For the last decade, Taylor Swift has been a star in the music industry. However, based on the first couple of singles that have gotten some play from her new album “Reputation,” I can honestly say I set my expectations fairly low for this one.
While Swift’s first several albums were country with a bit of a cross-over into pop, her last release of “1989” was about 90% pop and 10% country at best. It worked out well. This is due to the notion that her sound remained very much hers and the pop style utilized was fairly authentic.
The album “Reputation” is really the story of two distinct halves. For the most part, the first half is a collection of rather cliché and overproduced pop with a bit of rap and hip-hop added in for some reason. It’s a major departure from her prior recordings and it comes across as forced and inauthentic. The second half is still pop but seems much more suited to her and relatable to her longtime supporters.
My concern here is that Swift seems to be reinventing herself. Sure, tons of artists do this over the years of their career. Some have done it several times like the “Material Girl.” Usually though, this is because their style has lost appeal. The problem here is a simple one. Swift is doing it even though she didn’t have to and that what she was doing suited her and excited a fan base.
The best tracks on this release are probably “Getaway Car,” “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” and Call It What You Want.” The ones we could really do without include “End Game” and “Gorgeous” with all other being a mixed bag at best.
As mentioned, I came in with low expectations. When this is the case, it’s not hard to exceed such a notion. So, while I’d say she did do just that, it’s not a lot to rave about. I’d give her an average rating or something like 3/5. While that’s not bad, it’s on the lower part of the Swift discography.
Taylor Swift has always been a mature young woman. But, with the release of her latest album “1989” it is clear that the young lady is growing up into a full fledged woman. This is reflected in her artistic interest in venturing into other music genres, namely pop.
While most of her albums have had some crossover appeal, she acknowledged that she was intentionally trying to branch out with this one. Mission accomplished.
It is likely that some of her fans may have some trouble digesting this experimental sound. But at the same time, it is likely that she will gain some new fans as well.
Personally, my favorite songs on the album are probably “I Wish You Would,” “Blank Space,” “Wildest Dreams” and “This Love.”
The least impressive tracks are probably the first single “Shake It Off” and “Welcome to New York” and “I Know Places.”
The remaining songs are in the average to slightly above category.
The best comes out when Taylor seems to show her more natural side with poignant lyrics, a little bit of fun and an emphasis on the vocals rather than anything else. The less flattering parts occur when it seems like she’s trying a bit too hard for the current and somewhat unoriginal pop vibe.
All in all, it’s a pretty good effort to venture into the pop scene and I suspect she’ll have her share of success with it.
If you are a true Taylor fan, I’d certainly recommend this album.
Carrie Underwood has been a mainstay on the country and pop music charts since her rise to fame as quite possibly the most successful winner of American Idol to date.
Her newest release “Blown Away” does feature some classic Carrie elements but also seems to venture into new territory with mixed results. Several songs include some surprisingly electronic beats and some have lyrics of a deeper, darker nature than anything else we’ve seen from Underwood in the past.
The most notable tracks on the album include “See You Again,” “One Way Ticket,” “Do You Think About Me,” Nobody Ever Told You” and “Who Are You.” Between these songs Underwood delivers a little bit of traditional country but mostly a mix of fun and uplifting music and lyrics with a lot of pop.
The lesser quality tracks would have to include “Two Black Cadillacs,” “Thank God For Hometowns” and “Cupid’s Got A Shotgun.” The first has a fairly traditional country vibe but is extremely dark. The other two go the extreme country route as well with the first being too basic and the second coming across a bit cheesey.
The rest of the tracks are pretty decent but nothing outstanding.
All in all, “Blown Away” is probably not one of Underwood’s best efforts but it is still far better than most of the music out there. I would give it a grade of a B-.