K, I need to be upfront will you – I did not realise at the time that I had actually mistaken ‘1989’ with Pharmakon’s death industrial album ‘Bestial Burden’. As a result, some of the following content may not actually comment on ‘1989’. That said, I’m sure Tay’s done a great job.
‘1989’: A Review in Tracks
1. Okay, so this is called ‘Welcome to New York’, but all I’m getting is an awful lot of belabored huffing here. “Huh – some welcome,” I feel like saying. What – did she run from her loft to the airport? And why does she insist on our standing on top of this rancorous generator? (In the car park, too. Tay: I’m tired, and your hair is feathering badly.)
2. Geez, okay. ‘Blank Space’ is far from blank. A robot is screaming and playing a drum. Oh, here she is, dependable Tay… but her bangs are a mess, all flyaway. Now what? She is squatting on the Oriental mat and, American Apparel hanging off her like rags, is proceeding to send out a series of primal screams that just has to be heard throughout the walk-up. “Honey T,” I want to plead, crackling to a crouch, “we gotta think about our appearances here. What happened to a nightmare dressed like a daydream? You’re a nightmare wrapped in a horror show, girl.” My stomach and my mint julep tea are troubled.
3. ‘Style’. Right. Taylor has divested herself of all vestments and is elbow-deep in the task of buzz-sawing her teak coffee table in half. She’s got her wild eyes fixed immovably on me, too, which, what with the flight and my settling jet-lag, I could happily have done without. It’s hard to discern whether her accompanying screams are directed at me or at Harry Styles. At this point I am madly formulating my excuses. I hate to say it – hey: this is Tay – but I’m pretty much halfway out the door.
4. Ah, someone’s had a little too much to drink, and here’s me needing a good old slash. I’m tapping intermittently on the bathroom door, but the urethra starts making its demands (as it will) and I settle for a steady and a rhythmical pounding. Tay is busy hacking up a lung in there or something. ‘Out of the Woods’, huh? Anything but.
5. Ugh. I’ve just got T-Swerves snug in her Boden Knit (Spots) when she starts screaming “Honour Satan” right at the top of her voice. Look: I’m a pretty convivial guy, but I draw the line whenever someone starts, as they do in these lofts, rowdily invoking the Prince of Darkness. And meanwhile, okay, so Tay’s making some bold stylistic choices, but really: a stamping press? A fire alarm? Last I saw Tay she was hanging out the window of an oldy-time tower like fucking Rapunzel, her braids as tight as chastity belt. And oh, what’s this? It’s a fucking guilt trip? ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’, was it? Swell.
6. Taylor’s back at it full-tilt, and not for any want of consolation on my part. I’m assuming ‘Shake It Off’ is in reference to the bugs she’s hallucinated into the lining of her skin. And now she’s got clamped in her white-knuckled fist what resembles a neon ice-cream cone but is actually, as the ensuing noise indicates, one of those reverberating kids’ plastic microphones found in all garage sales ever held. It’s hard to decipher the content of her rant (and I am planted firmly at the opposite end of the room) but she seems to be saying, over and over, “I don’t belong here. I don’t belong here.” “You don’t belong here?!” I want to scream (screaming being the mode of expression du jour). “Then who in the hell’s hug mug have I had my lips all over this whole heinous night?” And then he emerges – one of those heartthrobs soon to be found on the ‘ex-lovers list’. “How are the digs, tho?” he tosses me blithely. He then joins Taylor is a spine-chilling chorus of maniacal and unyielding laughter.
9. Bonus Track: ‘I Wish You Would’. It’s a nice riff on Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’. This, now this, is the Tay I know. I’ll take this Tay any day.