May 18, 2024

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Article – Rolling Stone – Taylor Swift’s Vault Tracks ‘Speak Now’ Set the Tone for Her Career

Article – Rolling Stone – Taylor Swift’s Vault Tracks ‘Speak Now’ Set the Tone for Her Career

Taylor Swift learned quickly that being at the top meant landing harder at the bottom. The year after she released her second album fearless It had to be fun: The album helped kick-start her transition from country wonderland to true pop star thanks to the top 10 hits she spawned. She often found herself the youngest or only country star among pop, rap, and rock heavyweights—including at the MTV VMAs where “You Belong With Me” won Best Female Video. She would even take home the award for Debut Album of the Year in February 2010, making her the youngest female artist to win the award until Billie Eilish won it a decade later.

Every win became tainted by a loss: At the VMAs, Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech to say she didn’t deserve it. After the Grammys, critics panned her talent after a below average performance with legend Stevie Nicks during the ceremony. Her writing talent as a teen star was regularly questioned, and many thought she owed more to the adults in the room with her than she ever had. All the while, she was in the midst of the first truly tabloid-filled year of her life as she endured a very public breakup with fellow teen idol Joe Jonas and became the center of a media storm trying to piece together who would break up the heartbreak princess. Choose next.

with talk nowSwift was sending a message. She wrote every song herself, making her first full-length album her only writing credits. Instead of delving deeper into the power pop of “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me,” she leans in to some rock flair while maintaining her country dominance. And with each song, she systematically responded to critics, pundits, and public enemies with withered levels of insults and teenage angst.

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thirteen years later, Speak now (Taylor version) is the third installment of Swift’s grotesque remastered album project, prompted by the sale of her masters after she split from debut label Big Machine Records. Like all re-recorded albums, this one comes with a collection of songs penned by the prolific talent during that era, songs that help expand our idea of ​​who she was and what she had in mind in these times.

the Speak now (Taylor version) The Vault Tracks showcases a very specific side of Swift: a burgeoning songwriter who is growing and beginning to build the foundation for the rest of her career. These unearthed songs are some of the most climactic lyrics Swift could write, the kind of concepts and themes she would haunt for the next 13 years and learn to perfect her approach with each passing project.

“Castles Crumbling,” a softly charming ballad featuring longtime friend Hayley Williams, has Swift taking stock of the damage done during her first year of true stardom. The images of a crumbling empire are almost a draft of what she was singing about reputation Seven years later, after an even more intimidating time in her career. “My castle collapsed overnight,” she sings on “Call it What You Want” as an older, wiser, more world-weary version.

With the iconic song “When Emma Falls in Love,” she writes a character study of someone in her life. Supposedly about a close friend named Emma, ​​Swift takes on the concept fearless The single “Fifteen” is one step further, writing a wonderful tribute to the romantic highs and lows that Emma encountered in the search for love. Transcending her heartaches and fantasies, Swift is a thoughtful observer of Emma’s emotional journey, seeing beyond the exterior of “Little Miss Sunshine.” She would do the same on her “Starlight” album later, examining the love story of Ethel and Bobby Kennedy. by the time of its release folklore And forevershe is adept at this kind of incisive narrative, of both real people and those she created.

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In “Timeless,” the most pristine state of the six vaults that track this tour, you stumble upon an antique shop and create a whole world out of old photos of the strangers you find. It is one of her first and best “feather” songs, once describing her take on vintage ballads and writing styles inspired by some of her favorite writers, Charlotte Brontë and Emily Dickinson.

As more and more new old songs emerge from the cellar, Swift makes it clear that the writer repeatedly respected and misunderstood was also well on her way to becoming the writer who would eventually be celebrated as one of the best of her generation more than a decade later. And like any great writer, she was building her lore right in front of us, whether she realized it or not.