Taylor Swift – 1989

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TS 1989

When something miraculous happens I like to do two things. First I like to text all of my close friends saying something like, “GOD IS REAL AND HE HAS CHOSEN ME TO BE HIS VESSEL BECAUSE I AM THE SPECIAL CHOSEN ONE.” Then I like to write about the miraculous thing that has happened which has resulted in this blog post.

Allow me to set the scene; Friday I get home from work, I am sad that I am not able to afford tickets to the We Can Survive charity show at the Hollywood Bowl with headliner Taylor Swift. (Keep in mind I am still riding pretty high from attending Taylor’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Hollywood Blvd performance the previous night.) I get home, check the mail and think I am seeing things. In the mailbox is a package from Target. I think to myself, “this cannot be real. Something is happening. Mercury is out of retrograde and my reward for surviving said retrograde is this.” IN THE PACKAGE IS TAYLOR SWIFT’S NEW ALBUM “1989” WHICH WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO ARRIVE UNTIL MONDAY AKA OCTOBER 27 AKA THE ACTUAL RELEASE DATE.

I SOMEHOW HAD THE NEW TAYLOR SWIFT ALBUM IN MY POSSESSION 4 DAYS EARLY.

How this happened I will never know for sure. Did someone at Target see my name and think, “wow I’m getting a good vibe from this girl’s name. Seems like she would really appreciate this album early. Ship it out boys.” Or did Taylor herself say, “Oh that Sarah, she sure is a light in my life. Send her the album before anyone else. She really is the best and I want to give her this special gift to share just between us before the rest of the world gets to listen to it.” I am choosing to believe the latter.

I had my first listen through laying on the floor next to my record player with one of my best friends. I laughed out loud at the lyric puns, danced to the insanely catchy hooks and cried four times at the poignant lyrics. I had my second and third listens in a car driving with no particular destination, letting Taylor being the decider of when we turned the car around to go home.

I’ve raved on and on about Taylor before and could probably write so much on her that people would stop reading right about now so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. Taylor has this knack for making her albums more than just an album for her fans, she makes them an experience. She writes secret messages in her lyric booklets. She includes Polaroid replicas in her deluxe album packages. She releases Voice Memos to show fans her songwriting process and explain how these songs came to life. She holds secret listening sessions months before the album is ever released just for the superfans. She goes above and beyond to try to bring you into her world not only to enjoy it, but to understand it and make it your world too.

Taking it back to the early days, there is no album that will ever be able to beat Fearless for me. Since Taylor is just a year older than I am, we have essentially grown up on the same timeline, experiencing a lot of things young girls/women experience in life whether you are massive pop star or just a normal girl stressing over if a boy likes you back. Fearless was released when I was 17 and emotionally frantic about almost everything in my life (as most young teenagers are). For that reason alone, nothing will ever hold a closer place in my heart. Speak Now was released during the start of my college years when I was trying to find my footing while living on my own for the first time. Red was released during the end of my college years when I was trying to figure out what I was doing with my life and feeling scattered in every sense of the word.

Like all previous albums, 1989 continues to follow my timeline. Red was an emotionally devastated record filled with emotional heartbreak as well as Taylor’s own musical exploration. She experimented with different sounds that mirrored her trying to find herself after feeling, for lack of a better term, broken. 1989 is the upswing after Red. It is picking yourself up after being broken and building a new house out of the jagged pieces and creating something you didn’t think could ever exist. If I’m channeling my inner metaphorical Taylor – Red was the tsunami and 1989 is the new city she built out of the ruins.

Taylor is confident, independent and strong on this album. I grabbed onto 1989 so quickly because it reminds me a lot of Fearless in the way she chooses and arranges her lyrics as well as how sure of herself she is on each track. On the past albums, she was playing with different sounds and arrangements but on this one, she knows what she wants and goes at it full force.

  • Songs to dance to: Style, Shake It Off, New Romantics, Blank Space
  • Songs to sing in a hairbrush to: All You Had To Do Was Stay, How You Get The Girl, I Wish You Would, Bad Blood
  • Songs to cry to: Clean, This Love, You Are In Love, Wildest Dreams

This new Taylor era mirrors what I’ve been working on in my own life – being strong, finding yourself on your own terms and doing what makes you happy.

