Music Review by Natalie Homer
TAYLOR SWIFT is a song writing savant with an intuitive gift for verse-chorus-bridge architecture that, in singles like the surging FIFTEEN calls to mind Swedish pop gods Dr. Luke and Max Martin (who write for Avril Lavigne). She has abandoned any pretence that she’s a teen on this, her second album. Styled after the crossover country-pop of SHANIA TWAIN and FAITH HILL, there is nothing diva-like about her attitude. More of a big sister than a big star, her songs are youthful, sweetly tuneful but not overly girlish which helps to make FEARLESS a really good mainstream pop album of 08.
With this album, SWIFT aims to extend her dominion beyond the country music loving red states. Songs like FEARLESS and THE WAY I LOVED YOU are packed with loud, lean guitars and rousing choruses. The only overtly country-ish things about the album are SWIFT’S light drawl, the occasional reference to a “one-horse town” and a bit of fiddle and banjo tucked into the mix.
There is one vaguely political anthem, the string-swathed CHANGE filled with pronouncements about “revolution” and a singsong chorus of “hallelujahs.” And then there’s THE BEST DAY a loving ode to her parents. Mostly though, she sticks to her favourite topic — boys, boys, boys — about which she is “love-struck” or “pissed off,” such as in TELL ME WHY: “I’m sick and tired of your attitude/I’m feeling like I don’t know you.”
As if metaphorically ripped from a suburban girl’s diary, the songs come from a place of intimacy and truth. She’s not afraid to name names and refers to best friend Abigal in FIFTEEN and a boy she’s got a crush on in HEY STEPHEN.
The music is classified as country, but it’s really clinical pop enlivened by SWIFT’s confessional lyrics.