Taylor Swift has done it again. With the release of her brand new album, Speak Now is charming young hearts all over the world with her honest songs about love and sweet country vocals to match.
What a difference 4 years makes! When Taylor Swift’s eponymous debut album was released Oct 24, 2006, it sold 39,000 copies in the first week. 1 week after Oct 25, 2010, the same period netted Speak Now, her latest release, more than 1 million copies of sales.
Whether it will eclipse the success of her previous Fearless album, which was the most commercially successful one in America last year at 3.2 million copies, remains to be seen. Many will remember this as the album where the country pop darling grows up.
With heavier drum and guitar beats, Speak Now is edgier, bolder and moves away from Fearless’ dreamy, fairytale-like image and awkward adolescent angst.
Just shy of 21, the singer-songwriter describes her songs as “open letters”, with each song being “a different confession to a different person” during a chat with fans on Ustream, a popular website for live video streaming.
11 out of 14 songs have made it to the Billboard Top 100 including lead single, “Mine”. The song is an excellent start to the album with its upbeat tune and Swift sings about her tendency to run away from love. The song’s likely to strike a chord with fans for its lyrics,
“Then, you took me by surprise
You said, “I’ll never leave you alone”
Which call to mind popular track “Love Story” in Fearless (“Marry me, Juliet, you’ll never have to be alone/I love you/and that’s all I really know”). The double-tracked “Mine” delivers just enough punch in the chorus to remind us that she’s talented at music composition too.
“Mean” is a standout track that deviates from the others on her album, with a more distinctive country feel after having leaned towards mainstream pop over the years. Note the delightful twang of the banjo in this song. Hell hath no fury like a songwriter scorned and she lashes out at her “mean” critics and bullies we face in life – something Swift can very well relate to as she had difficulties fitting in at school.
The slower ballads like “Dear John” and “Back To December” don’t disappoint either and are believed to refer to Swift’s past relations with John Mayer and Taylor Lautner respectively. “Back to December” is the first song in which Swift apologises to an ex-boyfriend while “Dear John” shows raw and bitter emotions about feeling used and is accompanied with a blues-and-jazz melody that she may as well have taken from Mayer’s albums.
“All the girls that you run dry with tired, lifeless eyes
Cause you burned them out
But I took your matches before fire could catch me”
Speak Now is her first entirely self-written album and for someone who is as transparent about her life in her music as Swift, it’s a statement of her growth over the last 2 years. Our pop princess has hit a few bumps on the road and Speak Now is likely her most personal yet, with a more regretful tone that wasn’t present in her previous 2 albums.
UrbanWire feels Speak Now deserves the positive reviews from critics but we wonder if just singing about boys and love will be enough for some of her young fans.
Artiste: Taylor Swift
Album: Speak Now
Record Label: Big Machine Records
Release Date: 25 October 2010
- Sparks Fly
- Back to December
- Speak Now
- Dear John
- The Story of Us
- Never Grow Up
- Better than Revenge
- Last Kiss
- Long Live
- If This Was a Movie
- Back to December (acoustic)
- Haunted (acoustic)
- Mine (US version)
- Back to December (US version)
- The Story of Us (US version)
- “On the Set”: Behind the Scenes “Mine” Music Video
- “Mine” Music Video