Written Before Listen
So Taylor Swift is an American singer-songwriter from Reading Pennsylvania. Starting off as a Country pop singer with multiple hits such as songs that appear on here like “Fifteen”, “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me”. Me being the Kanye fan I am, I’ve never listened to a Taylor Swift album. I gave folklore a listen when it came out and it actually wasn’t bad. Although, my feelings on folklore probably will have nothing to do with my feelings of Fearless because none of the tracks that I know on here are anything close to the tracks on folklore. With that being said….here we go.
So if you know enough about Taylor Swift, you know that her stereotype is to only write love songs from the perspective of her own feelings. Knowing that, her audience is quite secluded. It’s usually teenage girls or girls in their mid 20s that are now her age and related to her music then. It’s unfortunate because she obviously has chops for songwriting and more but her appeal to that secluded audience makes this album a difficult listen to a good amount of people. It’s a god damn shame.
Taylor Swift despite the things she talks about is quite the songwriter. There are songs like “Love Story”, “You Belong With Me” and “Fifteen” where not only her storytelling is vivid and easy to follow along with, but she is able to do that while crafting a mega hit with them. Sure there are songs like “Hey Stephen” where she has storytelling that isn’t as vivid or memorable but its undeniable that her storytelling ability is there.
The production has its pros and cons. First off, I like how the instrumentation Isn’t super electronic or digital and used actual country instruments. I also like how the people that play on here are somewhat talented. Especially the bass player, the bassist on this thing had some really melodic bass lines on here. One thing I don’t like on the production side is the choice of effects. The electric guitars are never twangy and always distorted and unoriginal. The drums are super close mic’d and the vocals are wayyyy too much when it comes to the processing. The song “White Horse” could’ve actually been enjoyable if the vocals were more atmospheric. To be honest, the vocals are mixed way too upfront for this whole entire album. I also feel like they could’ve made it more appealing for older audiences using a lot less power chord driven electric guitars and more twangy clean guitars. It’s honestly to the point where half of these songs are close to power pop territory. So I like some production choices on here but a majority of them I don’t.
As I said, Taylors audience was one dimensional as one dimensional can get. Why is like that you may ask? Well topics on this album include love, school and breakup. Sure there are a couple of exceptions in the end such as the song “The Best Day” which is about her mother and “Change” which is all about wanting fame. As you can see, other than a few exceptions, Taylors audience is only appealing to that one circle because she only writes about the things only they can relate to.
So as you can see, I don’t like this album. It’s not like I hate it though because I don’t think there is a track that is downright horrible. Just most of the tracks I don’t like. The only track I actually liked was “You Belong With Me”. I think that track remains to be one of the best Teen Pop songs of all time. Other than that, I thought “Fearless” was ok, I think “Love Story” isn’t a bad song and “You’re Not Sorry” is a decent piano ballad. Other than that, a lot of my stances on these songs are less than positive.
God damn….I wish this was more universal and less formulaic. With Swifts songwriting talent and team of producers, she had the ability to create an album that could’ve been both commercial and critical. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.