Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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1989 (Taylor’s Version)

Taylor Swift


Leaving country behind for pop in earnest, Taylor uses nostalgia to move forward.

It’s easy to forget that in 2014, Taylor Swift was still approaching an inflection point, reintroducing herself (at just 24) as the all-conquering presence we know today. She’d already started adjusting the ratio of country to pop on 2010’s Speak Now and 2012’s Red, working with Swedish superproducers Max Martin and Shellback on the latter. On 1989, Swift did away with the idea of ratios entirely.

Like Shania Twain’s Come On Over or even Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, 1989 is an instance in which an artist defies expectations and thrives. Swift didn’t exactly grow up with the synthesized, ’80s-inspired sounds that producers like Martin, Shellback, Ryan Tedder, and future bestie Jack Antonoff help her create here; as the album’s title reminds us, she wasn’t even born until the decade was ending. But just as she played with the traditions and conventions of country music on her early albums, Swift uses the nostalgia of 1989 not to look back, but to move ahead.