No one sent us the new Taylor Swift album to review

No one sent us the new Taylor Swift album to review
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So no one sent us the new Taylor Swift album to review.  It’s a shame as we would have done our best to buck the trend and not have another review written by a male reviewer.

Spot the difference:

NME’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Matthew Horton

Rolling Stone’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Rob Sheffield

The Guardian’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Alexis Petridis  (although the Observer did run a Kitty Empire review a couple of days later on the Sunday)

The Telegraph’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Neil McCormick

The Independent’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Andy Gill

The Financial Times’ review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Ludovic Hunter-Tilney

The Daily Mail’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Adrian Thrills

Time Out’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Nick Levine

Billboard’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Jem Aswad

Stereogum’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Tom Breihan

Noisey’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Sam Wolfson

NY Times’ review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Jon Caramanica

New York Daily News’ review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Jim Farber

The Washington Post’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Chris Richards

Time Magazine’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Sam Lanskey

Vogue’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Alex Frank

US Weekly’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Ian Drew

Forbes’ review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Hugh McIntyre

Hallel’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Timothy Yap

Entertainment Weekly’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Adam Markovitz

Idolator’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Bradley Stern

ABC News’ review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Michael McCall

Toronto Sun’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Darryl Sturdan

Tampa Bay Time’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Sean Daly

Headline Planet’s review of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ by Brian Cantor

I’m struggling to find much in the way of Australian reviews though; I guess everyone is far to busy posting press releases and click bait listicles to get around to actually writing about music.  The only one I’ve found so far is on SameSame. Written by someone called Paul Keevers.


If you are a female music writer and you were commissioned to review the new Taylor Swift album, as unlikely as it would seem to be, you have our hearty congratulations.

9 Responses to No one sent us the new Taylor Swift album to review

  1. Mohair Bent October 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    It starts with excitement and play and intrigue, and it blossoms into something deeper around the time “Out Of The Woods” kicks in. … By the time closing track “Clean” kicks in, she’s convinced herself that she’s OK with the whole thing, that she’s ready to move on. … Heard in the context of the album, though, it’s her early attempt to act like the relationship never really mattered that much to her, before a sadder reality kicks in. … They will sound warm and welcoming, and they will dominate pop radio until two years from now, when the Swift album-release machine kicks into gear again.

  2. LeeA October 29, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Capsule reviews…I dig it. More, please.

  3. Lindsay October 29, 2014 at 3:22 am

    There’s this one, at least.

  4. Wackadoodle October 29, 2014 at 3:36 am

    Av club review by Marah Eakin. Exception that proves the rule?

  5. Mr. October 29, 2014 at 4:23 am

    Somebody explain to me why it’s a problem if more male writers reviewed ‘1989’ than women. Can’t opinions on music just be genderless?

  6. Sister October 29, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Black, white, purple, yellow, green, male or female, I don’t really care what the person is as long as they’re qualified to do the job, so this kinda reads like someone yelling at a cloud. If you’re a good enough writer, then the reader won’t have to make note of their gender when deciding whether or not their praise or criticism hit its marks.

  7. minaannlee October 30, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Hi, I’m a woman and I reviewed 1989 for Idolator: http://www.idolator.com/7568023/taylor-swift-1989-album-review What you’re linking is a “What the Critics Are Saying” post. (To be fair, all of *those* reviews were written by men.)

  8. Daw Johnson October 31, 2014 at 12:02 am

    — Why should gender matter?

    — More importantly, it seems like you’re accusing Big Machine of deliberately courting male reviews for this release. Why would that be the case? Are men more likely to like Taylor Swift’s *music* than women? Demographics for her album sales would suggest otherwise.

    — Why do you need to receive a watermark/pre-release copy to review the album? While I get that you might feel entitled to a review copy since you’re providing publicity, your job is ultimately to create the best content for readers. If you feel your readers want a Taylor Swift album review, you should give it to them regardless of whether the label thinks you’re “worthy.” And if you really didn’t want to pay, I’m sure you could find the tracks on YouTube or SoundCloud…

  9. LeeA November 9, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Good morning/evening, Mr. Johnson! As the friendly neighborhood CB editor, I’ll answer your questions (which I suspect others share) as best as I can:

    1 & 2: On on hand, the question isn’t so much about Taylor Swift, but about men in general still dominating the conversation when it comes to dictating good taste for the world at large. This writer at Jezebel conveyed the larger scheme of things thusly: “While there certainly are exceptions, like Molly Lambert’s review at Grantland, music review writing is still a sausage party.”

    Granted, in regards to Swift, Aran hit the nail on the head:
    “One would think that music publications might try to find women to review the latest album of one of the most successful female music acts whose entire career has been rooted in a woman’s experience.”

    Now, I think you’re right, to question if “the Big Machine” deliberately summoned male writers to cover the piece, and particularly to question Edwards’ implication of such. Indeed, at the places I’m signed on to, assignments are just tossed on the table and fall to whoever grabs them first.

    HOWEVER. Aran’s point remains: women can offer a different perspective, based on how they relate to Swift. Edwards’ and Aran’s concern isn’t just about arbitrary diversity in the critic-o-sphere – it’s about looking at a piece of culture from all sides.

    (Also – should’ve placed this link on here earlier: http://sylmatil.tumblr.com/post/101186031044/on-the-gender-divide-on-critical-reviews-for-taylor)

    3. I can’t speak for all music critics, but I certainly don’t feel entitled to anything. The problem is, we are providing a service, and so we should be compensated. And since no one pays bloggers, the least we can ask for is the MP3s themselves so we can review the album properly.

    As a health journalist and aspiring professional, I’ve been trained to regard my work as valuable property (which, I admit, I’m still not 100% confident in doing, but I’m getting there). It’s a damn shame that mentality is frowned upon here, but that’s what we’ve got to work with.

    Yes, it’s our job to create the best possible content for our readers. No, we don’t have to earn anyone’s respect. However, when we’re not paid to write and other labels DO respect us enough to provide promos, who do you think we’re going to cover first? Besides, I dunno about you, but I’m not paying for something that I don’t think I’ll enjoy/will probably only listen to for the sake of reviewing.

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