Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" Speaks For Itself
Her songs are so personal that fans get a direct connection to Swift herself. For that reason, even in this market, she may be one of the only artists who can still sell one million album copies in its opening week.
The first single off her album, “Mine,” shows that the 20-year-old Swift is growing up, and gives her fans a chance to grow with her. Singing about leaving clothes at her boyfriend’s place and paying bills is a huge change from her singing about a boy she likes in her class, as on “Teardrops on My Guitar.”
Fans who have been listening to Swift for years may have been in high school or beginning college when her first CD came out. Now, they're also living in the real world, dealing with real relationships and real problems. “Mine” brings out the joy in everyday life just by being with someone that you love.
Every song on the album is written by Swift herself, and although she’s had a reputation of being a weak singer, that's not the case here.
She’s received notoriety for dating celebrities and writing songs about them, and this album is no exception. “Dear John,” which was allegedly written about her short-lived romance with John Mayer, sounds like a song he would sing himself. At nearly seven minutes, the listener can feel Swift’s pain as she almost screams the chorus.
“Back to December” has already gotten some radio play, and so has "Innocent." Swift performed “Innocent” at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards—with the lyrics about how Kanye West embarrassed her onstage. “Back to December” is a first for Swift; she apologizes for a mistake she made while in her relationship with Taylor Lautner. And she does so with grace - with a chorus that fans will find themselves singing along to in their cars.
In the song “Better Than Revenge,” another standout on the album, Swift channels her inner pop-punk rocker as she sings to a girl who stole her boyfriend. Dripping in sarcasm, she sings “I’m just another thing for you to roll your eyes at honey/you might have him but I always get the last word.” Rumor is, the song is about actress Camilla Belle, who dated musician Joe Jonas right after Swift did. If that's the case, then Belle really did mess with the wrong girl. She should have known Swift would have written about it.
Country fans will be glad Swift brings back some twang in the song, “Mean,” which she wrote about someone who was - what else? - mean to her. “Sparks Fly” also has a country feel, and is reminiscent of her older song “Fearless". Longtime fans will be pleased that she doesn't forget her roots.
One of Swift’s advantages is her ability to relate to her fans. Every song is personal: who hasn't dealt with a breakup, a bully, or reminisced about their childhood?
She has come a long way since when she first impressed country fans four years ago with her self-titled debut album. She’s arguably a voice for her generation, leaving nothing untold. She’s sharing with the world what a young girl goes through while looking for love, and finding herself along the way.
Reach staff reporter Catherine Donahoe here.