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Don't Be Afraid To Give Taylor Swift A Chance

  • Aug 18, 2010
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 singer first debuted in 2006, I listen to her song, "Teardrops on My Guitar" and wasn't too impressed. I do enjoy country music, but not watered-down country, as I automatically categorized Swift's music as being.

By 2008, Swift had taken off as a country-music darling. Her second album, Fearless, became a world-wide hit, her songs were played incessantly on EVERY radio station, and she was nominated for numerous music awards.

As I said, I stayed far away from her music. Not because I didn't like it- I could never listen to "Love Story" without singing along- but because I figured Swift to be yet another over-hyped artist. I lumped her up with the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus without giving her a fair chance. I finally gave in and decided to listen to Fearless and I was...well...pleasantly surprised. Besides, how can I argue with an album that won a Grammy for Album Of The Year?

For the most part, Fearless is a collection of ballads about love and heartbreak, told from the perspective of a young girl, as Swift was 18 when she co-wrote most of the songs. I actually really appreciate this fact; that Swift doesn't try too hard be "older" or "wiser" than her age, or her audience, for that matter (which is mostly fellow teenage girls.)

The first of many ballads is "Untouchable," which really highlights Swift's voice. It should be said that her vocals aren't anything amazing, really- she's got a pretty voice, and a nice, smooth tone, but she wouldn't beat out Alicia Keys in a vocal match. All that aside, her voice is pretty and pleasant to listen to.

Everyone is likely familiar with the singles from the album, especially "You Belong With Me." The track was the first single from the disc, and boasts an incredibly catchy tune and lyrics you can't help singing along with ("If you could see that I'm the one who understands you/Been here all along so why can't you see?/You belong with me"). "Love Story" is equally catchy (don't tell me you've never sang "It's a love story, baby, just say, 'yes!' while listening to the radio), and tells a classic Romeo & Juliet story. Meanwhile, the fourth and final single from the album, "Fifteen" comes in the form of a ballad, in which Swift sings, "When you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe it." I definitely wasn't dating when I was fifteen, but I can see this being pretty true.

There rest of the album is pretty much composed of songs about heartbreak as well. "You're Not Sorry" reminds me of a song from Jessica Simpson's country album, but I'm sure this track is better. The slow-paced melody and Swift's mournful delivery are perfect; heartbreak is rough when you're 17, ya'll.

"I'm not a princess, this ain't a fairytale," Swift sings in another sad ballad, "White Horse." The lyrics are most interesting in this song, as Swift draws parallels to the classic fairytale story of a Prince riding up on a white horse and her flawed reality. I love the line I quoted in particular, but the whole song is a strong offering.

The same can be said for "Come in With the Rain", another lovely mid-tempo ballad. Swift's vocals are clear and soaring as she sings lines like, "I'll keep my window open, 'cause I'm too tired to call your name. Just know I'm right here hoping you'll come in with the rain." Pure pop ballad perfection.

The rest of Swift's album is likeable, but nothing too remarkable. A few more ballads are thrown in amongst a handful of airy country/pop songs, but, as a whole, Fearless is quite a good album. I was surprised to actually enjoy more than a few songs on the disc, and I have to hand it to Taylor Swift- her songs and lyrics are really quite charming, which makes her almost irresistible.

Track Listing
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. The Way I Loved You 
11. Forever & Always
12. The Best Day 

13. Change  


Great Music to Play While: Hanging With Friends

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More Fearless (Platinum Edition, CD... reviews
review by . November 09, 2010
posted in Music Matters
"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 …
Quick Tip by . December 09, 2010
Great extra video's and content on this platinum edition! It also contains the same great music from 'Fearless' with bonus songs.
Quick Tip by . December 09, 2010
Love this album...fun...immediately takes me back to my adolescence...I wish I had Taylor Swift to make me feel better when I was 15...
review by . October 26, 2009
posted in Music Matters
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 …
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Brittany Brown ()
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My name is Brittany. I'm 23 years old. I love life, and sometimes, life loves me, too.
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About this album


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
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Label: Big Machine Records
Artist: Taylor Swift
Release Date: October 26, 2009

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