Country songstress Taylor Swift reports on the past two years of her life on her third studio album, Speak Now. Swift writes about her rumored relationship with “Twilight’s” Taylor Lautner in “Back to December,” a track presumably about John Mayer and other topics — like the Kanye West “Imma let you finish, but…” fiasco — on this latest record. Speak Now doesn’t stray far from the simple country-pop sound of her first two albums, but adds orchestral backing to a few tracks. While Swift’s lyrics are borderline corny, she digs deep to deliver memorable one-liners on her most sophisticated work yet.
Swift comes off as the bigger person on “Innocent,” the country ballad track she penned about Kanye West. Although the track concerns forgiveness, Swift digs at West with lines like “Thirty-two and still growing up now.” The track could have gone further chastising West, but Swift takes the high road with this album standout.
The most vulnerable track from the album is also the least expected — the John Mayer-inspired “Dear John.” The song exposes a dark, brief romance between Swift and Mayer. Swift’s lyricism is at its best as she sings of a girl obsessed with an older man who charmed the girl despite her parents’ disapproval with lines like, “My mother accused me of losing my mind / but I swore / I was fine.” Though Mayer added Swift’s name to his extensive list of lovers, she fires back with this ballad, questioning his standards with “Don’t you think 19’s too young / to be played / by your dark twisted games /when I loved you so?” Hopefully Hollywood starlets heed Swift’s well-versed warning about Mayer.
“Better than Revenge,” is where Swift gets her Carrie Underwood “Before He Cheats” moment as she sings about an actress who stole her man. Instead of writing another forgiving track, Swift gives the unknown actress a lyrical beating with her raciest lyrics yet, “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.” Though this track’s other lyrics are tame compared to real revenge songs, they are a mature step up for Swift.
Speak Now is the latest chapter in Taylor Swift’s young life. As she matures so do the themes and her songwriting on this record. Though she doesn’t stray too far from her usual sound, the album is Swift’s most ambitious and intimate because of her major personal disclosure. Speak Now is the best interruption to Taylor Swift’s music career since the “Imma let you finish”-incident. Thank goodness she didn’t forever hold her peace.