I think we give Taylor Swift a bit too much credit. All the narratives proceeding this album have clouded its release, so when it dropped, all that pretense flung out the door. Let's be real. Taylor Swift has always been pop. And the influence of the 80s sound has been rather ubiquitous in pop music for the past few years. Also, when it does show up, it's rather half baked. Even Taylor's biggest strength and the one critics really can't dodge is the fact she is a rather good songwriter. So it's a shame that she mostly ditches that for hooks hooks hooks on 1989. It's not bad, but it's not very good either, and for someone who has never even listened to a Taylor Swift album before this, I'm pretty sure the pop highs on Red lap this by a mile. It feels like Coldplay circa X&Y, trying to hard not to fail, and built on a mountain of talent, money, publicity and a rabid fan base, it won't. This is your 8 year old daughters new favorite record.