America loves a bit of country and right now there’s nobody bigger in the Stetson stratosphere than Taylor Swift. Only 19, the all-American girl has sold a squillion albums in her native land filled with tales of girls meeting boys, kissing them in the rain and falling in love. She writes her own material, sings it with silky vocals and has enough songs on her new album that could easily be played over a montage of angst in the The O.C. – what more do you need?
So what does she sound like? Think a less-screechy Carrie Underwood, a country Avril Lavigne or LeAnn Rimes. Fearless is Swift’s second outing and has already smashed records of chart-topping females in the US – and we can see why. This is an assured and sparklingly produced sophomore effort, combining the key prerequisites of country emotion, fiddles galore and pop sensibility – if you caught her first single Love Story you’ll know what I mean. Also rockin’ the country-pop ticket are You Belong With Me, Change and Tell Me Why, while other stand-out numbers include last-dance-at-the-disco-tracks Breathe and White Horse. To be honest though, this album is swaggering when broken down or taken as one shiny whole: each track bleeds smoothly into the next and Taylor has the kind of homespun lilt that makes you think you’d love to have her round for tea. Saddle up and get the kettle on, mother.
Pop darling Colbie Caillat also had a hand in Breathe, not that Swift needs a whole lot of endorsing at this point. Fearless is just that – assured, wise beyond its years and a second album that puts two defiant fingers up to the supposed difficult sophomore syndrome. Expect much more to come from this cowgirl.
Original review posted in March 2009