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Nov. 27, 2008

Not quite "Fearless" but still fantastic

by Alisa Lu, Online News Editor
Musicians who write their own lyrics are incredibly rare in today's music industry, where hits are usually written by professional songwriters and altered to perfection by producers. But country music phenomena Taylor Swift, who famously walked away from a record contract at age 13 because the label did not allow her to pen her own songs, is one of the few artists who can truly write and sing from the heart. Swift's sophomore album, "Fearless," contains a huge range of songs about young love, from the cheery and sappy "Love Story" to the angry "Always and Forever" to the sad "You're Not Sorry."

Swift's self-titled debut album, which sold over three million copies and garnered her a prestigious Country Music Association Horizon Award, was embraced by both critics and fans alike for its truthful and heartfelt lyrics, mainly about relationships. "Fearless" follows in its footsteps, as Swift sings about love in 12 out of the 13 tracks. The lone exception, "Change," is an upbeat and exuberant track, but doesn't deviate from standard, uplifting country songs.

But Swift's songs about romance, though aplenty, are diverse. The album's lead song, "Love Story," is a highly idealized and sentimental but incredibly addictive track. Backed by the banjo and guitar, Swift sings of a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque couple who overcome all obstacles and unsurprisingly live happily ever after. The mid-tempo song showcases Swift's sharp but mild voice, reminiscent of her cheery and sweet disposition.

On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, "White Horse" is about a girl who doesn't get her happy ending. The soft instrumentals, mostly notably a lone guitar, set a dark and somber tone while Swift croons out poignant lyrics such as "I was a dreamer before you went let me down/Now it's too late for you and your white horse to come around." Swift packs so much hurt and sincerity in her tone that it is not hard to believe she has experienced heartbreak in her 18 years of life.

In another break-up song, written about her relationship with ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, Swift sheds her emotional side and takes on the tone of an angry and jilted ex-girlfriend. With angry and mocking lines such as "Cause I was there when you said forever and always/You didn't mean it baby, I don't think so," the song could be an anthem for less-than-amicable break-ups. The strong beat and catchy lyrics pack a huge punch and are a nice change from the other, more lyrical songs on the album. A last-minute addition after the recent Swift-Jonas break-up, the song shows the bitter side of the country sweetheart and warns any of Swift's future suitors to beware her wrath.

Swift's first album was full of songs that showed her true age. But "Fearless" makes it seem as if Swift had aged many years since her debut album and has gained wisdom beyond her years. The lyrics are more mature, more profound and more heartfelt. Her songs have become less borderline-sugary pop concoctions and more insightful pieces of true music. If only she could deviate from the subject of boys and delve into other topics, Swift would cement herself as one of the greatest country artists of this day and age.

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  • Taylor Fan on April 20, 2009 at 11:44 PM
    I don't really think she seems older in this album. All the songs are still very girly and teenagery. I still love her though!!
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