54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
If I had to describe Taylor Swift's self-titled debut, I would say it sounds a lot like a cross between Lila McCann and Leann Rimes. She has a very powerful voice, and exhibits a lot of range in her songs. Most of the songs on the album are very lighthearted and deal with typical high school issues - boys, falling in love, bad relationships, etc. Even though the themes are simple, the songs (all of which Taylor wrote or co-wrote) have some impressive lyrics and musical arrangement, which really gives her the ability to show off her voice. I bought the CD for "Tim McGraw," but as others have said, it is a mediocre song when compared to the rest of the album and I found myself moving it to the back of my play list to make room for new favorites such as "Picture to Burn," "May's Song," and "Our Song." Despite what you might expect from the song titles, most of the album is fast-paced and filled with catchy tunes, but still makes room for two or three "slower" songs like "Tim McGraw" and "Teardrops on my Guitar."
The album also comes with some disappointing "bonus media" in the form of the "Tim McGraw" video and Taylor's first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry singing the same song. The clips are quicktime and small resolution, and the Opry video doesn't even show her actual performance, but a few minutes of her arriving to the theater and getting ready. For anyone who's a fan of younger country female talent, I'd definitely recommend picking up "Taylor Swift."
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2009
I haven't bought an album in years. Just nothing on the radio seemed worth buying to hear over and over again. Then I hear "Teardrops On My Guitar", and I'm hooked. I investigate a little more online, and find myself liking all of her songs, not just the singles on the radio. She writes and plays all of her songs! This artist has substance. I'm totally captivated by the music videos that are feature film-quality displaying her expressive acting skills. I've never heard such purity and honesty conveyed by a human voice. Finally, an artist who really deserves my money and support! Such intelligent lyrics, and clever turns of phrase, it's poetry of the highest order. And then putting music to the lyrics with great hooks and guitar solos, that's just musical talent. The lesser known songs are just as good, if not even better than the singles! "A Place In This World", "Cold As You", "The Outside" (written when she was 12yo!), "Tied Together With A Smile", "Invisible". "Tim McGraw","Stay Beautiful" and "Mary's Song" just bring tears of joy to my eyes, they're such expressions of pure unselfish, love that they resemble benedictions in the form of songs. Even when she's angry: "Picture To Burn" and "Should've Said No", she's the voice of justice decrying bad behavior, selfishness, the lack of pure love; she's a force of nature you don't want to mess with. As other reviewers have noted, if these songs haven't made you fall in love with Taylor, just read the liner notes on the album. They'll bring more tears to your eyes. Taylor has a tendency to open up hearts that way. <3
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2009
When I came back here and read my review, I realized I hadn't actually reviewed the music itself, simply explained why Taylor is an excellent artist and how she served as my bridge from ignorance into appreciation of the music industry. So I believe it would be fair to do a legitimate review of her songs (to which I am listening now).
Overall, Taylor Swift the album is stripped-down, acoustic and features almost entirely quiet vocals--a complete change from her recent pop-leaning smashes. I won't say either one is better, but I will admit that after a day of listening to sex-driven Korean pop, rowdy top 40 hits and a lot of Taylor's two more recent albums, going back to this quiet Taylor is somewhat refreshing.
TIM MCGRAW 5/5
This is a very sweet, laidback, quiet song that reminisces about a past summer relationship that has been presumably lost. This debut song opens with the gentle strumming of strings, before Taylor joins in vocally. The entire song is quiet and loaded with memory; it is meant to inspire thinking and recollection, not be throbbing, bass-laden junk called "music" that accompanies wild parties. A true beauty.
If you are into collecting Taylor's rare, unreleased songs as I used to be (I had to stop because my heavy course load prevented me from investing in more time to find others), you have probably listened to her two demos of Tim McGraw - the piano demo, titled When You Think Tim McGraw, and the simple acoustic demo. They make for very interesting comparisons and really show how the lyrics and instrumentation evolved to create her demo single. To collectors, I recommend listening to all three in chronological order so as to fully understand what went into making this song. :)
PICTURE TO BURN 4/5
This song is Better Than Revenge's granddaddy - the same emotions, anger and revenge, are featured here, but Taylor gives her age away by carefully avoiding saying rash things as she does much more easily in Better Than Revenge (i.e. "She's better known for the things that she does on the mattress"). The piece features louder guitars, a much louder Taylor and plenty of good riddance.
As is the case with Tim McGraw, there are several demos of Picture to Burn in the collections of the most dedicated Taylor fans. I only have one, which does make for a pretty cool comparison. Listen to the demos and then the song if you would like to hear the evolution of Picture to Burn.
TEARDROPS ON MY GUITAR 5/5
So countrified that it can be hard to realize this is the same girl who released Enchanted and Haunted, but that is absolutely not a bad thing. Although Taylor was only a freshman when she conceived this song, the theme of unrequited adoration (I'm a bit hesitant to call a freshman crush "love") is undoubtedly universal. Just listening to it is enough to feel the sadness Taylor experienced when Drew fell for another girl when they were such friends. A must-listen.
A PLACE IN THIS WORLD 5/5
The first piece on the album about something other than love. In this song's case, it is about a young girl (aka Taylor) trying to find her niche in a busy world that seems to have little time for her. The mood in this song ranges from realistic ("I'm alone, on my own and that's all I know") to optimistic ("Got the radio on, my old blue jeans/ Can you tell me what more do I need?"), a range much appreciated in an industry saturated with monotonal pop hits. This is a song that most undetermined college majors can relate to.
