Taylor Swift - Speak Now
Release Date: 25 October 2010
1. "Mine" 3:51
2. "Sparks Fly" 4:22
3. "Back to December" 4:54
4. "Speak Now" 4:02
5. "Dear John" 6:44
6. "Mean" 3:56
7. "The Story of Us" 4:26
8. "Never Grow Up" 4:50
9. "Enchanted" 5:51
10. "Better Than Revenge" 3:38
11. "Innocent" 5:02
12. "Haunted" 4:02
13. "Last Kiss" 6:07
14. "Long Live" 5:17
In my books, you're not really a true artist unless you can carry a live performance. Taylor Swift's live singing always did leave much to be desired for, but what she lacks in vocal control prowess she more than makes up for in songwriting. In my opinion, she's a smart composer, cleverly weaving together tangible stories with lilting melodies in her tapestry of song. It works.
Speak Now is her third album to hit the charts, with 14 tracks, all of which were composed by her. And as at 4 January 2011, Speak Now is number one album of the Billboard 200. Each song is a story - of love, of heartbreak, of regret, of optimism.
She doesn't use big words, but her storytelling is effective in her lyrics. In Dear John, the supposed ode to her nasty breakup with John Mayer, she knifes, "You are an expert at sorry and keeping lines blurry / Never impressed by me acing your tests / All the girls that you've run dry have tired, lifeless eyes / 'Cause you've burn them out". Or "The way you move is like a full-on rainstorm / And I'm a house of cards / You're the kind of reckless that should send me running / But I kinda know that I won't get far" in Sparks Fly.
And my personal favourite from Better Than Revenge "She's not a saint, and she's not what you think / She's an actress, whoa / She's better known for the things that she does / On the mattress, whoa". Heh.
The melodies are catchy, some instantly catching on like Back to December, Mine & Mean whilst others like the quirky title track Speak Now took awhile to catch on. She makes the move away from country and experiments with slightly rockier, heavier noises, and a lot more sass in this album.
You might also just want to listen for the hoo-haa surrounding some of the subjects of her songs - there's the abovementioned Dear John, Back to December which is apparently about Taylor Lautner, and Innocent about the whole Kanye West VMA I-snatch-your-mic incident.
Stand-out tracks include: Sparks Fly, Long Live, Haunted, Back to December
Listen if you believe in happy endings and fairy-tales. It's one of those feel good albums.