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“Welcome to New York,” the first track on Taylor Swift’s new album, announces that she has moved, and so has her sound. Her previous album, Red, showed that she was moving from country to pop. 1989 shows that any vestige of Nashville has been left behind. This is a straight-up pop album, but a lot has not changed. Swift still writes about her personal life and writes fun, catchy hooks that stick in your brain. This is an album that you will find yourself singing along with pretty quickly.
Swift also hasn’t changed her notion of what love is: a gooey, over-romanticized head-over-heels emotion. She continues to use her songs to chronicle her relationships in a way that celebrates the good characteristics of the men she has dated (or wants to) but also blames them for whatever broke them up. She seems to take little responsibility for any relationship problems—and it appears she has had many of them. It will be interesting to see how her music changes if she eventually makes a long-term commitment and learns that love is much more than just emotion and excitement. (Big Machine Records)

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