After the success of Fearless, Taylor Swift and her label decided to re-release it. With some re-releases, you get shoddy remixes or re-toolings of the big hits, perhaps an acoustic version or two and a live track. Not so with the platinum edition. This is more of an extended version of the original album than the simple run-of-the-mill repackaged original version. The platinum edition has five entirely new tracks, plus a piano/acoustic version of the original release's "Forever and Always". What makes the new tracks and re-release worth purchasing is that you're definitely getting an improved and superior version of 'Fearless'; the new tracks are mixed in with the originals and you can't really tell that they were produced any differently than the original tracks. They are of the same quality and caliber, enhancing the experience of listening to Taylor Swift. They aren't much different from the originals; these new songs are mostly about young love, ambivalence, optimism (even in the face of heartache or tarnished relationships).
The Good: This isn't the typical 'country' music many are familiar with. Taylor Swift, having written most of the songs herself, brings a lot of her personal experiences and reflections into the music and the songs feel more authentic. While she's in the genre of country there's also a heavy presence of pop running throughout the tracks. 'Fearless' has a theme to it; songs about young experience and "fearlessness" in the face of many obstacles and new experience; on the track "Fifteen" she sings about school and not exactly fitting in, an experience everyone can relate to in some way. On "Hey Stephen" and "You Belong To Me" she sings of crushes and young love. "Jump Then Fall" is all about taking a chance on love. The mass appeal of Taylor Swift is probably how relatable her music and persona is. Unlike many artists her age who are singing about partying in clubs or trying to make 'country music' that's either too stereotypical or too dance-orientated, she's singing about life and things she and everyone experiences and goes through. Another good thing about this edition is that it comes with a DVD of the music videos from the singles released as well as some behind-the-scenes footage. For me, this enhances the experience because you're able to see and hear the creative process and witness how involved she is. It helps to also get the point across that there's a real person behind the music and lyrics and she's not just a puppet or product of her music label and the industry. Also, the video of her CMA performance of 'Thug Story' with T-Pain, a definite fan-favorite moment of the past year, is included and makes the DVD a true must-have. Sure, it's silly and definitely not country but it shows the versatility of Swift and her willingness to make fun of herself and have fun.
The Bad: There's not a lot to complain of. If there's a flaw to the album is that it can be a bit light and upbeat. The tone of the album, even when she sings of unpleasant feelings and of insecurities or unfulfilled loves, she never truly goes 'deep' or to a pure unhappy place. It gets a bit annoying that emotionally the album feels a little heavy on the positive and optimistic vibes, but again, that's a personal criticism. "You're Not Sorry" is probably the least 'happy' song with the new track "Untouchable" following close behind. Also, a minor nit-pick but the cover artwork doesn't reflect that this is really a new product. All that it looks like is the designer or label being lazy and short on time and sticking a black background behind the same photo from the first released. Perhaps the thought was that the black background and 'platinum edition' added in would give the impression of newness but the black background and her expression change the vibe or tone of the album from upbeat and optimistic to slightly moodier and depressing, which the album and music are not. Minor critique that doesn't detract much from the music. The new tracks are good but it would have been nice if the label also included many 'pop' versions of her singles that have been released through iTunes and other online venues over the course of the year. The pop versions "You're Not Sorry" and "Love Story" give both songs a different vibe and the variety would have made the release a bit more interesting.
In the end, if you haven't purchased 'Fearless' yet, this is the edition to get. Even so, the new tracks and the DVD with the music videos together account for a mini EP and is worth purchasing.
Listen to These: "Come In With the Rain", "Forever and Always" (Piano Version), "You're Not Sorry"
"Even country music needs its own Britney Spears." That's what the store clerk who check me out said about the disk when I bought it. I was gonna spout off a quick reply, something like 'thanks but no thanks for your opinion,' but then I thought about it: if Britney represents her values to her fans thru singing and songwriting, then sure Taylor Swift represents her values to her fans in the same way ... so I let the comment pass. Bursting onto the … more
Pros: Catchy songs, sweet ballads, Swift is likable... Cons: ...subject matter isn't very deep, most songs are similar sounding The Bottom Line: It'll be interesting to see if Taylor Swift music grows and matures with her. She has a lot of potential, and I'm looking forward to see where she goes next. I have admittedly stayed far, far away from the Taylor Swift hype machine. When the 20-year-old country … more
Antoine Reid is an innovative graphic designer with over five years experience in print design specializing in promotion and publication design, illustration, and creating dynamic content for the Web. … more
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This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files. Personnel: Taylor Swift (vocals, guitar); Nathan Chapman (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, keyboards); Bryan Sutton (acoustic guitar, mandolin); Grant Mickelson, Kenny Greenberg (electric guitar); Ilya Toshinsky (banjo); Claire Indie (cello); Tony Harrell (piano, Hammond b-3 organ, keyboards); Tim Lauer (keyboards); Eric Darken (vibraphone); Tim Marks, Amos Heller (bass guitar). Audio Mixer: Justin Niebank. Arranger: Jonathan Yudkin. Taylor Swift abandons any pretense that she's a teen on her second album, FEARLESS--which isn't to say that she suddenly tarts herself up, running away from her youth in a manner that's all too familiar to many teen stars. Swift's maturation is deliberate and careful, styled after the crossover country-pop of Shania Twain and Faith Hill before they turned into divas. Despite the success of her self-titled 2006 debut, there's nothing at all diva-like about Swift on FEARL... Song List: Disc 1 1. Fearless 2. Fifteen 3. Love Story 4. Hey Stephen 5. White Horse 6. You Belong With Me 7. Breathe 8. Tell Me Why 9. You're Not Sorry 10. Way I Loved You 11. Forever & Always 12. Best Day 13. Change