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Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: Taylor Swift's '1989'

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.
NPR

In terms of sheer commercial heft, the release of Taylor Swift's 1989 is one of the stories of the year in music: Its first-week sales are expected to outstrip those of any album since Swift's last record, Red, in 2012. For the 24-year-old singer-songwriter, 1989 completes her transformation from country stardom to pop stardom; it's full of massively radio-friendly, synth-driven songs that are virtually guaranteed chart-topping ubiquity in the months and years to come.

But how's the music? I recently pulled my NPR Music colleague and desk-neighbor, editor and writer Jacob Ganz, into the studio for a Small Batch edition of Pop Culture Happy Hour to discuss the record. Spoiler alert: We like 1989 quite a bit, and are intrigued by its sound, its lyrics and its place in Swift's catalog. We also highly recommend this interview she did with NPR's Melissa Block last week.

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)