Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ Was a Funny Pop Pivot.

Taylor Swift is adept at swerving unexpectedly. However, nothing could have prepared audiences for her 2014 album 1989, which completely abandoned country music.   

She hinted Max Martin-assisted pop successes on Red, but 1989 was a complete 180 for the country diva, replacing her teardrop-soaked guitar with sassier synths.   

The album's top track is “Blank Space.” The debut hit “Shake It Off” was an empowering kiss-off to the detractors, but the follow-up was an unexpected satire of Swift's public reputation as a “maneater.”   

It mocked her celebrity lovers and their songs. She responded to sexist criticism about composing “too many breakup songs” and her dating practices with this catchy song that showcases her wit and humor while shedding her “girl next door” persona.   

On this week's episode of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs, Rob Sheffield and Brittany Spanos analyze “Blank Space” and how it improved Swift's sound and lyricism. 

They discuss how risky her pop pivot was with Rolling Stone Music Now with Brian Hiatt later in the program.   

Rolling Stone published its 500 Greatest Songs list in 2004. The list, compiled from a vast poll of artists, industry professionals, and critics, has inspired, intrigued, and divided for two decades. It was one of the magazine's most popular, influential, and contentious pieces.   

We wanted to make it bigger, better, and fresher. In 2021, we revamped our 500 Songs list with new voters from across the music spectrum. Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs examines our entries.    

In cooperation with iHeart, Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs features Brittany and Rob discussing a new song each week, exploring its history and influence with a special guest, including RS colleagues, producers, and performers. Our celebration of the greatest songs and explanation of why they're great.   

Check out the current episode above, on iHeart, or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes air every Wednesday.   

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