Taylor Swift’s evolution over the last few years of her career has been a steady shift from the shy country-girl roots of her first hits to pop songs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Katy Perry album. Whether or not you’re a fan of 1989, Taylor’s most recent effort, there’s certainly a distinct flavor between Red and her most current offering. It’s a change that has some music critics saying that Swift is chasing the success of other unconventional pop divas who have come about the in the lull between her two albums — specifically Lana Del Rey and Lorde, the latter of whom is a good friend of Swift herself. Multiple media outlets have commented on the comparison, with particular criticism directed toward Taylor’s “Widest Dream,” which reviewers say sounds like a direct copy of Lana’s “Without You.”Billboard even wondered if the Del Rey similarities have to be intentional.
“Surprisingly, the famous figure who gets the most elaborate attention is Lana Del Rey: Swift flat-out mimics her on ‘Wildest Dreams,’ flitting between a fluttery soprano and deadpan alto, flipping lyrics so Lana — ‘His hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room’ — that it’s hard to tell if the song is homage or parody.”
But Billboard‘s comments about Swift’s song choices were far from the most cutting of the bunch. Del Rey comparisons in Vulture also went after the Taylor songs themselves, calling them pale comparisons to the Lana tracks they resembled.
“One of 1989‘s weakest tracks is ‘Wildest Dreams,’ which sounds like it was strung together from a bunch of phrases sputtered out by a Lana Del Rey Twitter bot (‘Say you’ll remember me / Standing in a nice dress / Staring at the sunset, babe / Red lips and rosy cheeks’). Tay can’t quite pull off Lana Del Swift (I swear I can even hear her ever so subtly attempting to say it like ‘noice dress,’ WELCOME TO NEW YORK, BABY) but whether or not they fall flat, these influences are revealing.”
Bustle, however, defended Swift against the irritation over her Lana-esque tracks. After all, Del Rey isn’t devoid of influence herself, hers just happens to be less immediately popular at the moment, they argued.
“So, why are people saying that Swift jacked Del Rey’s style? There are a few reasons. First of all, ‘Wildest Dreams’ has a grand, cinematic feel to it, similar to Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful,’ for instance. But as far as I can tell, Del Rey hasn’t copyrighted the use of strings in pop music, which is, in my opinion, what gives these two particular songs their sweeping sound.”
Either way, notes Vulture, the tones of Lana on Taylor’s 1989 are indicative of a change in pop music, one where a clear frontrunner is following new talent instead of leading it.
“Lana and Lorde were both unknown insurgents when Taylor’s last blockbuster Red was released, so it’s interesting that part of the blueprint for making a Too Big to Fail Pop Album in 2014 includes the instructions ‘make sure there are songs on there that sound like Lana Del Rey and Lorde.’ Taylor can’t channel either artist’s sense of macabre, but ultimately, I see that as a good thing: It leaves room for her own signature. As she boasts on ‘Blank Space,’ Taylor Swift is ‘a nightmare dressed up like a daydream,’ and in a pop world hopped up on that new darkness, that’s its own kind of subversion.”
Do you think that Taylor Swift’s 1989 has too many Lana Del Rey vibes?
[Image via Brechtcastle and Wallary]