When Taylor Swift shared a video on Instagram of her pressing the “18” button in an elevator, fans were quick to speculate what it could mean. As history has shown, whenever Swift has hinted at a significant date, it usually pertains to her music releases. Sure enough, on August 18th, she announced the release date for her upcoming album, as she had done for her previous albums, Red and Speak Now, in 2012 and 2010, respectively. Fans can expect the album to drop sometime in October, as is customary for Swift’s release cycle, and there may even be a new song to enjoy before then.
It has finally happened as predicted. Swift made an announcement during a Yahoo livestream on Monday that she will release a new single with a music video called “Shake it Off.” Her new album titled 1989 will also be released on October 27th. The song “Shake it Off” addresses haters and how they operate with lyrics such as “hate hate hate hate hate,” and Swift’s response to them is to “shake shake shake shake shake… shake it off.” The song includes grumpy trombones in the background and a questionable break where Swift talks instead of raps. The music video is a montage of Swift dancing poorly in various styles, including ballet and twerking, while background dancers execute those styles impeccably. The video is decent and has been played repeatedly, at least 15 times.
Swift’s appearance undergoes a transformation with each new album she releases. She intentionally alters her overall aesthetic to match the theme of her latest work, which her devoted fan base appreciates as a useful visual cue. During a recent live stream, Swift revealed that she prefers to release a new album every two years, explaining that this timeframe is sufficient for significant changes to be made in one’s life, from hairstyle to living location. It also happens to be just the right amount of time for fans to eagerly await new T-Swift music without reaching a point of rebellion due to an extended wait.
In a span of two years, Taylor Swift likes to reinvent herself in every album she makes. She refers to her new album as a “rebirth” and named it 1989, the year of her birth. During a Q&A session on her livestream, a fan pointed out how her appearance changes with every album. Taylor openly admits this and says that she intentionally arranges her look to reflect the theme of her latest album. Her fans appreciate this visual cue, and Taylor’s moves are entirely calculated but transparent. Fans love discovering secret messages in her liner notes, wherein she capitalizes random letters to spell out cryptic messages about her ex-boyfriends. Taylor is well aware that people love to analyze her relationships, as seen from one of her song lyrics in “Shake it Off.”
Taylor Swift openly admits that she creates her albums based on what she believes her fans will enjoy. She values pleasing her audience, alongside her passion for producing art. As she evolves and refines her image and business approach, she’s ventured away from her country music roots to explore new genres and offer her supporters unexpected extras. From sharing voice memos from her phone as bonus tracks to offering exclusive photo packs of her Polaroid shots, Swift is always looking for ways to keep her fans engaged. Even when her self-promotion can feel overbearing, she’s quick to bring herself back down to earth with witty remarks like “Swiftstakes” being an intentionally annoying sweepstakes. Despite her cunning sales tactics, it’s hard to hold a grudge against her because she’s so self-aware and honest about her priorities. After all, as she says herself, her main interests in life are “metaphors and cats.”
As Taylor Swift’s image has evolved to become more polished and her business model perfected, she has gradually moved away from country music towards the sleek manufactured sheen of pop. Her latest album, 1989, is her first official pop album, a departure from Red which was barely holding on to its country label. Fans are aware of this transition, and based on clues from her recent livestream, it seems that Swift’s music will remain heavily pop-oriented and nostalgic for the next two years. Listeners can expect more radio-friendly hits produced by Max Martin and fewer acoustic ballads filled with romantic metaphors. During the livestream, Swift praised ’80s pop and showed off her new crop top look. The album cover is a faded Polaroid photo of her with the top of her head cropped off, which she claims was an accidental choice.