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Customer Reviews

Oh Taylor, why did you have to conform?

I'll start by saying I like Taylor Swift, so much so that I went and saw her Red Tour (a rarity for me). I also initially scoffed at fellow listeners who lamented her departure into pop, surely Taylor's talented and distinctive enough that it won't matter? (Besides, the 'pop' songs on Red were good).

Now I'm thinking they were right and I was wrong. I felt so disappointed when I listened to the
album from beginning to end. It’s not so much that the song writing is worse but the sound itself is just... unsatisfying.

For the most part, Taylor now just sounds like everyone else. The lyrics are (mostly) still there but I find they are subdued, not enhanced, by the bizarre pop style influences like the shrieking ‘stay’ in ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’ or the forced out-of-nowhere chorus in ‘I Wish You Would’. The songs are also darker and I was cringing a bit at the thought of her younger fans listening to them in ‘Style’ and ‘Wildest Dreams’ (hopefully the clothes coming off will go over their heads, although I suppose they probably hear worse anyway than I did at that age). Even the way Taylor sings now, could easily be mistaken for someone else.

One of the most striking songs for me was ‘Style’, when Taylor talks about her 'tight little skirt', which reminds me of You Belong With Me's 'you wear short skirts / I wear t-shirts'. This feels a metaphor for the whole album and transformation; Taylor's becoming the antithesis of 'uncool'. I think this is why the official reviews are so favourable, it's not so much the music, as the fact Taylor is no longer an awkward anomaly - she's just like the rest with some better lyrics. She's not a challenge to the sexist orthodoxy that suggests all girls need to wear short skirts or sound like everyone else to fit in, because that's exactly what she is doing now. I think it's a sad loss for those of us that really valued the rawness and authenticity of her earlier music.

Her uncoolness (which all of us girls have somewhere) is gone or now feels false in someone so polished. I really don't recognise or relate to what Taylor's singing about now; I just don’t have relationships like the ones she describes and I don’t understand why someone being ‘handsome as hell’ (Wildest Dreams) makes them good boyfriend material – and moreover if you know that from the outset - why do it at all? It seems self-destructive in a way that her songs never have before. I love the fact Taylor has always been so honest in her songs but this album doesn't feel empowering because of it, it feels the opposite, cynical and degraded. The closest she comes is in ‘I Know Places’ and ‘Clean’, streets ahead of anything else on the album - but notice how they are last on the track list.

Yet, Taylor's personal following is a formidable force now, so the reality is she doesn't have to honour her roots or really do anything much at all to be successful. 1989 is (mostly) a good pop album, if you ignore the fact that it's Taylor Swift, whose dedicated listeners know she can sound better than this. She's a real musician; pop is for people who can sing and dance passably but don't write their own songs. The best songs on 1989 like 'I Know Places' or ‘Clean’, could have easily been on Speak Now or Red. Why couldn't she just do her own thing without needing to categorise herself? It doesn't make you more creative to do what everyone else does, it just stifles your originality.

One has to wonder whether Taylor has really been shaking anything off. To me it feels like she’s in retreat, fading into conformity, rather than giving us that authentic female voice she always has – and one that’s so frowned upon in our western societies. The idea that women are vulnerable and strong all that the same time, that we feel things strongly but we have the agency, that we love our boys but ultimately we do our own thing. These things feel entirely absent in this album in a way that they never have before - it doesn’t feel like a ‘rebirth’ so much as a white flag.

Awful album, so disappointed that she's changed

I've been a Taylor fan since before she was famous and I'm so disappointed with this album. She's taken away everything that made her music special. Gone are the meaningful songs and stories, gone are the acoustic and country backings. Enter generic pop music that sounds the same as everything else. I've been to about 10 of her concerts in London, since 2008. I can't see myself going again if she will be singing music from this album. It's such a shame that she's thrown her talent away. Was this inevitable with "I knew you were trouble" following suit? I guess I'll just have to keep listening to the old stuff and pretend this album never happened... :(

Where's the acoustic guitars??

It's not really as good as Red. Going to take some getting used to


Born: 13 December 1989 in Wyomissing, PA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Taylor Swift is that rarest of pop phenomenona: a superstar who managed to completely cross over from country to the mainstream. Other singers performed similar moves -- notably, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson both became enduring mainstream icons based on their '70s work -- but Swift shed her country roots like they were a second skin; it was a necessary molting to reveal she was perhaps the sharpest, savviest, populist singer/songwriter of her generation, one who could harness the zeitgeist and...
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