On Monday, Taylor Swift held a worldwide live stream event, broadcast from New York City on Yahoo, to announce details for her forthcoming fifth album, the follow-up to 2012's Red. Besides declaring it the "favorite album I've ever made" and her "very first documented, official pop album," she revealed its interesting title, 1989 — and the retro inspiration behind it.
"I was listening to a lot of late-'80s pop, because I really love the chances [those artists] were taking," she told a small gathering of in-studio fans and an online audience of untold thousands Monday afternoon. "I loved how bold it was. I loved how ahead of its time it was. So, being inspired by that, I started delving into the late '80s and what that period of time actually meant…
"It was, apparently, a time of just limitless potential. The idea that you can do what you want, be who you want, wear what you want, love who you want, and you get to decide where your life is going. Bright colors, bold chances, rebellion. And the idea of that was so inspiring to me. The idea of endless possibility was kind of a theme in the last year of my life. Basically, in thinking about that and how this new album is about a rebirth for me... having been born on Dec. 13, 1989, this album is called 1989."
Taylor then revealed the album's artwork: a faded, vintage-looking, imperfectly cropped snapshot, with "T.S. 1989" scribbled in Sharpie underneath. But this is no newfangled Instagram selfie: It's an actual old-school Polaroid, somewhat reminiscent of the sepia-toned shot used on Vampire Weekend's sophomore album, Contra.
"All of the album's photos were taken on a Polaroid," Taylor said. "It was kind of an accident, but I thought, 'Why not make that the album cover?'"
There will be more Polaroid pics to come. Physical editions of 1989, which comes out Oct. 27 and can already be pre-ordered through Taylor's website, will be packaged with a collection of 13 photos (13 being Taylor's famous lucky number, naturally); the photos will differ for each CD copy. Taylor will also continue to hide secret messages within the album's liner notes, and the deluxe version of 1989 will include three bonus tracks that are "just voice memos from my phone."
In keeping with the retro-'80s theme, let's hope/assume those memos were recorded on a phone like this:
Taylor will also be on Good Morning America tomorrow, Tuesday; tune in here to watch her then!