How to Listen to Taylor Swift's "1989" Album


TIA HERE and this time it's not something abroad-related. Like so many (young) (Western) (female) people, I am obsessed with Taylor Swift's new album. After listening to it nonstop for many a day, I think it's finally time for me to lay down my track-by-track notes for how each song hits me—and could hit you—in the best way possible. It's all about context (yours, not Taylor's), which affects how you enjoy each song. Here's what I came up with on which situations best suit each track:
  1. Welcome to New York: This one is strikingly specific, so I'll work with what I've got.
    • Stepping off the plane at LaGuardia or JFK
    • Walking through Manhattan with the hustle and bustle of early morning commuters all around (and feeling as if you are a part of the madness)
    • Driving into the state/city of New York (although why you would ever drive into the city is honestly beyond me)
    • Walking down any busy street, for that matter
    • Greeting the study abroad student you are adopting into your family, assuming you are waiting at a NYC airport for them
    • Welcoming alien life to the cultural capital of the United States
  2. Blank Space: A self-jabbing, ironic jam that is much catchier than I feel was intended.
    • Dancing around your room with your friends and singing into hairbrush microphones (Why not embrace a song about inaccurate cliches by living them?)
    • In general, screaming the song at your friend at any location (car, home, walking cheerfully down the streets of Copenhagen) with a crazy glint in your eye
    • Singing with a clicky pen in hand so you can click at all the right times (Or should I say write times? Alright, bye.)
    • Meeting your future spouse and/or soulmate so they know you mean business 
    • Floating through empty space where no one can hear you sing
  3. Style: All about that relationship that can always pick up where it left off.
    • Driving in the dead of night, Ryan Gosling-style, with your windows down and someone on your mind
    • Pretending you’re in a movie, and you’re the main character in a wild romance with a bad boy
    • After listening to "Blue Jeans" by Lana Del Rey
    • Meeting someone with a lot of style (and I mean a lot)
    • Wearing red lipstick and your favorite outfit—something "classic"
    • Meeting James Dean (or at least his reincarnation)
  4. Out of the Woods: That relationship that is on the rocks for a long time.
    • Wearing the necklace your kæreste gave you
    • Driving through a heavily wooded area with the scattered shadows falling all over your windshield like rain
    • Reminiscing about uncertain times and whirlwind romances, of which I am sure you have had many
    • When you are lost in a forest without a compass and are starting to panic (When the song ends, you will find your way out—guaranteed)
    • When someone is looking at you and you're looking at them
  5. All You Had To Do Was Stay: Someone leaves, then wants to get back together... Um... We are never ever getting back together? Remember that one?
    • Slamming the door in the face of your ridiculous ex
    • Wanting to shrug off your frustrations at other people
    • Spinning around in your room and pretending it's actual dancing
    • Singing drunkenly with friends as you walk down the street
    • Feeling like you want to try to hit that high note and are prepared to fail or do so very poorly
    • Trying to stop your dog from eating the food you dropped on the floor because it's not good for them, but they ignore you and eat it anyway then have doggy diarrhea
  6. Shake It Off: Sequel to "Mean," moving from the anti-bullying anthem to the anti-hating anthem.
    • Dancing on your own
    • Making up the moves as you go
    • Having that music on your mind that says it's gonna be alright
    • When the players are playing
    • When the haters are hating
    • When the heartbreakers are heart breaking
    • When the fakers are faking
    • Needing to just shake it all off
  7. I Wish You Would: Wanting people to read your mind but understanding that they can't.
    • Reminiscing in the car and trying to let loose all your tension
    • Lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, and forgiving another person (or yourself) and understanding their point of view (or your own)
    • Watching the beams of headlights from passing cars sending yellow light across the dark walls of your room as you go to sleep
    • Singing outside of that special person's window, so they know there's no bad blood between you, you're just a crazy person singing outside of their window
  8. Bad Blood: The angry friend/frenemy-turned-enemy frustration song.
    • Screaming in the car with the pain of betrayal on your mind
    • Performing at your school's talent show without breaking eye contact with your frenemy, announcing their new status as permanent rival
    • Trying to get a blood transfusion but realizing they don't even have the blood type you need
    • After getting stabbed in the back and going to court to testify against your stabber
    • When your vampire friend leaves their snack outside of the fridge for too long and it expires
    • When Katy Perry steals your entire dance team after saying weird, off-putting remarks to you for years
  9. Wildest Dreams: Anthem to the ex that has not left you scarred, but changed you for the better, as you have done for them as well.
    • Sitting on a roof, staring at the stars and feeling the chill of the air against your skin
    • Staring at the foggy city lights of a Swedish town—somewhere you feel foreign but also completely at home
    • Laying in a field and watching the grass flow with the wind, thinking of someone you've crossed paths with in life, but don't think you will see again
    • Running through said field majestically
    • When Lana Del Rey hasn't released anything new lately and you're dying for something Lana
  10. How You Get The Girl: A cute story of a relationship from beginning to end, with tiny anecdotes.
    • Cooking and dancing around the kitchen like a true fire hazard
    • Driving at noon down the road and gesturing (in a friendly way!) at people in the cars next to you to see if they notice
    • Jumping around your room with your best friends
    • Tapping your pen on the dining table and muttering the lyrics with your also-distracted roommates
    • When you can't remember what to say as you're standing at the altar, so you just start spewing this
  11. This Love: The slow, 100% Taylor song dedicated to the flow of love (for another, for yourself, etc.).
    • Sitting in the sand and letting the ocean waves brush the tip of your toes as the tide comes in
    • Staring out the window during a sun shower
    • Drinking tea in the morning, quietly zoning out to get through the early bird blues
    • Slow dancing with the love of your life
    • Painting your room or doing something else that you find utterly soothing
    • Trying to differentiate from that love
  12. I Know Places: This is the "escape the paparazzi" song that I'm not sure how to apply to my own life, but is so catchy that I don't even care...
    • Driving fast (but safely adhering to the speed limit) in the dark, when your brights fill up the empty road like a white mist
    • Jogging at a steady pace and pretending you're prepping for the hunger games (Is that morbid?)
    • Performing a dramatic dance with lots of dips
    • When you're a fox that is being hunted by a pack of dogs?
    • Running away from an explosion with your love, hand in hand
    • Convincing tourists you're the right person to ask for directions
  13. Clean: Overcoming addiction (recovery) as a metaphor for getting over a relationship 
    • Strolling in the rain in a quiet city
    • Going on a walk alone, along a harbor, watching the boats bob peacefully
    • Swimming
    • Showering
    • Stepping out of the shower
    • Lying around your room in your towel because getting dressed means having to do real people things (like write blog posts—or, wait, you can be in a towel for that, I guess)
Hope my high quality, deep analysis of how you should listen to each of Taylor's new songs (ignoring the ones on the deluxe edition because I don't have them unfortunately) has changed you for the better. How do you listen to this album? Let me know in the comments below! Travel-related posts resume soon. For now, I'm off to Vienna!

For more, check out Tia's new blog!

Much love,

T.