There is something that reviewers are not quite saying about Taylor Swift's new album, 1989. It's on the tips of their tongues. Jon Caramanica comes closest: Modern pop stars — white pop stars, that is — mainly get there by emulating black music. Think of Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber. In the current ecosystem, Katy Perry is probably the pop star least reliant on hip-hop and R&B to make her sound, but her biggest recent hit featured the rapper Juicy J; she’s not immune.
Ms. Swift, though, is having none of that; what she doesn’t do on this album is as important as what she does. There is [...]