The new Taylor Swift album will be dropping in October and fans finally got to feast their ears on her first single, “Shake It Off,” on Monday after she had been teasing it for the past couple of weeks or so. Swift revealed to the public upon releasing her new video today that her fifth album entitled 1989, will be a “straight-up pop album,” which is very clearly pointed at by the single. Swift consistently sells boat loads of albums, but this is poised to be particularly huge. Here’s why.
Swift started out when she was very young doing what was for the most part straight forward and mainstream country music. She scored a smash hit what “Teardrops On My Guitar” and it was pretty much all over from there. The song did get a fair amount of play in the pop scene as well, but make no doubt, it was a country song and album at heart. The title track was called “Tim McGraw” so it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t.
However, Swift clearly had very strong potential both as a talent and from a marketing stand point and it’s hard to know for sure, but it looks like there has been a long term plan in place to get her fans used to the idea of her being an out and out pop star. As she progressed with her career, her albums began to shift a little more away from country and a little more pop.
Fearless was very much the follow up that everyone expected but it was once Speak Now came out that it became more evident. Songs like “Back To December” had only the faintest of country elements but were extremely accessible to the more broad music consuming audience. This idea was fully realized with her last album, Red. From the second that “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” came out, it was evident that things had changed. The lead single was straight up pop.
The brilliant thing about it was that it was a gradual progression. She didn’t just stun her fan base and make a dramatic change that could have alienated a chunk of her audience. Instead, she eased her fans into the idea and at the same time was able to capture a lot more along the way. As a result, Red sold more than 1 million copies in its first week alone. Sure, there are still country songs and elements throughout that album, but the bigger singles were pure pop. It makes total sense that the next step would be to run with that idea.
The major advantage of going about it this way is that her fans were able to adapt. It doesn’t seem like some crazy marketing ploy and there isn’t nearly as much doubt that she can manage the transition. When other artists have tried to jump genres in the past, it can prove to be disastrous. Be it KISS going disco or Lil Wayne trying to do a rock album (seriously, that happened).
“Shake It Off” already has everything going for it. Massive buzz, of course, being that Swift is one of the biggest recording artists of the moment. The song is also incredibly catchy, partially thanks to Max Martin and Shellback, who produced the track. They worked with her on “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” as well. The song couldn’t be further from country and that is why the album is going to be so huge.
No that it is better music because it isn’t country, but she now has a chance to reach the greater pop music consuming market. With her whole 1989 album promising to be pop through and through, the potential is very strong. Swift’s fans will surely turn out in droves to buy the album. When you couple that with the new fan potential, there is no reason to doubt that this could be the highest selling album of the year.
It’s hard to know if this was all planned or if it was a happy accident, but in any case, it is looking like it will prove to be a great decision.
Be sure to watch the “Shake It Off” video below.
YouTube Video Courtesy of TaylorSwiftVEVO