I don’t particularly like country music, and living below the Mason-Dixon Line my whole life has made it hard to deny, but I love Taylor Swift. She doesn’t sing about farming, but instead about material that is important to an eighteen-year-old girl who happens to have an amazing voice.
The narrative nature of some songs focuses on family, kissing in the rain and matters of the heart. One could argue easily that most songs on the radio are about love, but Swift sweetly walks the line between mushy and heartfelt on all but maybe two songs on Fearless, her second studio album. The one time Swift annoyingly falls off her lyrical horse is on “The Best Day,” which chronicles a saccharine day with her father. This may be someone else’s cup of tea, but it comes off too cutesy and almost contrived. Other than this one anomaly, the lyrics on Fearless are powerful and relatable.
The instrumentation on Fearless is functional and exactly what you would expect of a country singer. There are guitars, fiddles and banjos. The instrumentation is functional and backs up Swift well, not taking too much focus off of her vocals.
Swift has grown immensely in the two years since her last album, which sold over three million copies. Since then, the tone of her voice has changed. This makes her sound less young and naïve, which is a common criticism of her last album. While she used to sound like every other female country artist, her tone has become much more developed and distinctive.
The lead single on Fearless is “Love Story,” and with good reason. “Love Story” is a story in musical form, and more specifically, it is a revisionist’s Romeo and Juliet. Swift sings in the first person as Juliet about sneaking around with her Romeo. Romanticism aside, the lyrics are very evocative and sensual, describing a summer party and forbidden love.
If you have been living under a rock or very focused on school, then take the time to check out Taylor Swift. She’s not hardcore country, so you should be able to relate, at least a bit. Gorgeous tone (and looks) and insightful lyrics make this an amazing album. Swift set the bar high for herself with her last album and has now harvested a successful musical crop. Great things have already come from such a young artist.