Despite all the hype surrounding Taylor Swift's upcoming fifth studio album, 1989, the "Shake It Off" singer has somehow managed to keep the bulk of her new LP under wraps ahead of its October 27 release. (I mean, we literally just got a track list Wednesday night.) Welcome to the longest week of every Swiftie's life -- but will it prove worth the wait?
According to the first official reviews of the album, which began popping up on Thursday (October 23), it will be.
Critics agree, for the most part, that Taylor is "thriving" in her new, decidedly pop-oriented material. The same is mostly true for the '80s-throwback sound tying the effort together, although one dissenting reviewer found the retro inspiration more derivative than ingenious.
As for her songwriting, Jim Farber of the New York Daily News was not quite won over, writing that Swift's direction on 1989 is "more regressive, teenage and girlish than ever." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times disagreed, writing: "Don't be distracted for whom the belle trolls; she trolls with glee, and that's what matters."
See what else the critics are saying about Taylor Swift's 1989 below.
"By making pop with almost no contemporary references, Ms. Swift is aiming somewhere even higher, a mode of timelessness that few true pop stars -- aside from, say, Adele, who has a vocal gift that demands such an approach -- even bother aspiring to.
"Everyone else striving to sound like now will have to shift gears once the now sound changes. But not Ms. Swift, who's waging, and winning, a new war, one she'd never admit to fighting." -- Jon Caramanica, The New York Times
Bad Less Good
"The synths that define the album, and make it uniform, aren't of a deep, rich, or modern kind. They're nostalgically dinky, aping the thin and tinny sound of an outmoded brand of pop.
"Of course, for her youngest fans, this may sound new. But older listeners will immediately bring to mind records by Sheena Easton in the '80s or Kim Wilde, circa 'Kids In America.'" -- Jim Farber, The New York Daily News
And The ... Wait, NVM! More Good.
"The expertly crafted sound of 1989 ... marks her most impressive sleight of hand yet -- shifting the focus away from her past and onto her music, which is as smart and confident as it's ever been. Who are these songs about? When they sound this good, who cares?" -- Sam Lansky, TIME
Up Top, Abigail.
"On 1989, [Swift] matches deceptively simple, irresistibly catchy melodies with lyrics that can seem by turns confessional and elusive, playful and aching." -- Elysa Gardner, USA Today
Taylor also Instagrammed a snippet of Rolling Stone's review.