He drops me off at work, mentions he’s going to hit up Target to see what they have on sale before they close.
“Ooh, maybe you could get the new Taylor Swift CD for me?” I say not too seriously. A friend had it on in the car the other day and though I was sceptical at first, I kinda liked her full-fledged immersion into pop.
“Haha, ya right,” he jokes. A fan of Johnny Cash, Patty Griffin, and Guns N’ Roses, Taylor Swift is not someone he would ever listen to on his own volition.
I forget about the conversation the rest of the day but guess what is waiting for me on the passenger seat when he picks me up?
“You actuallly got it for me!”
“Well, you said you wanted it.”
Not only did my fiancé buy me Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, but he bought me the deluxe version, complete with 3 bonus tracks and 3 voice memos about her songwriting process, as well as 13 polaroid photos of her with various song lyrics written in her hand at the bottom. I felt a little silly and teenager-like having all this T. Swift hoopla on me when I’m not even a huge fan, but on the other hand, I was impressed by how much she gives her fans. You can tell she really likes them. Considering a lot of musicians don’t even put their lyrics in the album booklet anymore (which is the only reason to even buy physical CDs rather than just getting them off iTunes, in my opinion), it was really refreshing to find all her lyrics in there AND a foreword to the album.
I have not followed the ins and outs of Taylor Swift’s life at all—just liked some of her hits now and then—but this foreword offered a pretty personal glimpse into her life. I think that’s what’s attractive to her fans—she talks to them like friends, like she’s learning and growing with them. I’ve always thought she was a good songwriter, but she’s also a pretty good prose writer.
For the last few years, I’ve woken up every day not wanting, but needing to write a new style of music. I needed to change the way I told my stories and the way they sounded. I listened a lot to music from the decade in which I was born and I listened to my intuition that it was a good thing to follow this gut feeling. I was also writing a different storyline than I’d ever told you before.
She goes on to discuss moving to New York City, something she said she’d never do. The big synth-pop sound of her opening track “Welcome to New York” starts the album off with a bang that lets you know we are not in Nashville anymore.
Everybody here wanted something more
Searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before
. . .
It’s a new soundtrack
I could dance to this beat
That’s probably my favourite song on the album and it’s fun to sing to when driving, bass up, windows down (and yes, even my fiancé sings along!). “Welcome to New York” could become the next New York anthem (after “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys and Jay Z). Full of adventure and hope, it sounds like everything I remember feeling when I visited four years ago. I like songs that bring you back in an instant. “Style” is another fun one to sing to while driving. For a slower one, “You Are in Love” (one of the bonus tracks).
Anyway, I don’t often write about celebrities or albums but it’s been years since I’ve bought, let alone received a CD, and I felt this was one worth talking about.