2014 will be remembered as the year when Taylor Swift officially transitioned from country music to pop by releasing her “first documented, official pop album” 1989. It came to no surprise as though she is considered as a country artist, her songwriting is more pop than country. Red previewed the transition with the songs We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, I Knew You Were Trouble, and 22.
1989 was released on October 27, 2014 to critical acclaim and commercial success. It became her third million selling debut in the US with 1.289 million copies sold in its first week. It became the best – selling album in the US in 2014 and since then sold 10 million copies worldwide.
She first teased the change in her sound through the lead single Shake It Off. It was released on August 18, 2014 during the Yahoo! live stream which also premiered the music video directed by Mark Romanek. This uptempo dance – pop track written by Swift, Max Martin and Shellback, was a sonic departure from her previous work. Lyrically, the song is a kiss- off to Taylor’s detractors. It debuted atop the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming her second number one song in the US.
The follow – up single, Blank Space, achieved the same success as the lead single reaching number one at the US Billboard Hot 100 and made her the first woman to replace herself at the top spot in the 56-year history of the chart. This electropop song plays on the narrative of “an overly attached man-eater who dates for songwriting material.” The song received critical acclaim for its cleverness and self – awareness.
But my ultimate favorite single from 1989 is her fifth, the moody and sultry Wildest Dreams.
Even before it was released as a single, I have already loved this Lana Del Rey-esque track. Even before Bad Blood was announced as the official fourth single, fans rallied behind the song and asked Taylor for the song to be released. It became an instant fan favorite. Musically, this song is a love ballad with a dream pop influence. Lyrically, it “paints the man as the victim, doomed to spend the rest of his life haunted by what he’s carelessly lost” according to Alexis Petridis of The Guardian. In the song, Swift pleads for her lover to remember her even if it’s only in his dreams. It has the right formula to become a classic and it has in the Adult Contemporary format.
1989 Polaroids with Wildest Dreams lyrics
The music video which debuted at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2015 was directed by Joseph Kahn. According to Kahn, the video is based on classic Hollywood romances like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as classic movies like The African Queen, Out of Africa and The English Patient.
Though adored by fans, some critics believed that the music video presented a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa and continued the culture of Hollywood whitewashing.
Stills from the Wildest Dreams music video
Wildest Dreams, for me, is a highlight of 1989 and a career highlight for Ms. Swift. The music video also adds depth to the already melodramatic atmosphere of the song. Even the Rehab remix of the song is an added bonus to the already rich discography of Ms. Swift.
In her future releases, as a Swiftie who loved the song, I really do hope there is a song in the vein of Wildest Dreams that’ll make us brood. Nostalgia is always a welcome feeling for someone who finds solace in sentimental and romantic songs.