In a 2014 interview, Taylor explained:
"It was the night of the Grammys this year. […] I remember going home and playing a lot of the new music I had recorded for some of my backup singers and one of my
best friends. We were all sitting in the kitchen and I was playing them all this music, and they were just saying, ‘You know, this is very eighties. It’s very clear to us that this is so
eighties.’ We were just talking and talking about how it’s kind of a rebirth in a new genre, how that’s a big bold step, how, kind of, starting a part of your career over. When they left that
night, I just had this very clear moment of, ‘it’s gotta be called 1989.’" -- Taylor Swift
She also said the following on the inspiration behind this record:
"I was listening to a lot of late 80s pop...I really loved the chances they were taking, how bold it was. It was apparently a time of limitless potential, the idea
you could do what you want be what you want...the idea of endless possibilities was kind of a theme in the last two years of my life." -- Taylor Swift
WRITING AND RECORDING
Following the release of her fourth studio album, "RED", and its corresponding tour, Taylor was "six
months deep in the songwriting process." In November 2013, the singer told Billboard: "There are probably seven or eight [songs] that I know I want on the record. It's already
evolved into a new sound, and that's all I wanted." During the promotion for the album, Taylor said that she "woke up every single day not wanting, but needing to make a new style of
music than I'd ever made before". Taylor explained in a January 2015 interview that she was "very proud" that she made a pop album because she "wanted to", and "there was no-one else influencing"
In February 2014, Taylor confirmed she was again working with Martin and Shellback, with whom she had collaborated for the writing of three songs on "RED". This
time, they were writing "a lot more than three songs together." Taylor's friend Jack Antonoff, with whom she had previously
collaborated, and Ryan Tedder also worked on the album. Antonoff co-wrote and co-produced the songs "Out of the Woods", "I Wish You Would" and "You Are in Love", with the third track
only appearing on the United States Target, Target Canada, and international deluxe version. Tedder co-wrote and co-produced two songs with Taylor
-- "I Know Places" and "Welcome to New York" -- after she contacted Tedder through a smartphone voice memo. Tedder then began working on a demo for "I Know Places" on his tour bus while in
Switzerland. The pair scheduled studio time soon after and recorded the song.
In September 2014, Taylor told Rolling Stone that one of the songs on the album was taken "straight from the pages of my journal"; although the
name of the song is unknown, Taylor mentioned "Out of the Woods" as part of her interview response. In regard to "Out of the Woods", Antonoff said: "Part of it reads like a diary, and parts
of it read like something 100,000 people should be screaming all together. It's got these very big lines that everybody can relate to, which are given weight by her being really honest about
personal things." "Out of the Woods" marked the first time that Taylor had written a song over an existing track -- Antonoff sent an early version of the song to Taylor, who then added vocals and
lyrics within a 30-minute time frame.
MUSIC COMPOSITION AND INFLUENCE
When Taylor first announced the album on August 18, 2014, she described it as her "first documented, official pop album", stating that she was inspired by late 1980s
pop during the recording period. Musically, "1989" is a synthpop and dance-pop album that features more electronic production than her previous releases. The album contains
drum programming and synthesizers provided by Martin, and the production is backed by a pulsating bass (Yamaha DX7), processed backing vocals, and guitars, the latter of which provide "texture",
as described by Jem Aswad of Billboard, who states that "an acoustic [guitar] is audible on just one song."
Taylor described "1989" as the most "sonically cohesive" studio album she has ever made. In an interview with Kiss FM (UK), she confirmed
that the title was inspired by the music developed in her birth year, 1989, which she had re-discovered. In September 2014, Taylor told Rolling Stone Magazine that Martin, New York
City, her journal, Fine Young Cannibals and a sense of experimentation were the key influences underpinning the album. In relation to experimentation, Taylor elaborated on the music of the
"It [the 1980s] was a very experimental time in pop music...People realized songs didn't have to be this standard drums-guitar-bass-whatever. We can make a song with
synths and a drum pad. We can do group vocals the entire song. We can do so many different things. And I think what you saw happening with music was also happening in our culture, where people
were just wearing whatever crazy colors they wanted to, because why not? There just seemed to be this energy about endless opportunities, endless possibilities, endless ways you could live your
life. And so with this record, I thought, "There are no rules to this. I don't need to use the same musicians I've used, or the same band, or the same producers, or the same formula. I can make
whatever record I want." -- Taylor Swift
Musically, "1989" was influenced by some of Taylor's favorite 1980s pop acts, including Annie Lennox, Phil Collins and "'Like a
Prayer'-era Madonna". The songwriter explained in an October 2014 television interview that, in terms of lyrics, she was inspired by the process of self-discovery that occurred during the
two years prior to the release of "1989". The album's lyrical content concerned with love and relationships show an emphasis placed upon the complexities of both. Taylor said her lyrical
inspiration behind "1989" was John Hughes films.
"1989" sold 1.287 million copies in the US during its first week and debuted at number one on Billboard 200. It became the best-selling album of 2014 in the country
with total sales of 6 million as of 2016, while selling 10.1 million worldwide.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
"1989" won the Grammy Award for "Album of the Year", making Taylor the first female credited main artist to win the top prize at the ceremony twice with
her own works, having previously won in 2010 for "Fearless", and her third nomination overall after "RED" in 2014.
The album also won "Best Pop Vocal Album", Taylor's first victory in the category. The first two singles "Shake It Off" (in 2015) and "Blank Space" (in 2016) were
both nominated for "Record of the Year", "Song of the Year" and "Best Pop Solo Performance". The "Bad Blood" remix featuring Kendrick Lamar was nominated for "Best Pop Duo/Group
Performance" and won the award for "Best Music Video".
In 2019, Rolling Stone Magazine wrote: "'1989' was a blockbuster -- hit singles after hit singles after hit videos after tabloid headlines after 'Damn,
is it really 2016 already and this album is still going?' Sure was, and Taylor used her second 'Album of the Year' win that February to trumpet her own historic accomplishments while also
shading Kanye West for saying some not-nice things about her on wax -- wow, what a pop star. But the most remarkable thing about '1989' was that once it finally did die down, there were
still singles to go: 'Welcome to New York' was Devil Wears Prada-worthy enough to excuse the stretch in credibility, and 'All You Had to Do Was Stay' was one of the decade’s best pop songs,
"1989" is the most awarded pop album in music history.
These are the hidden messages of the songs on "1989". For the first time, they told a story.