I leave you with the words of Taylor herself from the album’s closer “Clean.” The secret lyric message hidden within “Clean” encompasses everything Taylor set out to accomplish not only with this record, but with this new chapter in her life (and by timeline association, my life too).

“She lost him but she found herself and somehow that was everything.”

TS1989 FIRST LISTEN

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The Red Tour

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Everyone knows I have a thing with Taylor Swift. I’m usually quite dramatic about a lot of things saying “I love him soooooo much his music is incredible.” But with Taylor it’s different. I full on superfan over her. I act like a 12 year old at her concerts because I get so excited. I still listen to the Fearless album on a regular rotation (and it came out in 2008). She hooked me when she first started as an artist in 2006. I remember I bought the “Tim McGraw” record on iTunes and my first thought was “who the hell does this blonde girl think she is naming her first single after one of the biggest men in country music?” And now 7 years later, Taylor is without a doubt the biggest name in country music. Maybe even music in general.

The last time I saw Taylor live (minus the mini concert she did at Ellen) was in 2010 on the Fearless tour. I got tickets as a birthday present and had the time of my life. The Fearless era will probably forever remain my favorite. Following Fearless was the Speak Now tour which for some reason I did not go to (I know HOW COULD NOT GO RIGHT?) and I will never forgive myself.

But here we are in 2013 for the Red Tour. I decided to go all out superfan and old school Taylor by writing the lyrics down my arm and drawing her iconic “13” on my hand. I had already seen most of her outfit changes and set designs through news sites that have been covering the show for months but I was so excited to see it for myself. Taylor is notorious for being over the top theatrical at her shows and I love every minute of it.

Lyric arms

Ed Sheeran aka Ginger Jesus, opened for Taylor which already set me up to be a bit emotional since I love Ed so much. He was fantastic as per usual and sounded incredible live. Then “American Woman” came on in between sets and every Taylor fan knows that that sonis her walk out song. The last song she plays before starting the show.

State of Grace

She was incredible from start to finish. She played mostly songs off the latest record with a few revamped oldies thrown in (You Belong With Me, Love Story, Sparks Fly, Mean, Fifteen). She usually gives little speeches before certain songs and I usually tear up. Which I did during her “Mean” speech. I also cried my way through “All Too Well” which she played on piano. Without a doubt it was my favorite performance of the night. You could see her feeling all of the emotions of the song, it was incredible live.

Taylor also loves bringing out special guests during her show. We lucked out and got Tegan & Sara WHO ARE AMAZING and sang “Closer” with Taylor. My best friend and I were dancing and dancing and dancing even though I’m pretty sure almost no on in that arena knew who they were.

I loved the Red Tour. And I want to go back and relive the experience over and over and over. Taylor, I love you. Thank you for being someone who is such a superstar, yet feels so attainable. It’s been incredible to watch her grow and dominate the music scene over the past few years. But at the same time, I feel like she could totally be my best friend. That’s what I love about her.

She made me Fearless when I was 17, and now I get to Feel 22 with Taylor. We get to grow up together, and that’s not something you usually get to say about an artist. (You didn’t really think I would get through this entire thing without a lyric pun now did you?)

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Yet Another List

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I’m about to fly out the door (yes with my wings) so here is a comprehensive list of things that are happening today.

  • I’m back on the smoothie train again trying to detox after the wedding this past weekend.
  • I’m going to see Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran tonight at Staples Center.
  • John Mayer’s new album Paradise Valley is officially out!!!
  • I’m going to see T.Swizzle and Ginger Jesus tonight at Staples Center.
  • I’m going to be keeping a lot of food in the fridge at work since I won’t be home for a few days.
  • That last line sounded really cryptic.
  • TONIGHT I WILL BE SEEING TAYLOR SWIFT AND ED SHEERAN AT STAPLES CENTER.

I’m a tad bit excited to see my #1 girl Taylor tonight. (Plus Ed Sheeran is there and everyone knows I’m going to sob like a baby when Ginger Jesus sings his first note.) I’ve talked about how I’m a not so secret superfan of Taylors since she came around in 2006. Tonight is the one night I let Superfan Sarah run free and be as crazy as she wants to be. If you’re at Staples too, I’m sure I’ll look like the general Taylor Swift fan population with my black shorts and red tshirt. BUT I’m also going all out and going to write the lyrics down my arm, the 13 on my hand and you guessed it, gotta have my cat ears at the ready for when she sings the anthem of my life, 22.

Red Tour