?Back in the ’80s, artists like Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and Janet Jackson would release blockbuster albums where nearly every track was a single and even the ones that weren’t felt like they could be. Taylor Swift is too young to remember those days — she was born the year this album is named after — but she gets the idea.
For 1989, her big pop coming-out party, Swift largely ditched the one-woman singer-songwriter persona of her early country days and collaborated with Top 40 hitmakers like Ryan Tedder (“Welcome to New York”), Jack Antonoff (“Out of the Woods”), and of course, Swedish chart- master Max Martin, who had a hand in seven of these tunes. The LP debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and spent its first 53 weeks in the Top 10 (and 58 nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10 so far). It’s sold more than 5.7 million copies in the U.S., earned critical raves, and inspired loads of think pieces on everything from “poptimism” to whether Swift is a good feminist.
And the album was just the beginning. All six 1989 singles came with Internet-breaking videos, and when Swifty hit the road — filling the world’s stadiums with young girls and boys, psyched parents, and every other type of person imaginable — she shared the stage with dozens of celebrity friends (some also part of her famed “squad”). It’s easy to see why everyone wants to be Taylor’s bestie and sing along with these songs: 1989 is a dreamy synth-pop album about moving to New York and shaking off the memories of your lonely Starbucks lovers (or something). Although Swift is rich, talented, and easy on the eyes, she makes herself seem 100 percent relatable.
A Grammy win would be the cherry on a sundae Taylor has been savoring since October 2014, when 1989 dropped. But even if Grammy voters go another direction, she might get to cheer for a friend. After all, she performed with The Weeknd on her tour, and also got Kendrick Lamar to guest on her “Bad Blood” remix. After 16 months in the spotlight, she’s showing no signs of going out of style.