Lyrically, this album is very bland. All the songs on this record deal with relationship complexities filter through a fake hipster aesthetic. If you are looking for anything profound and inspiring, this is not the record for you. Swift relies on catchy chorus and strong instruments to carry this album forward.
“1998” begins with “Welcome to New York,” which by far one of the weakest album openers of this year. It is musically uninteresting and, considering she was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Nashville, lacks emotional sincerity and heart. The next three songs, “Black Space,” “Style,” and especially “Out of the Woods” are the most interesting and engaging sounds on the album with the except of its lead single. THese songs feature great chorus, infectious beats, and all that people who expect from a good pop song. “Out of the Woods” is the most adventurous songs on the album, with an instrumental that is on the brink of indietronica. It really shows a level of maturity that Swift has not shown in her previous works.
After these tracks, the likable “All You Had To Do Was Stay” and “Shake It Off” keep the albums momentum going, but after that point, the second half of the album loses all its steam. It mostly consists of lazily written choruses and slow ballads that come as insincere and uninteresting. For example, “Bad Blood” features some of the laziest pop songwriting on the album, and with a very generic instrument, it does absolutely nothing but fill up space on the albums track list.
Overall, while generic, it is a solid synth pop with some great singles, but it isn’t worth wild as a cohesive piece of art