Swift Shines on ‘Speak Now’

 

By Mikhaila Steenkamp

 

 

Pic: Disneydreaming.com

Ever since she sashayed onto the music scene in 2006, Taylor Swift has been making the world take notice. Her first two albums, Taylor Swift and Fearless, have achieved success on an almost unprecedented scale for works within the country pop genre… And all this she has done her way, writing her own songs which soar above both the over-sexualised fare of her peers in pop and the whiny, simplified works of most country singers.

Speak Now, her album released in 2010, is no different. Produced by the same person who produced her previous albums, Nathan Chapman, it sold over a million copies in its first week of release. 

She clearly has a devoted fan base, and largely sticks to the formula which has worked so well in the past. The album begins with its biggest hit single, Mine, the first of the typical ultra-romantic love songs. Then there are the heartbroken ballads, the most searing of which is the lullaby-like Last Kiss.

  But despite the similar song structures, subject matter and even mix of tempos, each song still feels like it’s fresh off the pages of her journal – and that of every romantic girl, whether they have experienced the situations, dreamed about them, or simply lived them vicariously through Swift’s music. Which is frighteningly easy to do, especially as her growth as both an artist and a woman becomes increasingly evident.

As the album title suggests, Swift is more assertive than ever. Whereas the playful title track reflects this, it is Better than Revenge, with its soft-rock sound, which does so best. This showcases the bitchy side of the usually saccharine Swift, humanising her even further.

However, gentle ballads Never Grow Up and Innocent are the most emotionally striking and – arguably – original. Never Grow Up is an ode to a somewhat unrealistic childhood, but her voice, low-pitched with densely packed nostalgia, is so perfectly complemented by the sole acoustic guitar that you get drawn in immediately – and end up feeling pretty nostalgic yourself.

In Innocent, more instruments are added, creating a haunting background to one of those rare songs, to which anyone who has ever regretted anything can relate and be comforted by.

Guys should probably stay away from this album, while cynics would just roll their eyes. Yet there is no escaping the fact that Swift knows how to write great songs. Her voice dips and soars in all the right places, and her lyrics feel as honest as the melodies are catchy.

She knows her core audience too, and if she continues to grow without alienating them, there is no telling how much more she may achieve. In the words of Speak Now’s final track, Long Live Taylor Swift!

 

Video of hit single, Mine: TaylorSwiftVEVO on Youtube.

 

 

 Never Grow Up: SelRocker436 on Youtube

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