Photo courtesy of Taylor Swift

The long awaited day has come for fans and hopefuls: a new Taylor Swift album, and boy, has the two-year build up paid off. Since her last album Red was released two years ago, Swift has continued to stray away from her humble roots of country, and instead, dive further into the pop genre. The result is 1989, and with its unique, synthetic sound different than all of her other albums, Taylor didn’t disappoint.

1989 starts out with “Welcome to New York,” a playful, upbeat and lively tune that makes listeners want to drop what they’re doing and go skipping around Central Park.

Next comes “Blank Space,” easily one of the fan favorites of the album. The song is written from the persona the media portrays Swift as: a hopeless, boy-crazy girl who dates boys rapidly then writes songs about them. But she fiercely tells it as it is in the song, backing up her word that she has a blank space and she’s not afraid to write your name.

“Style” follows suit and begins to slow the pace. The song screams empowerment and is one of the best tunes to use to practice a caltwalk strut or Top Model poses. Also the hookline will be one of the most memorable from 1989, second only to “Shake It Off.”

The tracks continue to slow down with “Out of the Woods” and “All You Had to Do Was Stay,” both dealing with the uncertainty in relationships, but with that classic T-Swift spin.

Even if radio stations have already started overplaying it, “Shake It Off” comes next and acts as a perfect re-energizer from the past few slow songs. The catchy beat causes many listeners to hum along, regardless of location.

“I Wish You Would” then settles back down as Swift starts preaching her sweet melodious truths about crooked love, where two people just never seem to match up.

One of the most experimental sounds on the album comes next with “Bad Blood,” and it totally pays off. Rumors have surfaced the song was inspired by a previous feud with fellow pop diva Katy Perry over ex-boyfriend John Mayer.

Regardless, the song’s energy and spirit makes for a good addition to running and workout playlists.

“Wildest Dreams” romanticizes love in a way Swift is known for while “How You Get the Girl” gives explicitly simple instructions to get a dream girl.

“This Love,” “I Know Places” and “Clean” finish off the album in gentle, sweet tunes, fit for a night alone or a rainy day.

No one does relationships better than Swift, and for all of the criticism she receives over her music, people still listen.

In fact, for 2014, Swift was the first artist to go platinum on her album, and did so  in only a week with 1.287 million albums sold in the US alone (the only album of 2014 to hit this milestone).

To give you an idea, even for Beyoncé, it took her album roughly three weeks to reach the 1.3 million threshold for her self-titled album, which unexpectedly dropped last December. It took Taylor roughly one.

Yes, many fans may miss her first album, which featured the unforgettable songs such as “Teardrops On My Guitar” and “Picture To Burn,” but Swift has grown into her new sound.

Compared to Red, 1989 is much more laid back for the pop genre. The style/genre shift seems very indicative of the place she’s at right now in her life—not with a guy, and wanting the world to see her as herself, a person who can survive on her own.

Overall, the new sound from 1989 is refreshing and definitely worth the listen.

Our Take: 4/5