COLD AS YOU 5/5
Taylor sings about a former relationship with an emotionally empty boy who turned his knowledge and understanding of her into a tool that he used to gain the upper hand. "When you take, you take the very best of me." Taylor vocally stretches herself a bit in the chorus, but throughout the song, vocal strain is at a minimum, which makes for a very pleasant listen.
THE OUTSIDE 5/5
Now isn't this a song so many people can understand? Though you wouldn't guess it by the success she enjoys now, Taylor evidently wasn't well-accepted when she was younger, and pours her feelings as an outcast into this song. If you cannot relate, either you are a psychopath or you WERE one of those nasty kids who were the reason others felt excluded. Shame on you!
Despite the lyrical sadness, the overall instrumentation is upbeat, with jovial guitars and Taylor's own voice singing in what would seem to be a cheery manner to one who does not understand English.
TIED TOGETHER WITH A SMILE 4/5
Although this song addresses bulimia, a very important topic, it loses a point for the repeated lines and instruments over and over and over again nearing the end. The rest of the song, however, has an appropriately somber/sympathetic feel, which seems to be what Taylor was aiming for.
STAY BEAUTIFUL 4/5
As in the case of Tied Together with a Smile, Stay Beautiful loses a point for repetition towards the end. However, the rest of the song is filled with notions of sunshine and brightness brought about by the yearning for an evidently attractive boy named Corey. Taylor's voice and instruments are bouncy, playful and very purely happy - and I can see why - even though she is not in a relationship with this boy. If Teardrops in My Guitar features all the tears of unrequited feelings, Stay Beautiful focuses on all the happiness.
SHOULD'VE SAID NO 5/5
Like Picture to Burn, but much more power-fueled, and in my opinion, contains a lot more substance. She was cheated on, and turned that fury into a song that hit the charts and became one of her singles from this album. This song features energetic guitars and some autotune, but a mostly natural voice. Love it!
MARY'S SONG (OH MY MY MY) 5/5
About Taylor's neighbors' relationship, which is super sweet! It has a very country yet modern feel, and makes you incapable of doing anything but hoping you might someday reach the level of happiness that these neighbors did with each other. Perfectly sweet, perfectly beautiful - if I believed in giving more than 100% ratings to songs, I would, to this one.
OUR SONG 5/5
Happiest song on the record, and the best way to end. It's about Taylor's happiness and satisfaction in a relationship, except for one pesky thing: she and her boyfriend don't have a song that defines them, so he assures her that their song only needs to consist of the sounds that already fill their relationship.
My original review:
This is truly a wonderful work of art for Taylor Swift - and the fact that it is her debut album makes it even more noteworthy. Before this self-titled CD had I'm Only Me When I'm With You, Invisible, Perfectly Good Heart and the pop version of Teardrops on My Guitar added to it, it had eleven tracks and slightly different lyrics in Picture to Burn and Teardrops on My Guitar. From that original CD, five of the eleven songs were released as singles. That shows this artist has talent!
When I first heard of Taylor Swift - about a year ago - I was a 13-year-old, a fresh teenager, who barely knew of any music. If you'd asked me who T.I. or Madonna was, I would not have known. However, when I picked up an October 2008 Fashion Edition of Us Weekly, I saw Taylor Swift featured along with Hillary Duff and Lauren Conrad. I'll be honest with you: I thought Taylor Swift was your typical celebrity - blonde, spoiled and with way too much money to know what to do with. I didn't give her another thought until, in a later Us Weekly, I saw her in an interview; she talked about how she wrote and recorded Forever & Always shortly before the album's release, and how she's always been honest with her fans. My opinion of her didn't change, but seeing her twice in the same type of magazine didn't let me forget her quickly. Later on youtube I searched her, found her channel and watched her video for Love Story. It was the first Taylor Swift song - first country song, for that matter - I've ever listened to. And I was intrigued and amazed by the pure beauty of the video, as well as her incredible talent. Needless to say, I became a huge Taylor Swift fan. The story doesn't end there; finding Taylor Swift made me explore the musical world more, and since then my iTunes library has grown to quite an impressive size. Thank you, Taylor Swift.
To Swift's critics, this album is pure country with the exception of the pop version of Teardrops on My Guitar. My favorite songs are all the singles released from it (Tim McGraw, Picture to Burn, Teardrops on My Guitar, Should've Said No, Our Song) - but I also adore all the others. From the later-added tracks I particularly adore I'm Only Me When I'm With You.
Unless you're into the completely opposite, like screamo and heavy metal, I definitely recommend buying this album. I am so glad I did.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2012
Taylor Swift's albums 'Fearless' and 'Speak Now' are fantastic. This album, however, is really in a league of it's own.
A hidden gem, this - being her first album - is more raw and true, like a young child (oh, god, this is going to be a bad analogy) with creative impulses before he enters structured education, dictating where he ought to set himself. While the subsequent albums are still representative of Swift's country roots, they admittedly begin to tend towards mainstream taste, albeit ever so slightly.
'Taylor Swift' is fun largely because of how unrefined it is. One moment, you'll be listening to a song that sounds like a studio-produced track, both in empirical quality and lyrical content, and a few minutes later, you're listening to a song seemingly scribbled down in a fervor only a young girl whose spirits were just crushed could convey. and, impressively, Taylor Swift manages to express more than you would've thought possible through a single-sense medium.
Excuse the incoherency of this, as I'm presently listening to 'A Perfectly Good Heart' and sort of studying. The point still stands - if you like Taylor Swift, this album will provide that foundation, that missing definition of who she is as an artist. It's awesome.