Taylor Swift has just released her third, and angriest, album, Speak Now. It's an alternately aggressive and poppy turn for the country girl, who is quickly shedding any previous genre trappings and very much becoming one of the pop industry's biggest stars. She combines female conviction with her own burdgeoning songwriting skills.
We reviewed the first night of her two-night stand at Toyota Center back in May and developed a whole new appreciation for the young woman, even comparing her to Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Reba McEntire, while hearing swatches of Carole King.
Sure, she's a pop singer and pretty as hell, and she can level you with those cat-like eyes, but the girl is more than a crossover pinup. As we said back in May, "Swift teaches you life skills, and the rest are cautionary tales." Her songwriting craft can only get better, if she at least stays away from cottoning to industry wags who need singles.
Speak Now is an angry album, a distant cousin of Liz Phair's Exile In Guyville, most of the PJ Harvey catalog, the Dixie Chicks oeuvre and maybe even King's own Tapestry. The album's kiss-offs aren't as jagged or vulgar as Phair's, but they pack a sweetly-scented punch. Whereas her previous album Fearless was aloof, Speak Now sends out daggers in all directions.
Swift goes all-out on this album, calling out old (supposed) flames and the ones that got away, namely John Mayer and Taylor Lautner from the Twilight movies. Lyrically she's on the warpath. We picked out some examples of the best and grittiest lines, well at least by her standards, of her ire on the new album.
10. "You gave me roses and I left them there to die."
9. "She's better known for the things that she does on the mattress."
8 & 7. "Maybe it's you and your sick need to give love then take it away and you'll add my name to your long list of traitors who don't understand."
"I lived in your chess game, but you changed the rules every day."
6. "You and I walk a fragile line, I have known it all this time/ Never ever thought I'd see it break."
5. "It's okay, life is a tough crowd. 32, and still growin' up now."
4. "Someday I'll be living in a big old city/ And all you're ever gonna be is mean/ Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me/ And all you're ever gonna be is mean."
3. "It seems I was uninvited/ By your lovely bride-to-be/ She floats down the aisle/ Like a pageant queen/ But I know you wish it was me/ You wish it was me, don't you?"
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2. "I used to know my place was the spot next to you/ Now I'm searching the room for an empty seat/ Cause lately I don't even know what page you're on."
1. "I see it all now that you're gone/ Don't you think I was too young to be messed with? The girl in the dress/ Cried the whole way home/ I should've known."