ARTIST: Taylor Swift
YEAR RELEASED: 2012
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK
SINGLES: We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (#1 US, #4 UK), Begin Again (#7 US, #30 UK), I Knew You Were Trouble (#2 US, #2 UK), 22 (#20 US, #9 UK), Red (#6 US, #26 UK), Everything Has Changed (#32 US, #7 UK), The Last Time (#103 US, #25 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: With seven singles, probably no, unless you’re one of the badillion people who have this record.
LINEUP: Taylor Swift, with 44 studio musicians and six additional backup singers (!!) Not like the old days, is it?
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Firmly moving from country with dabbles in pop to a total pop star, Taylor Swift begins her true pop culture domination.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: (This is Ms. Swift’s fourth album. The first three I’ve put in my country music playlists to go through later. Why? Because, that’s why…)
A battalion of musicians and producers descended on whatever studios Taylor Swift was recording in, and the result was the album that put Taylor Swift on the way to super-ultra-duper stardom, and one of the forces driving pop culture in this decade.
Despite the vast array of talent, Swift has made this album sound like her own – as she’s in control and not a puppet of the producers. It has a current pop sheen, has the requisite electronic gizmos and tools (but doesn’t over do them – it uses auto tune and the like as enhancements, not substitutions), and the true pop songs are candy for the ears.
It’s not perfect, because there’s bloat. There’s four or five too many songs, and sometimes the ballads and slower songs are stuck in the way. Most pop albums could use some paring in these times, and this is no exception.
Yet, this is definitely a touchstone for the 2010’s, and cuts on this record will be long lasting.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There were 38 engineers, mixers, producers, assistants, programmers, etc. credited. Also, Swift’s hair stylist and make-up artist are credited. Ok then.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Of course, the deluxe version has a few b-sides and demos.
GRADE: A-: Some bloat, but even after five years you’re not sick of the best songs.