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Taylor Swift Maybe Could've Used A Little "Fear" In Crafting FEARLESS

  • Nov 9, 2010
"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 scene not very long ago (this is only her 2nd album), Taylor has quickly become a voice of empowerment for young women (and those young-at-heart!) everywhere. Her lyrics are real -- based on her own "fearless" living -- and she deserves every ounce of recognition she's receiving in both the country and pop music communities.

Fearless (4 out of 5)
"You take my hand and drag me headfirst fearless." Love, like life, is all about taking chances.

Fifteen (3.5 out of 5)
Reflective, poetic in a mildly melancholy way. "This is life before you know who you're gonna be."

Love Story (4.5 out of 5)
Ah, young love. It always seems so real when you're in it, and it always seems so unreal when you're looking back on it. William Shakespeasre's "Romeo & Juliet" never ended as happily as this confection sounds, but wouldn't the world be a better place if it did? Easily one of the best tunes here.

Hey Stephen (3.5 out of 5)
"I can't help it if you look like an angel." It sounds like someone named Stephen is getting lucky with Taylor, and deservedly so. More celebration of young love, and I gave it an extract .5 just for Taylor's opening and closing humming. Lovely. What gives the song much of its charm is she allows her voice to be a bit more 'raw' and real than anywhere else on the album, which matches the lyrics perfectly. (If my name were Stephen, it'd probably be a perfect 10 song!)

White Horse (5 out of 5)
"I'm not a princess, this ain't no fairy tale ..." Love gone bad and turned into disappointment never sounded quite so sorrowful as it does behind Taylor's youthful voice, tinking piano, soft guitar, and weeping strings. Jilted girls everywhere will be crying into their pillows at bedtime with this song playing in the background. "It's too late for you and your white horse to come around."

You Belong with Me (5 out of 5)
We've all been here before (in the middle of a friendship that coulda/shoulda/woulda been so, so much more), and perhaps that's why Taylor sounds so strong here. She's a lyrical 'everyman,' capturing how we've all felt in the simplest terms. Big refrain. Crank it up.

Breathe (4.5 out of 5)
Sorry, folks, but humming in music is so sexy, and Taylor works it to great effect here. Unexpectantly. Breathy. And, yet, wholesome. "You're the only thing that I know like the back of my hand." Getting past the mistakes made in a relationship pose the greatest challenges, and that's what this tune is all about.

Tell Me Why (2.5 out of 5)
"You could write a book of how to ruin someone's perfect day." Ouch. Getting past some of the mistakes made in a relationship (whoa ... deja vu) pose some challenges not quite worth enduring.

You're Not Sorry (2.5 out of 5)
Wow. Taylor Swift has an awful lot to say about being jilted in a relationship ... and at such a young age, too. I'm starting to feel real bad for this gal. Sad piano turns into a reflection on ending love. Good song, but fairly repetitive to sentiments already explored on the disc. Not the strongest tune here.

The Way I Loved You (5 out of 5)
One of the strongest tracks here b/c, musically, it builds into something that you never expected. A girl finds the perfect man (opens her doors, treats her like a lady, loves her parents, etc.) ... "but I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain, it's 2 am and I'm cursing your name, I'm so in love that I acted insane, and that's the way I loved you." It's tragic when you realize that you love someone else more than the one you're with, and Taylor Swift hits a homerun of a hit here.

Forever & Always (2 out of 5)
Sorry, but this is WAY too repetitive for the same themes already explored on this album. And for Pete's sake, give this girl a hug! Go and kiss her in the rain, already! Heaven knows she needs it at this point!

The Best Day (2.5 out of 5)
A young girl reminiscing about being an even younger girl. Wonderfully poetic lyrics.

Change (4.5 out of 5)
Pop country belted out the Taylor Swift way. Sure, maybe it's a bit predictable, but it's a good kind of predictable. All things change, and the true leaders predict it, welcome it, embrace it, celebrate it. It's about making the world a better place. "It's a revolution, throw your hands up 'cause we never gave in ..."

So what's Taylor so FEARLESS about? Clearly, it's love, and, while anyone can learn a world of lessons by plunging fearlessly into life's greatest mystery, there's a whole other series of lessons waiting for Taylor once the tempering effect that fear has on age. Don't let my 3-star-rating scare you: this is one classy effort and deserves to bought, sold, and celebrated. But what I'm more interested in is Taylor's command of lyrics. I really want to see where this young soul will be in ten year's time. I want to see her develop her skills beyond where she is today, and there's plenty of room (and time) for that to happen ... fearlessly or not.

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November 18, 2010
Great and thorough review, Ed! I've liked every song I've heard from Taylor Swift and I never would've thought that I would lol...often, I'm shocked that she's only 19! Have you thought about adding this to the Music Matters Community? It'd be a great addition!
November 18, 2010
Hmmm ... I don't know how to do that. Don't I have to be following a community to post into it? I really should figure that out.
November 18, 2010
All you need to do is click on the Actions drop down menu (upper right hand corner of the review), choose Add to a Community, Select the Community you want to post it to and voila! You're done! You'll automatically be added to the community after you post a review there. If you need any additional help- feel free to ask!
November 18, 2010
Hmm ... yeah, when I do that, I don't get a choice of any communities other than those I already belong to. I'll have to find this Music Matters Community and sign up. Thanks!
November 18, 2010
Whatever you did it worked! You're welcome- looking forward to reading more of your reviews!
November 17, 2010
I agree, Taylor has come so far in such a short time! I really like her new songs that I've heard on the radio. She really has quite a striking voice and her lyrics are unusually mature for her age. Nice review!
November 17, 2010
Great review, Ed! I love Taylor Swift and I like most of her singles that I've heard so far. I'll have to check out the others that you rated highly. Thanks for sharing! :)
More Fearless (Platinum Edition, CD... reviews
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.
review by . August 18, 2010
posted in Music Matters
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 …
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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Ed ()
Ranked #12
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops".   … more
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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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