Music Review: Taylor Swift's '1989' a mature reflection on life

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This CD cover image released by Big Machine Records shows "1989," the latest release by Taylor Swift. (AP Photo/Big Machine Records)


FILE -- In this Sept. 19, 2014 file photo, Taylor Swift performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Swift is releasing her fifth album, “1989,” on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. It is the Grammy winner’s first full-length pop album and features the hit song, “Shake It Off.” (Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP)


Taylor Swift's all-out move into pop music on her fifth album, "1989," is the sound of a young artist who has gradually evolved from a teenager obsessed with boys and journal writing into a young woman embracing life in New York and stepping to a new beat.

"Shake It Off," her first single, was a fun introduction to the new Swift sound. But it's the most lighthearted track on "1989," which sweeps from the rocking confrontation of "Bad Blood" to the delicate "This Love" to the Lana Del Ray retro-noir of "Wildest Dreams." Taylor still flirts playfully at times, as on "How You Get the Girl," but more often she comes off as more guarded, more apprehensive and more realistic in her views on relationships.

Heavy on bass, drum loops and electronic sounds and using harmonic vocals as a form of rhythm, Swift mixes beats and melody in search of a classic pop model of her own. She ignores modern pop's reliance on guest stars to explore the many ways she can use her own voice. At times she clips her words sharply against the beats, while still occasionally speaking words to establish intimacy. But she also opens and sings like she rarely has.

A couple of songs come off as generic exercises, especially the arrangement of "I Know Places." Still, "1989" is another triumph for Swift_not a precocious achievement, as in her early years, but a mature reflection of where she is now, in her life and in her artistry.

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