Monday, October 18, 2010

Taylor Swift Discography: Fearless (2008)

In the fall of 2008, fans eagerly awaited Taylor Swift's sophomore album, Fearless. What they got was a more mature and tightly made album with bigger hits and stronger melodies. The album shot Taylor Swift to crossover fame and she became a househeld name almost over night thanks to her gang buster romantic songs.

1. Fearless
This is the first song where Taylor is in a happy relationship and how it makes her feel fearless and invincible. Thanks to good ole Wikipedia, I learned that Taylor wrote the song on tour while she was not dating anyone. The song is about "the perfect first date" and how "no matter how many times your heart has been broken, you will fall in love again." (Okay, kid.)

2. Fifteen
Taylor looks back at her freshman year, describes meeting her real life best friend, Abigail, and how the world revolved around boys. The song describes several milestones like the first and the first kiss, all of which happened to Taylor her freshman year. (Bully for her). Near the end of the song "Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind" which makes me assume sex, but I could just have a "dirty mind" compared to Taylor. This song is gentle warning to those around fifteen and a bittersweet recollection to all of us who crossed the threshold maybe seven years ago or thirty-seven. "Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday" is so true to me, all though it was more of an eleven thing.

3. Love Story
Oh boy, was this song huge. Basically, it's a less violent version of Romeo & Juliet. "Juliet's" dad disapproves of their relationship but somehow "Romeo" has a chat with him and it ends with a marriage proposal. (Speaking of fifteen...ahem) I owe this song's popularity to the naive romantic in all of us. External conflict romances endure because everyone would rather have true love in any circumstance than to yearn for someone who is emotionally unavailable. It's less emotionally damaging.

4. Hey Stephen
Taylor likes a dude named Stephen who is the shit and she's the only one who knows it. It's a light little diddy, and kind of nice after the INTENSITY of "Love Story". However, it's overlong.

5. White Horse
This song is the anti "Love Story", or, more accurately, the results of "Love Story". Taylor is disappointed that her life didn't turn out to be the fairy tale she thought it was. It's a sobering song, with minimalist guitar work. You pay attention and it brings you down a peg or two. It must be noted that the song is not cynical. Despite Taylor's prince being a jerk in shining armor, she has faith that she will "find someone someday who might actually treat me well."

6. You Belong With Me
Of course, immediately following the realistic "White Horse" our hopes are raised through the roof with "You Belong With Me", an amalgam every teen comedy ever. Taylor is the girl next door in love with the quarterback who (naturally) is dating a stuck up cheerleader who just doesn't understand him the way Taylor does. It's upbeat and catchy as hell and was a major hit. I swear, everytime I got into a car between October and December of last year I heard it at least once on the radio. Interestingly, "You Belong With Me" does not have a lyrical conclusion with Mr. Football confessing his love to Taylor. The ending is left up to the listener's interpretation, but with the cinematic video, it's pretty obvious how Taylor thinks it should end.

7. Breathe
A pretty standard break up song with backing vocals by Colbie Caillat (Why? Why not, I guess). Break ups suck. Let's move on.

8. Tell Me Why
This is probably my least favorite track on the album. Taylor dates a douche and wonders why he's so mean. I wonder why she's still with him.

9. You're Not Sorry
After giving a guy several chances, Taylor realizes that he isn't sorry and that he'll never learn his lesson. This is a pretty simple song, but I like it a lot.

10. The Way I Loved You
Often in Taylor's songs, she plays the victim; she's been ignored, unloved, cheated on, dumped, heartbroken and it's always someone else's fault. With "The Way I Loved You" she's kind of the villain, although I doubt she even realizes it. Taylor is dating a "charming, endearing, comfortable" guy who treats her perfectly but she's not satisfied and misses her wild ex with whom she had crazy fights with in the rain. So what does she do? Does she break up with the nice guy? No, she's Miss Co-dependent, she has to be with someone consarnit. Besides "he can't see the smiling I'm faking, and my heart's not breaking cause I'm not feeling anything at all." Yeah, this song is kind of evil, but it's also unapologetic. That's ballsy. However, these are things Taylor would never admit to her boyfriend or her friends because she knows how awful they sound. Overall, this song proves that anyone can be both a victim and a perpetrator.

11. Forever & Always
Notoriously, this song is about Taylor's short lived relationship with Joe Jonas and how he dumped her over the phone. The song tells of how a relationship can be "very serious" one minute and the next day be nothing. Trust me, that's not just high school, so it's relevant to everyone unfortunately. I didn't like this one at first but it grew on me.

12. The Best Day
Taylor sings about her mom. It's sweet, but not my steez. I'm not big on family songs, but from what I've read, this one is pretty good.

13. Change
This song was featured on a 2008 Olympics compilation CD and was the first song from Fearless I heard. I didn't particularly care for it, but, once again, it grew on me. "Change" could refer to many things; sports, romantic entanglements, etc. and it's up to the listener to choose just what Taylor is singing about. No matter what, she believes in you. (Corny but fun).

Almost a year after the original album came out, Taylor released Fearless: Platinum Edition that included five new tracks and one new piano version. None of the new tracks became big sellers. (Note how the cover has a badly Photoshopped black background put in).

14. Jump Then Fall
Easily the best of the new songs at least musically. Taylor is happy to be in love and wants the object of her affection to go for it and fall in love with her. It's happy, it's Taylor.

15. Untouchable
At 5:11, this Taylor's longest song and boy, does it go on. The melody is particularly strong, nor are the lyrics. I've listened to it several times and I'm still not sure what it's about other than wanting someone untouchable.

16. Forever & Always (Piano Version)
Exactly what is says. This version is slower, prettier and certainly more heartfelt. I actually prefer it because of the added emotion.

17. Come In With the Rain
If you go on Youtube, there are several unreleased Taylor Swift singles floating around. (Wait for that post). This was one I collected way back in 2006. It's a good song, but I can't help but wonder why this one was chosen instead of others. The lyrics are kind of murky and interpretations are copious in amount.

18. SuperStar
Taylor is in love with a superstar and fantasizes about what it would be like to date him. I wonder which of her famous boyfriends this one's about. It's okay.

19. The Other Side of the Door
Trouble in paradise! Taylor and her man have a spat and she's being a total girl about it. "I said leave but all I really want is you to stand outside my window throwing pebbles saying 'I'm in love with you'..." Uh, yeah. So high school. I can take blind hope and naive optimism but this shit irritates me to the core. Grow up and say what you want.

Fearless is a superior album to Taylor Swift and either of her EP's. It's tighter, is more focused, has bigger hits and each song is about something pretty specific. There are no outright duds on this album and I find it easier to listen to the whole thing than her first album. It was a great follow up and all her fans are anxious to see how Speak Now will fare in comparison. I'm hoping for more mature lyrics and themes and at least one really good Friend Zone song. (But hey, that's just me).

Common elements found in Taylor Swift's songs (For fun!)
  • Truck/Riding Shotgun/The Passenger Seat/Driving in general - 11
  • Blue Jeans - 3
  • Fake Smile - 3
  • That Girl/Her/The Other Woman in general - 4
  • Eyes - 7
  • A marriage proposal - 2

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