by Sean Clark
On Oct. 27, Taylor Swift took the world by storm with the release of her fifth studio album, 1989. This album broke the record for best first week sales, snatching the title from Eminem’s 2002 release The Eminem Show. Swift has declared that this album is her official departure from country music as it consists entirely of pop music.
The album’s release was preceded by the number one hit, Shake it Off. This song is a catchy self-empowerment anthem that is coupled with a goofy music video highlighting Swift’s carefree personality. In an interview with NPR’s New York Bureau, Swift talked about the message behind her leading single. “In the last few years I’ve gotten better at just kind of laughing off things that absolutely have no bearing on my real life. I think it’s important to be self-aware about what people are saying about you, but even more so, be very aware of who you actually are, and to have that be the main priority.”
Taylor takes “boy crazy” to a whole new level in her most recent single from the album, Blank Space. In the music video for this song, Swift destroys her boyfriend’s car and cell phone. The video mocks people who think her romantic confessions are annoying and immature. Last year, when a Vanity Fair asked Swift if she is “boy crazy,” Swift retaliated, “For a female to write about her feelings, and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that’s taking something that potentially should be celebrated – a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way – that’s taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist.”
Recently Swift has claimed she believes in feminism, and her newfound political stance has a very obvious influence on 1989. In an interview, Taylor pointed out a double-standard where male artists such as Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars can sing about girls and are viewed as sweet, caring, heartthrobs. However, when a female artist, such as herself, sings about boys, she’s insane, whiney, and annoying. Swift also publicly backed Emma Watson’s “game-changing” feminist speech presented at the United Nations.
In addition to speaking out for gender equality, Taylor has also exposed the injustices done by music streaming services. Spotify, a free online streaming service, has become infamous for treating artists poorly. Taylor Swift has taken a stand against the company by pulling her entire discography from the company’s streaming service, “I think there should be an inherent value placed on art.” The CEO of Spotify defended the company in an interview with MTV by saying, “Any way you cut it, one thing is clear – we’re paying an enormous amount of money to labels and publishers for distribution to artists and songwriters, and significantly more than any other streaming service.”
Taylor is certainly changing the music scene with her progressive political stances, empowering anthems, and unique hit singles. 1989 is available on iTunes for $12.99 and 1989 (Deluxe Edition), featuring three exclusive songs, is available on Target.com for $13.99.