Taylor Swift brings revenge in her new album

Taylor Swift’s “Teardrops on my Guitar” debuted as a single from her self-titled first album in 2006. The song peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs. The lyrics depicted a typical teenage heartbreak story about a girl who has fallen for her friend, only to find that he loves someone else. Strumming along with an acoustic guitar, Swift sang with a voice that, while beautiful and full of passion, did not strike as extraordinary and outstanding from the rest of the new line of artists debuting their music on the radio.

With no new music from Swift the following year, I assumed that she was probably just a one-hit wonder, well-known for a song that seemed to match many teenage love conflicts, but not serious enough to carry on with her career and create new music. Then, in 2008, Swift came out with Fearless, her second album. With “Love Story,” the album’s debut single, Swift forcefully knocked out other artists on the U.S. Billboard 200 and placed first.

While Swift was steadily gaining respect among many listeners, I was still skeptical. Again, her songs seemed to be a playlist to a typical girl’s life when it comes to loving and losing. The album was just screaming wishes for happy, fairy-tale endings all over the place with lyrics like “You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess; it’s a love story baby just say yes,” from “Love Story.”

The only thing from the first and second albums that I liked about Swift is her ability to be direct with her songs. With music many artists tend to take a more abstract route, trying to place more than one meaning within their lyrics. In doing so, they sometimes go too far with metaphorical meanings. Swift’s songs, on the other hand, tell stories – no hidden meaning, no thinking outside the box – none of that. All she has are straight-up love stories transformed into songs with just her voice and a guitar.

On October 25, Swift released her third album, Speak Now. Again, I had low expectations due to the happily-ever-after single, “Mine,” especially with the lyrics, “Braced myself for the goodbye because it’s all I’ve ever known. And then you took me by surprise. You said, ‘I’ll never leave you alone.’” However, as someone who listens to music frequently, I know better than to let one song define a whole album.

Upon further listening, it seemed as if Swift has thrown in only a couple of songs with the fairy-tale theme, and has focused on a different theme – vengeance. In the third album, Swift uses her gift for lyrical directness and goes into attack mode.

In the song “Dear John,” she reveals to her listeners the pain from an apparently short-lived relationship with John Mayer, with whom she had collaborated on his song “Half of My Heart.” She attacks Mayer for his mistreatment of her, which likely surprised her listeners as there had been no reports of romance between the two.

Swift also gets even with Joe Jonas. In “Better than Revenge,” Swift slams Camilla Belle, the girl for whom Jonas purportedly left her, with lyrics like “She’s better known for the things she does on the mattress. Soon she’s gonna find stealing other people’s toys on the playground won’t make you any friends. She should keep in mind there is nothing I do better than revenge, ha ha.”

In her latest album, Taylor attacks, slams, and gets revenge for all the hurt she’s suffered with lyrics. Swift uses her voice, her gift for guitar and her direct writing to craft stories that reveal her other side – to show her fans and critics that she is not the soft-spoken, heart-broken girl she once was.

Overall, I believe Taylor Swift is amazing. Musically, she has talent. She’s got a beautiful voice, and mean guitar skills. The fact that she has taken advantage of her lyrical writing and has taken a risk by shying away from the typical type of music she’s generally known for only raises my respect for her. Because of this, I am more than happy to give her credit as one of the best artists of 2010.