Taylor Swift : Speak Now

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Taylor Swift : Speak Now


Provocative country pop princess Taylor Swift and septuagenarian outlaw country singer David Allan Coe share a lethal writing weapon.

Provocative country pop princess Taylor Swift and septuagenarian outlaw country singer David Allan Coe share a lethal writing weapon. They plunge daggers through the hearts of their ex-lovers and dates. They also favor long tonsorial tresses – Swift, now 20, au naturale, and Coe, 71, boasting a waist length hair extension. But that’s where similarities end.

Swift lived in luxury, buffered by vast cast of record company aides and wealthy parents, when she penned chart-topping tunes about John Mayer, Joe Jonas and actor Taylor Lautner. Coe was in prison at Swift’s age and later parked his hearse outside the Grand Ole Opry to play and pitch songs – some written about his seven wives.

Here on Speak Now, Swift delivers her finely crafted, demographically formulated tunes with the dexterity of an energised artist. This time around she has ditched her mentor – hit writer and collaborator Liz Rose. Swift’s writing has bloomed without Rose – she now takes all credit and royalties for her post-teen love laments on her third album.

She maximises emotional contrasts – the apologetic Lautner hit Back To December and vitriolic Mayer taunt Dear John. “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with?” she asks about the 12-year age difference between combatants in the latter as “the girl in the dress/cried the whole way home.”

She nails Kanye West to a crass cross in Innocent and bangs sharp edges of the eternal triangle in Better Than Revenge. “She’s an actress / But she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.”

Swift is not the Loretta Lynn of the new millennia – her studio strings are a vast contrast as aural accessories – but she does, however, borrow from the Lynn library. Lynn’s feisty characters first fought for feminism – Swift kicks out at critics in bluegrass-tinged Mean and mines independence and reciprocal passion in entrée Mine. Lynn also fought for her peers’ access to the pill and equality, but never stopped a rival’s wedding at the altar as Swift does in Speak Now.

Swift also reaches for a Petra Pan moment in Never Grow Up, while ploughs past in videogenic Last Kiss, ruptured romance in The Story Of Us and Haunted, unbridled love in Enchanted, Sparks Fly and idyllic finale Long Live. She reaches deep into her inner psyche as a quixotic queen to reach her target audience.

Country pop may not be the favoured genre of this writer, but Swift is the mistress of the muse with an album selling more than a million copies on debut in a depressed market place.

But depression is not in Swift’s mood swings.

Speak Now is Out Now through Universal