By Taylor Swift
Nineteen year old Taylor Swift's sultry country sounds have successfully seduced our neighbours across the pond, over in the grand old U S of A. With the release of her second album, Fearless, in the UK, it's only right that LMS had a listen and gave you the verdict.
Before I began listening to the CD, I imagined to hear a mix of Colbie Caillat, Faith Hill, and Leann Rhimes. As it turns out, that prediction wasn't far wrong.
Immediately endearing the listener is 'Fifteen'. Swift recalls falling in love at fifteen, and the blissful ignorance of hindsight. The track is very girly, but it's undeniably likable. The strumming guitars and banjos also make it very country, but Swift puts enough of her own youthful personality into the track to make it sound fresh.
The hit of the album is 'Love Story,' which is strange because it's not the best song on the album. The lyrics are painfully poor, and the melody has no adventure. In fact, if you imagine Disney doing poor country music, it would sound a little like this.
Also garnering air time in Obama-Land is 'White Horse,' and it's easy to see why. It's reminiscent of Norah Jones and Katie Melua, but with even more commercial value. The piano-backed ballad pulls on the heart strings, and is an excellent vehicle to highlight Swift's talent.
'You Belong With Me' is definitely one of the strongest songs on the album. Swift injects it with plenty of soul, the lyrics are young, and it has a sing-along quality to it. It also crosses the boundaries between light rock and country really effectively.
'Breathe' is the song on the album that non-Swift fans will probably like. On the track Swift sings about the pain involved in breaking up with someone, but that sometimes it has to happen. It has a different energy to the rest of the album; it's very chilled, and the effective use of violin differentiates it even further. The influence of Colbie Caillat, who co-wrote the song, is definitely felt.
The first four seconds of 'Tell Me Why' instantly bring to mind the Rednex song 'Cotton Eye Joe.' Thankfully the rest of the track is completely different, as it mixes light rock and country beautifully. Swift sings about her abusive partner with buckets of attitude and personality. It's a lovely song, but the music and the content of the lyrics do clash a little.
Although this album is filled with plenty of likable songs, there are several tracks that aren't up to the same standard. 'Change' for example, sounds like a lazy Kelly Clarkson song. 'Forever and Always' is even worse, and could easily be mistaken for an Avril Lavigne song.
Overall, the album is a very mixed bag. There are many instances when Swift is producing the kind of music you want to hear, but she doesn't hit the heights that Colbie Caillat did with her similar sounding 'Coco' album. It's a great CD for Mother's Day, but unless you're a country fan there is nothing here to keep you interested.