Speak Now

Music

Speak Now

Taylor Swift

Universal

Rs 395, rating: *

Taylor Swift's biggest talent is her ability to see the world as her romantic movie. Her love affairs and heartbreaks are fodder for her songs. Flip through the liner notes of her new album, Speak Now, and you'll see her wearing pastel shades and gazing wistfully into the distance.

Every song on Speak Now is about love — except for Mean, but we'll get to that in a minute. Mine is about a girl whose guard is broken down by true love. Apart from a brilliant, throwaway line – "You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter" – there isn't much to save the song from lyrical clichés such as "We're taking on the world together" and "Do you remember we were sitting there by the water/you put your arms around me for the first time". Ditto for Enchanted, about love at first sight; Dear John, about a heartbreaker; Back to December, about regretting a lost love. Musically too, Swift struggles to break free from pop sounds, and her vocal experimentation is nil. In other words, boring.

The album has made waves because, as is usual with Swift, it is full of autobiographical material. Dear John is allegedly about her short dalliance with John Mayer, Back to December is an apology to Taylor Lautner, and Innocent is a take on the Kanye West episode. One song that manages to stand apart is Mean, ostensibly about bullies, but we suspect it's Swift's attack on critics who continue to say she can't hold a tune. With its Nashville tone, it's the only song where supposedly country singer Taylor Swift actually comes across as something more than a bona fide pop artiste.

Pooja Pillai; pooja.pillai@expressindia.com

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