Taylor Swift debuts single, announces new album

Mark Rocks

Hi there, I'm Mark!If you need me, I can usually be found writing about pop music while I wait for the next Girls Aloud reunion.

After weeks of teasing on social media, Taylor Swift hosted her Yahoo live stream tonight and dropped a whole lot of news for her fans. I’m still a little blind-sighted by the news, but the prime details are this – Her new single is called ‘Shake It Off’, her album is called 1989 and it will be released on 27 October.

Proving that Taylor is an advocate of the mantra ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, ‘Shake It Off’ was produced by Max Martin and Shellback and develops the preppy pop sound of her singles from 2012’s Red. The song is admittedly a little underwhelming, especially since her previous work with Martin and Shellback ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’, ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ and ‘22’ were undeniable bangers, but the song does have a certain charm. It’s catchy, it’s silly and a little irritating – all the ingredients for a worldwide pop smash hit.

And what about the album that ‘Shake It Off’ is launching? Named after her year of birth, 1989 was described by Taylor as being a love letter to 80s pop. I’m a little worried by this, to be honest. Taylor is an entirely serviceable pop star, but she truly shines when she’s singing heartfelt ballads (‘All Too Well’, ‘Begin Again’) and scathing country anthems (‘Shoulda Said No’). Unfortunately, there was no reference to her country musical roots in this live stream, with Taylor constantly referring to her new musical direction on 1989. We’ll have to wait until 27 October 2014 to hear whether this new direction means a complete rejection of her original sound, and in the mean time, I’ll be praying for more acoustic music from her.

And finally, we have the video for ‘Shake It Off’. It’s goofy, light-hearted and aims to showcase Taylor’s dancing talents (or lack thereof) among a variety of talented professionals. Swift said she wanted the video to encapsulate the idea that people who aren’t willing to dance in case they make fools of themselves are too uptight. If that’s the case, Taylor clearly has no qualms about displaying her lack of rhythm. Which I suppose means that she’s an extremely carefree individual. Or it could just be an attempt to make a funny music video. Whatever the inspiration, it works, and allows the song’s (tired) message of brushing off the haters to really shine through.

All in all, this live stream was undoubtedly a success in promotion. Taylor was as charming as ever while answering her fans’ questions, and the live stream allowed her to do away with the issue of premiering the song to different countries at different times. I’m going to go out on a limb here and prematurely congratulate Miss Swift on what I’m sure will be one of the best selling singles (and albums) of 2014. We’re happy to have you back, Taylor. Just throw a couple more guitars onto the album, please.

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