FEARLESS (Big Machine-Universal)


Taylor Swift is sure to lance putrid prejudice boils of rockers, rappers and country purists long before she tours here in March.

Swift soared to international fame at 17 - shades of Janis Ian - with massive Myspace generated fan base, igniting downloads of her music and video clips.

Sure, it's not the pure country that made Texan Leann Rimes an overnight sensation at 13 - (the age at which Ian broke in the sixties with Society's Child) - with Blue.

But the Pennsylvania princess, who signed a major publishing deal at 14, wrote five hits including Teardrops On My Guitar and Tim McGraw on her debut disc.

There are another eight solo compositions and five co-writes on her second album.

Swift, who turned 19 in December, had her four million sales' success on her maiden album on an indie label.

A massive promotional campaign ensured Fearless soared past two million in it first months on the market and landed both her albums in all genre Top 10 sales of 2008.

And, like the best writers, she reached deep into heart and soul for song sources.


Swift penned Forever & Always and The Way I Loved You about skating on jagged edges of her broken heart after being dumped in a 27 second phone call by Joe Jonas of The Jonas Brothers.

The Jonas Brothers are apparently not Footscray fruiterers.

Co-writer on the latter cheating song was Big & Rich singer John Rich whose biggest recent hit was the jaw of bassist Jerry Montano, late of Danzig.

Swift's ruptured romances are not as deep rooted as serial altar sprinters Steve Earle, George Jones and Willie Nelson singing of spurned spouses.

But this is puppy love with a bark and meaty bites of bucolic bliss and nostalgia.

Check mid-tempo Fifteen about Swift's red haired best friend Abigail's decision to surrender to a boy with car and carnal desires.

"First date and he's got a car/ and you're feeling like flying" is tuned to teen love not like Willie - The Redheaded Stranger writing of being sewn up in blankets and beaten by his first ex-wife.


Swift's hit Love Story has Romeo as male lead - in Hey Stephen she competes with a pubescent pussy posse tossing rocks at her beau's window.

Taylor offers more than rivals - "all those other girls, well, they're beautiful but would they write a song for you."

Stephen Barker Liles is the lead singer for a local Nashville band Love And Theft.

The phrase Love And Theft is spelled out in the liner notes.

Supposedly they never dated, though she thought he was cute and they have since become friends.

Swift is even featured on their MySpace page.

Yes, I can empathise with that - and White Horse where a burnt belle leaves her lover, not just her steed, in a small town.

Hey Stephen was maybe more subtle than previous disc hit Tim McGraw where Swift used the star's music as a metaphoric milestone for a previous romance with a boy in a truck.

Swift is not afraid to mix autobiographical memories into narratives with hefty hooks to snare listeners way beyond her immediate peer group.

She praises mama in The Best Day, ignores phones of a banished beau in You're Not Sorry, defiance and heartbreak in Breathe and Tell Me Why and future in Change.

This is vaguely reminiscent of adolescent poetry we penned in the sixties.

But the major difference is Swift has co-producer Nathan Chapman, Nashville session supremos with mandolin and dobro and a vibrant voice as her vehicle.

Oh, I forgot the hair - long and lush with no visible bald spots.

top / back to diary