Album Review: “Fearless” by Taylor Swift
Teen sensation Taylor Swift has finally released her highly anticipated sophomore album. After the success of her self-titled debut project, we find Taylor exploring a new direction with this project, a more grown up and mature direction than many of the teen-based songs from her first project. While her previous album was mostly surrounded around the concept of love and revenge for lost love, this album explores more personal concepts from Taylor’s own experiences as well as a more stripped down and vulnerable look at the loss and longing for love from another.
As a writer Taylor contributed to every one of the 13 tracks on her sophomore album. Each song comes with its own feel and creative ambition that helps it stand out, while in Taylor’s debut album it was hard for many of the songs to stand on their own. The opening track especially locks the listener right in. The album begins with its upbeat title track that focuses on being “fearless” when one is in love and the project never looks back.
The remainder of the album is mixed with fast paced, pop/country mixes and powerful ballads supported by some of Taylor’s best vocal work and some of the most realistic and believable characters and styles she has offered up thus far in her short career. Take the first single “Love Story”. While drawing on fairytales as her inspiration Swift manages to avoid childish cliches while still managing to get the point across. This same style is applied flawlessly on her Grey’s Anatomy famed tune “White Horse”. Swift solidifies her maturing sense of value and wordplay by taking on some of the most overused metaphors from childhood storybook lines and turning them into pretty decent country songs.
Much of the album’s more lyrically impressive tracks are based around obvious life experiences that Taylor, only 18, has experienced in her short tenure with the real world. Where “Fifteen” focuses on Taylor’s own recollection of how much she wishes she could tell herself years ago already and the mistakes that her and her friend, Abigail, made through their naive sense of righteousness going into high school, “You Belong To Me” addresses the conflict between popularity and true love in a high school dating scene. These concepts, seemingly childish and immature when put into simple explanations, are actually well approached and addressed by Taylor as a writer and a vocalist, containing personal storylines that show a deep sense of confidence in her own life story rather than a made up scenario with no rock solid inspiration.
What’s nice here is that listeners get to hear more than just the romantic and heartbroken sides of Swift. There are a few tracks that solidify the woman that is in Taylor Swift, even if her teenage role-model stereotype plays a factor. “The Best Day” and “Change” are those songs. “The Best Day” sounds almost as if it is another “Tim McGraw”, unless you realize from the lyric that Swift is five in the first verse. In turns out the song is written about her dad and the relationship she has with him including references to past experiences that help support this bond. “Change”, which was used for the Olympic Games, is not only completely written by Taylor, but focuses on being beaten down and getting write back up, a powerful concept for someone as young as Taylor to tackle all on her own and she manages to pull it off for a great closer.
While Taylor may be stained by the stereotype that her association with acts like The Jonas Brothers and her young age have brought her, there is no denying that country music’s little girl is certainly growing up. Her sophomore album has more heart and vocal power behind it than her first, which wasn’t all that bad either in its entirety, and shows of a much more experienced and woman-like Taylor Swift. To sum up everything that this album stands for for Taylor, it proves that when she approaches her artistic form and her creative nature to do what she wants to do in the career that she has formed at this age she really is fearless and if this album is any sign of what’s to come I can’t wait to see what’s next.