Edward Snowden should meet Taylor Swift. Her new country-eschewing album, 1989, which the music industry is anxiously counting on to ease its recent woes, is due out on October 27, but the freshly New York-based singer/songwriter has managed to keep many details of the music where even the National Security Agency (or, more powerful still, Facebook) might have trouble finding them. Oh, Swift dished on a few details in a Rolling Stone cover story, she shared lyric snippets via social media, and she released a handful of tracks: “Shake It Off,” “Out of the Woods,” “Welcome to New York” and, um, whatever you call eight seconds of static. But until yesterday, she hadn’t so much as confirmed the official tracklist.
The veil of secrecy goes up now. What you call the track that erroneously hipped Canadian listeners to the John Cagean wonders of white noise, it turns out, is “Style” (there’s a preview in, what else, a Target commercial). Despite the secrecy, the tracklist isn’t all that surprising: Other previously reported titles including “Bad Blood,” “All You Had to Do Was Stay” and “I Wish You Would,” and the standard edition includes 13 songs, just as RS originally reported.
What might be more intriguing, though, is that hot on the heels of 1989‘s tracklist has come the arrival of its first album reviews.
The New York Times‘s Jon Caramanica has a nuanced take, describing “expertly constructed, slightly neutered songs about heartbreak” before reaching a powerful conclusion: Swift, like the far more vocally talented Adele, has largely made a pop album that attempts to sidestep today’s pop trends; despite the title’s reference to a year, then, 1989 is a bid for timelessness.
Entertainment Weekly‘s review (a “B” grade), is here, as well, with Adam Markovitz cautioning of Swift that “too often on 1989 she’s trying to win at somebody else’s game, whittling her words down to generic love stuff over flowy synthesizers.”
Haters gonna hate, hate, hate? (Guess critics should get used to hearing that a lot about this release.) Meanwhile, TIME calls 1989 Swift’s “sharpest album.”
Check out the tracklist — and that “Style” snippet — below.