BY SYDNEY ALTMAN
After two years in production, the most anticipated album of the year was finally released, Taylor Swift’s third record, Speak Now. Following the success of her Grammy winning CD, Fearless, critics and fans alike were excited to see whether or not Speak Now would surpass Fearless’ success. Fearless became the most awarded album in country music history and sold over 6 million copies. Fortunately for devout fans, Speak Now not only meets expectations, it crushes them, proving to be her most diverse album yet.
Her honest and candid lyrics comment on Swift’s life experiences. Swift is known for writing songs as if she’s writing in a diary and she maintains that promise to her fans, singing about break-ups, make-ups, vengeance, and even forgiveness. The songs have listeners questioning which high profile boy toy she’s singing about now. She even has a disclaimer, saying “to all of the boys who inspired this album, you should’ve known.”
Each song takes listeners on a journey, as she tells vivid, individual stories about her life. Her fun style is evident throughout the CD, even when it comes to songs like “Better than Revenge”. Even though Swift is not holding back her true thoughts, her themes of fantasy and romance remain constant. “Mine”, the first single, is a lighthearted, upbeat romantic song, describing her dream of not running away from love and ultimately finding the perfect relationship. But, two of the best songs on Speak Now include “Sparks Fly” and “Enchanted”, both songs are near perfection in musical storytelling. Swift also provides mellow songs as well, such as “Innocent”, about the tumultuous Kanye West ordeal, and “Back to December”, speculated to be about Taylor Lautner, in which she apologizes for breaking his heart.
While most songs are clever and amazingly crafted, “Never Grow Up” and “Last Kiss” are not too catchy. Although they are cute stories, the songs are not favorites, proving to be a bit too slow to capture much interest in listeners.
In addition to maturing through her lyrics, Swift also experimented with new beats and musical styles to reach a broader audience. From blues to rock to pop to country, she proves her vocal diversity, demonstrating that she can sing any style of music.
Speak Now is Swift’s best album to date and its success is due to Swift’s maturity and evolution as an artist.