasts the highest first-week sales of any album in the last decade, having sold more than 1.2 million copies. The last album to achieve such a promising reception in its first week was Eminem’s ‘The Eminem Show’ which sold over 1.3 million copies in 2002.
Her success is measured by her annoyingly catchy songs that, once you hear them once, will circulate your brain for days regardless of whether you want them to or not. ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ is a perfect example to demonstrate my point. The lyrics are universally understood but that doesn’t make them potent in meaning.
The album consists of sixteen tracks, running at over 60 minutes long; it’s an impressive musical output (not to mention the many failed relationships) but, as with everything, quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality.
Expect to hear ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’, ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ (with a half-assed attempt at incorporating dubstep into her album) and ‘22’ everywhere in the near future. These are songs ideal for the pop market, which she is obviously aiming her music at with this album. Having said this, she still stays true to her country roots with songs such as ‘I Almost Do’, ‘Treacherous’ and ‘Begin Again’. Then you have the dreary, boring songs that did well in putting me into a pleasant, relaxed state of sleep.
Highlights of the album include her unlikely duets with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody (‘The Last Time’) and Ed Sheeran (‘Everything Has Changed’). Although the album is mostly what I expected to be, it shows an ambitious side to Swift by firmly stepping into the pop market and her willingness to experiment with her styles and different genres. The success of the album will continue for much longer than the first week, thanks to her appeal to her target market and the few good tracks I mentioned above that should be well received by an even wider audience. 3.5/5.