Taylor Swift’s bitter return



Taylor Swift is bitter. Her songs don’t leave much room to believe anything else.

With the release of her third effort, “Speak Now,” she has cemented her place as the queen of mad-at-ex-boyfriends anthems. Unfortunately, the increase in bitter songs about mean boys has meant a decrease in the innocent appeal she once had to the country.

One of the angst tracks is “Dear John,” in which Swift directly addresses her supposed relationship with John Mayer. The thing Swift forgets is that Mayer lives for publicity and that her whining only sets him up for a rebuttle, and let’s be real—Mayer is wittier than Swift.

One track highlights what Swift is capable of when she brings light-heartedness to her angst on the album’s highlight, “Mean.” The track is loyal to Swift’s country roots, unlike much of the album, and its infectious refrain is the kind of writing that got her on the map in the first place.

The only positive song about a boy who did her wrong comes on the track “Innocent,” a response to Kanye’s actions at last year’s VMAs. But she had no choice. You can only milk the Kanye thing for so long. The rest of the world is over it.

With her progressive change in lyrical content has come a correlative change in her musical style. Swift now fits nicely under the umbrella of pop rather than country. Sure, she has her down-south moments, but the majority of the tracks on this album could just as easily have been on a Ke$ha record or a Paramore album.

That’s not to say some of the new styles don’t suit Swift’s writing. The track “Better than Revenge” has a rock edge, and despite its laughable lyrical content, the musical writing itself is well done.

Swift isn’t a lost cause. She still has the same knack for songwriting that she has always had. Where she needs a change is on her lyric sheets. By taking her lyrical realm away from her love-life, Swift could craft an unforgettable album.

Fortunately for her, she, like her audience, is young. You can’t teach people to write songs as well as she does, but you can learn about life. When she does that, she’ll be ready to write something great.

In the mean time, God forbid boys stop pissing her off— she’d no longer have a muse.

Matt Murray is a journalism senior. E-mail [email protected] and follow Matt on Twitter @KernelMurray.