Taylor Swift, 1989 (deluxe version)

There's something refreshing about Taylor Swift finally ending her county-pop hybrid music albums and releasing a "pure" pop album.  1989 (deluxe version) has a dual significance to its name: It's the year she was born, and it also has the pop sound and sensibility of the 1980s.  And the deluxe version from Target (disclaimer: I work for Target, but not in their artificial intelligence division) has three extra songs and her notes/demo versions of three other songs.

lifIt's no surprise that almost all the songs on 1989 are about romance (except for the generational love/hate song "New Romantics") -- but there's a nice spectrum.  There are plenty of sappy, feel-good love songs, like "How You Get the Girl" and "You Are in Love."  There are also lost of post-romance tunes, from the longing "I Wish You Would" to the angry "Bad Blood" and the recovering romantic "Clean."

This time, though, Taylor is aware of her past/reputation and works that into the music.  Several of the songs, such as "Blank Slate" and "Wonderland,"  have her knowing that dating her will be both great and terrible ("life was never worse but never better").  "Shake It Off" is about Taylor's reputation for short-lived relationships; or her impromptu dancing; or dealing with bullies and criticism in general.

1989 (deluxe version) is an entertaining album.  Swift's voice hits the right notes for both bouncy fluff and tearjerker songs.  The songs are all solidly in the world of pop, but they all work in there (although I found "Bad Blood" to be a little too sing-song-y).  The bonus tracks are good (though I could take or leave the "songwriting voice memos" at the end) and this is very enjoyable to listen to multiple times.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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