If 'Welcome To New York' is the welcome to the rest of Taylor Swift's fifth studio album '1989', I'm certainly not sold. It's a punchy opening tune with a catchy beat, but not pushing the boundaries or seeing Taylor dive deep into the realms of pop, leaving the country world firmly behind. Could she have made a huge mistake? Current sales say not...
Luckily what follows is mostly more impressive. Second tune 'Blank Space' is infectious and a passionate offering despite not truly offering an eye-opening personal side of things - something we're used to from Taylor whose relationships have been well-documented in the media.
Now she attacks lyrics regarding potential love with hints of dread and skepticism, one huge example being 'Out Of The Woods' - a unique and dominating tune that stands clearly ahead of the rest, proving Taylor doesn't have just the voice for a new pop track, but the booming confidence to go alongside it and deliver like no other.
Lead single 'Shake It Off' is just as fun the 100th time round and it's refreshing to see such a light, slightly flimsy side without all of the dreary seriousness of picking apart a partner who didn't meet high expectations. She's no longer allowing herself to give away so much for for the tabloids to pore over and find hidden meaning to in regards to Jake Gyllenhaal, Harry Styles or any other of her high-profile ex-partners, and it's this which is to be applauded. We all love personalisation, but there's always been a little bit of over-sharing in Taylor's back catalogue.
'Bad Blood' isn't your usual diss track, instead giving an energetic but light, flowing backing track alongside a sweet vocal to a song that's essentially ripping chunks out of a former friend who Taylor feels wronged by - highly rumoured to be fellow pop sensation Katy Perry. (A lot of ridiculous drama over dancers - the two should kiss, make up and collaborate.)
Proving that she's matured greatly since the time she burst onto the scene with the sickly sweet 'Love Story', Taylor manages to convey imagery through her music that's a little disjointed and exaggerated, coming across as a completely different singer to the one we've grown used to.
It's a very welcome evolution, and as the final notes of other-worldly 'Clean' finish up an accomplished LP, you can't help but think this is her baptism into the world of pop music. She's free of constrictions and much better for it.
'1989' is out now.
Tagged in Taylor Swift