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There are many different ways that I could have approached this review, but I think the most professional way to do so is the following: I want to be 100 percent honest. Initially, I did not want to do this review, but a part of me knew that I needed to. Most people reading this have no idea who I am, and that doesn't matter because I am irrelevant; but the few that truly, deeply know me know that I used to like Taylor Swift in the past. It's time that I stopped treating this like a burden and fessed up, but there's more to my story than that. Besides, you don't want me to strictly evaluate all 13 songs because that would be boring.

When I was in high school, I swore by Taylor Swift. A friend of mine introduced me to her self-titled album in 2006, and I was shocked that I liked it because I absolutely hated country music. Then came the era of Fearless, which I listened to so much that my parents had to get me with tickets to the album's supporting tour in 2009 so they could get me to stop blasting it in the house. When Speak Now dropped in 2010, it took some time to grow on me, but I was sold once again.

Swift got me through high school, an awkward period in my life when I was less comfortable putting myself out there and pursuing the things (and people) that I wanted. I connected with her on a personal level because she was the girl sitting on the top of the bleachers in her sneakers watching life pass by from the crowd. Better yet, she was the girl sitting next to me; she was my friend. Swift didn't fit in with the popular kids and neither did I, but that didn't mean that we weren't good girls worth noticing. (This was before both of us learned that the concept of being a "good girl" is a ridiculous social construct that doesn't define your character as a woman.)

When Red happened in 2012, something didn't sit well with me. For the first time, I had a bad reaction-- the moment I heard 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together', I realized that I was about to enter my roaring twenties and I was listening to unsolicited advice from a 22-year-old woman that still believed in fairy-tale romances and played the blame game for why her relationships didn't end happily ever after. I mean, most of the guys had been breaking up with her, how did she not notice that? And how did she not see the signs that proved John Mayer was a sucky person? She acted so shocked, but I wasn't. Girlfriend desperately needed to get over him and move on.

I was a different person in high school and my newly developed college self could not relate to Taylor Swift anymore. Simultaneously, the media's attitude toward Swift shifted as well and critics began calling her out for her obsessive serial dating and slut shaming in her songs. Parting ways with Swift was a natural step, but a part of me felt betrayed by her. How could someone that I respected so much become such a sham? How didn't I see this side of Swift before? I needed space and I attempted to avoid her for two years, though I had a few moments of weakness in-between when I needed her voice to comfort me after a hookup gone sour.

When I heard about the release of 1989, I didn't want to listen to it. While a few of my friends in the music industry already expressed their disappointment with Swift's new direction, that's not what I was concerned about. Everyone has seen the transformation of Taylor Swift throughout this past year, but had she really changed? I felt stuck at a crossroads, but the only way to find out was to listen. Before I pressed play, I already knew the answer though:

Taylor Swift has changed because so have I.

The naive girl that sang in bars with her acoustic guitar eight years ago is not the woman we see today on the September cover of Rolling Stone in a wet t-shirt and jeans. While 1989 is centered around Swift acknowledging her flaws and owning up to the mistakes that she has made, this is a huge step forward. 1989 is full of cliches, but the truth is that we wouldn't expect them to not be present anyway. Swift has been in this industry since she moved to Nashville, Tenn. at the age of 14. She has seven Grammy awards and four multi platinum albums to her name, so she's been doing something that works in her favor over the years. As Spin cleverly pointed out, Swift has a tendency to uses the same metaphors, themes and symbols that appear on all of her previous albums, but that's her magic formula. On this album, Swift has left the comforts of country behind and is jumping into pop full force. Some of the producers on this album are Imogen Heap, Jack Antonoff, Ryan Tedder, Max Martin and Shellback, all artists that heavily contribute to Swift's newly defined sound.

For the first time in who knows how long, Swift is single and embracing her newfound freedom. She is surrounding herself with exceptional women and taking feminism in strides. While misery loves company, Swift has realized that there is no better place to carry a cute cat by her side than the Big Apple. 'Welcome To New York' is a cheesy opening, but for anyone that has fallen in love with this city, it's understandable why she is so caught up in it. I don't know about you, but I did leave my broken heart in a drawer once I came to terms with the fact that NYC is the city that I call home. However, the overload of New York tourism is frowned upon by anyone that truly identifies as a New Yorker.

'Blank Space' is the standout track on the album as Swift describes herself as a "nightmare dressed as a daydream." No doubt that she's been influenced by her new BFF Lorde on this song, but it doesn't drip with that hanging scent of darkness and despair. "I've got a long list of ex-lovers/ They'll tell you I'm insane/ But I've got a blank space, baby/ And I'll write your name," Swift sings.

Of course, there are tracks about boys and begging them to come back. If the title isn't obvious enough, 'Style' is about ex-boyfriend Harry Styles of One Direction. 'All You Had To Do Was Stay' and 'Out of the Woods' are also be about the singer, but that's all based on interpretation. 'How You Get the Girl' is pretty self-explanatory, but it falls back to Swift's old perception of romance being captured in public displays of affection like "picture in frames" and "kisses on cheeks". In hanging on to her youthful innocence, she overkills the use of autotune and "ever and ever," but it's whatever.

'Shake It Off' was Swift's first attempt to scream "eff you" to the haters, but it comes off as annoying. She's like the bro who knows everybody hates him so he shows up everywhere in the most awful pieces of Vineyard Vines clothing to rub it in. We get it, she's going to ignore the naysayers. Good for her, no need to humble brag. Swift is a successful woman, but she can do so much better.

'Bad Blood' is Swift's first direct attack on someone that betrayed her. Could the knife be pointed at a lover or someone in the industry? It's open to interpretation. Similar to the 'I Know You Were Trouble' music video, 'Wildest Dreams' is a poor imitation of Lana Del Rey. Swift doesn't have an alternate persona to hide behind so when she attempts to create one, it's simply not believable.

The album closes on a weird note. 'This Love' is a bit of a multi-layered sleeper whereas 'I Know Places+ is more upbeat and catchy as Swift sings about escaping form the loose lips that sink ships a.k.a. gossip tabloids and the paparazzi. 'Clean' is a provoking song about redemption and recovering from the past. Roses die, butterflies fly away, and Swift is finally ready to stop living in denial. If only she could work on her one-liners. ("You're still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can't wear anymore." Hello, take the dress to the cleaner's and have the stain removed.)

Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, but Taylor Swift is growing up and we should let her.

Maybe she's going through some sort of identity crisis, but I know what it's like to get lost inside your head. 1989 is a testament to Swift's transition as a woman, and it's admirable to anyone embarking on the difficult journey of finding themselves.

I still don't know where I stand with Taylor Swift, but it's a much better place than two years ago.

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