Taylor Swift Speak Now Album 2010 Review

taylor-swift-speak-now-album-2010-reviewTaylor Swift new album 2010 is Speak Now. Speak Now is the third studio album by American country pop artist. The concept album was released on October 25, 2010. Swift worked on the album for two years prior to its release. An upcoming world tour has been confirmed for the album. The official cover was released on August 18, 2010.

Taylor Swift wrote all of the songs on the album without co-writers. Speaking on a live webcast on July 20, 2010, she said, “I actually wrote all the songs myself for this record. It didn’t really happen on purpose, it just sort of happened. Like, I’d get my best ideas at 3:00 AM in Arkansas, and I didn’t have a co-writer around and I would just finish it.” 60% of the album was recorded in producer Nathan Chapman’s basement. Some of the songs will feature a full orchestra, including strings.

Taylor Swift Speak Now album review by Allison Stewart (Washington Post)

Taylor Swift’s ridiculously entertaining new album, “Speak Now,” is a lengthy, captivating exercise in woo-pitching, flame tending and score-settling — with a heavy emphasis on the latter.

The song “Innocent,” written in response to last year’s Kanye West contretemps on the MTV Video Music Awards, may be the most telling. It is a small masterpiece of passive aggressiveness, a vivisection dressed up as a peace offering: “It’s okay, life is a tough crowd,” Swift faux-consoles West, who is, apparently, “32 and still growing up now.”

A teenager when she released her first album and now the world’s most famous 20-year-old, Swift, on her third album, neatly skirts the impending adulthood observers feared might become her Waterloo, mostly by avoiding mention of it entirely. It helps that she sounds like planet earth’s youngest, most earnest 20-year-old, and that she wisely avoids relatability-killing songs about paparazzi or life on the road and makes only fleeting references to her apartment.

Lucky for Swift, regular girls and superstars apparently face the same troubles: alienation, constant romantic earthquakes, a distrust of people who are fake.
Swift is the fleshly embodiment of a Disney princess (and not the Miley Cyrus kind, either), but songs like “Innocent” suggest a tiny fist emerging from the velvet glove. It’s an encouraging development, one that brings texture and depth to a disc of otherwise unearthly sweetness. The already-much-dissected bluesy guitar ballad “Dear John” deftly skewers rumored ex-paramour John Mayer (“All the girls that you’ve run dry/Have tired, lifeless eyes/Cause you burned them out”), whose already battered reputation may never recover.

“Better Than Revenge” was likely written about actress and alleged Joe Jonas-poacher Camilla Belle. Think such speculation is unseemly? Swift no longer seems like the kind of girl who would care if you Went There, providing so many telling details about her songs’ real life heroes and villains that “Speak Now” might as well come with a decoder ring.

About Belle (allegedly): “She’s an actress/But she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress,” Swift meows. She sounds unsure what those things are, exactly, but that just makes it worse.

Swift is otherwise a champion empathizer, with a great gift for describing the lost innocence of childhood and the clumsy miscommunications of adults. She brings to mind, of all things, a girly Dashboard Confessional, another artist enamored of ardent, beefed-up acoustic roman à clefs. She wears well, but “Speak Now” is long: 14 wordy, stretched-thin, occasionally repetitive songs, all written entirely by her, and broken up by nary a guest star and only an occasional backing vocalist.

This full-frontal Taylor assault is doubtlessly meant to silence those who doubted her writing and singing abilities, but it makes for arid patches. “Dear John” drags at almost seven minutes; it would have soared at four.

The disc’s songs tend to fall into three categories: poppy and generic new wave tracks (“The Story of Us”) that suggest a nicer Avril Lavigne; catchy country-pop songs (“Mine,” an unofficial sequel to “Fearless” hit “Love Story”), of which there are not enough; and muscular acoustic ballads, often with strings or an orchestra (the great “Back to December”), of which there are sometimes too many. Except for the swingy bluegrass track “Mean,” this is the least country album in the history of country albums.
“Speak Now” is peppered with giggles, spoken word bits, sighs and one too many pouring rain metaphors, all meant to underscore Swift’s adorableness, which has long been an indisputable matter of record. The only real misfire is the title track, in which Swift interrupts a wedding with a protestation of love for the groom (“I am not the kind of girl who should be rudely barging in on a white veil occasion,” she informs the gathering, somewhat awkwardly).

In this razor-edged update of “Fearless” hit “You Belong With Me,” Swift stacks the deck by depicting her rival as a bridezilla with a “gown shaped like a pastry,” a great image but a bad idea: it’s one of the few times she seems petty and juvenile, and not just young.

It goes without saying that the groom strips off his tux and ducks out the back door with Swift, but you can’t help but feel sorry for his would-be bride . With America’s Sweetheart as an unexpectedly merciless rival, it hardly seems like a fair fight.

Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ album review by Shalperin (Hollywood Reporter)

If any album has a shot at selling a million copies in its first week (and it’s been two and a half years since any album did), it’s Taylor Swift’s Speak Now, which comes out Oct. 25. If nothing else, the follow-up to 2008’s Grammy Award-winning, six times-platinum Fearless will launch a million speculative blog posts, since much of her third album is said to be about “Taylor Swift and that Twilight kid,” as Katherine Heigl put it in a Life as We Know It punchline. Then there’s the song that’s definitely about Kanye West, the single that might be about Glee star Cory Monteith, and the six-and-a-half minute utter excoriation of John Mayer, whose already tough year is about to get a little rougher.

Confronted with subject matter that was gossip mag material before it became lyrical fodder, country fans might quote the famous chorus of Waylon Jennings: “Are you sure Hank done it this way?” Fans of the confessional singer-songwriter tradition in popular music, meanwhile, could similarly ask: Are you sure Joni done it this way?

Indeed, when Joni Mitchell released Blue in 1971, most of her fans weren’t devouring every line to try to figure out whether it was about Crosby, Stills, or Nash. But that was then, and this is Speak Now, very much a product of its transparent times. If Swift’s approach to songwriting is far more diaristic than some of her predecessors, oldsters may see that as exhibitionistic, but her twenty-something contemporaries will recognize it as perfectly in keeping with the candor of the Facebook generation. Why settle for a roman a clef when you can be real?

Speak Now does keep one foot, or at least a couple toes, in teen-pop. The bouncy title track, in which the singer breaks up an ex-beau’s wedding sounding like Feist on happy pills, is arguably the bubblegummiest thing she’s ever done. And “Never Grow Up,” an acoustic lullaby, is so patently anti-adult that Swift advises the baby she’s tucking in for the night to stunt its own growth before the kid has to experience future rejections or desertions. But for the most part, Swift seems comfortable with the whole growing-up thing—which she accomplishes not by tarting herself up, as disastrously attempted by Miley Cyrus, but by fully embracing the singer-songwriter genre and the deeper, more complicated emotions that fuel it.

The best and most shocking song here, “Dear John,” is the one that parents may be reluctant to let their tweens hear—not because there’s any sexual explicitness to it, but because its ravaged emotions in the wake of an ill-advised fling feels like a cold slap in the face to kids who’ve barely exited the Disney princess years. It’s a brilliant song, and not necessarily an easy one to listen to… at least until the chills-inducing climax, when Swift gets past the nastiness and sings: “All the girls that you run dry/Have tired, lifeless eyes/’Cause you burned them out/But I took your matches/Before fire could catch me/So don’t look now/I’m shining like fireworks/Over your sad, empty town.”

It would be a pretty devastating track with or without the knowledge that it is allegedly about John Mayer, with whom Swift was rumored to have a brief tryst. Consider this the unofficial confirmation. The details of Swift’s ballad about a guy with a “sick need to give love and take it away” all square up with what’s known, or suspected, from tabloid reports earlier this year: The disapproving mom (“My mother accused me of losing my mind/But I swore I was fine”), the disapproving public (“I ignored what they said: Run as fast as you can”), 12-year age difference (“Don’t you think 19’s too young/To be played/By your dark, twisted games”), and… the name. Surely Mayer must’ve realized, if he did romance Swift, that she’s not big on pseudonyms.

You expect comeuppance in a Taylor Swift album, if not necessarily the stark kind doled out in “Dear John.” There’s more of the playful sort heard on the previous two albums in “Better Than Revenge,” the most breathlessly paced rocker on the album, which begins with the singer whispering “Now go stand in the corner and think about what you did,” then chiding a rival with the line, “I’m just another thing to roll your eyes at, honey… She should keep in mind that there is nothing I do better than revenge.”

It’s a fun number, but if there were many more along those lines, you might worry that Swift could be falling into a vengeance-is-mine-sayeth-the-lioness schtick. Actually, what’s most surprising about Speak Now—once you get past the bitterness of “Dear John”—is how unexpectedly sweet it is. Swift’s had her moments before, but she’s never treated a boy quite as affectionately as she treated her mom in the previous record’s “Best Day.” This time around, she doesn’t try just a little tenderness, but a lot—and most of it seems to be reserved for a Taylor Lautner-like figure who was loved and, purposely or inadvertently, left behind.

“I feel you forget me like I used to feel your breath,” she sings softly in “Last Kiss.” In “Long Live,” she stands proudly, even as “the cynics were outraged, screaming ‘This is absurd.’” It may sound self-congratulatory, or it may just be someone at the top of her game, briefly paired with someone at the top of his game, latching on for all it’s worth to something that’s destined to fade, as the lyric acknowledges it will.

Will the cynics still be outraged when Speak Now becomes the biggest-selling album of the next year? (“Mean,” the only other song on the album to allude to some defensiveness on Swift’s part, is an utterly upbeat country song that even has a funny and extremely self-aware nod to those who say she “can’t sing.”) They may be out in greater force than ever before, but the stone-hearted among them who listen to Speak Now will find it hard to complain that Swift somehow stole that Best Album Grammy for Fearless. Entirely self-penned, sans the collaborations of the previous albums, it’s an enormous breakthrough in songwriting maturity, while hardly forsaking the childlike lack of pretense that made earlier efforts such guilt-free ear candy. Deal with it, haters: It’ll be decades before she’s holding her peace.

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