In the music industry, artist reinventions can be a hit-or-miss affair. So when Taylor Swift announced she was transitioning from a country-pop darling to a full-blown pop star, critics and fans were understandably divided. After all, she had already established herself as America’s country sweetheart by the late 2000s. Nonetheless, after teasing her hybrid sounds on the albums Speak Now and Red, Taylor Swift did the unthinkable with her fifth project, 1989.
On 1989, Taylor Swift became a definitive pop artist. To put it plainly, she shed all traces of her country music roots and did so rather authentically. A breakaway from her previous sounds, she ushered in a new era of synth-pop greatness, solidifying her name in the pop history books. As the world got a taste of her pop star power, Taylor Swift crushed the sales of her first four albums. Overall, 1989 has since remained the best-selling album of her career.
Groundbreaking Numbers From America’s Sweetheart
Taylor Swift was no stranger to gargantuan sales before 1989 was released. In detail, her self-titled debut album has sold over seven million copies worldwide. In the same vein, her sophomore album, Fearless, has achieved over 11 million sales. However, by her fifth album, she completely disintegrated the glass ceiling sales-wise.
1989 has since sold over 14 million copies around the world and is the best album of her career commercially. Also, of all the albums released in 2014, Taylor Swift took the crown as the best-selling artist. As far as first-week sales, the album scored a colossal 1.287 million copies, shattering all publications’ predictions. Specifically, the album has received a 9x Platinum certification from the RIAA, with over nine million units sold. The most recent certification for the album was on December 11, 2017. Therefore, and especially following her earth-shattering Eras Tour, 1989 should very much be on the cusp of a Diamond certification in the US.
Furthermore, in the UK, the album has achieved a 5x Platinum certification, for sales of over three million units. In Canada, 1989 sold over 540,000 units, earning a 6x Platinum. The album also performed very well in Australia and New Zealand. It was certified 11x and 9x Platinum respectively, for sales of over 770,000 and 135,000. Moreover, Brazil, Italy, France, Germany, and Japan earned platinum certifications, with sales of 40,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, and 250,000 respectively.
1989: A Showcase In Artist Reinvention
Taylor Swift brought something unlike ever seen or heard before in her previous albums. By taking the risk of reinventing herself and her musical artistry, she successfully shocked the world. As a result, she gained a much larger fanbase, and in return, greater sales. While her third and fourth albums simply toed the line between country and pop, Taylor Swift left little to the imagination in terms of her new sound. In summary, she was unmistakably and unabashedly pop. 1989 would later go on to win the Album Of The Year award at the 2016 Grammys.
A Plethora Of Hit Singles
Taylor Swift previously worked with producer Max Martin on Red, and he stayed on for her subsequent albums, 1989 and Reputation. Other producers on 1989 include Jack Antonoff, Ryan Tedder, and Imogen Heap, among others. Altogether, the songs on the album were a unification of the impeccable sounds of several pop-centric producers. Out of seven singles released, three topped the Billboard Hot 100.
Moreover, while all the songs in 1989 achieved varying levels of success, the lead single, “Shake It Off” became a massive hit. It has also received a Diamond certification, for over 10 million units sold. The singles “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” sold exceptionally well too, achieving 8x and 6x Platinum certifications, selling over eight and six million units respectively. Altogether, the smash successes of the tracks on her fifth album made 1989 a worldwide phenomenon. However, it was her determination to excel in pop that kept the singer and songwriter on the lips of many. Indeed, Taylor Swift is still churning out record-breaking albums today, but it’ll take a while before anything tops 1989… at least commercially.