Andy Ellis | A&E Editor | 12-08-2012
Honesty is one of the defining characteristics of country music. The thing is that for some people, like country superstar Taylor Swift, that may mean having to venture out of one’s comfort zone to stay true to how one really felt during a certain time. According to her cover story with Billboard Magazine, she said that she made it a priority to stay to true to the emotion she was going through while writing each song. She also said that, being 22, she was all over the place, so her record was going to be all over the place. By doing this, she not only made her most eclectic record, but also her most honest one.
It all starts with “State of Grace” which has a very U2 vibe to it, even to the point where it’s not hard to envision Bono singing Taylor’s part. Even though the song has the country-pop mix that Taylor has become known for, even the main guitar part reminds one of the Edge’s guitar sound.
The title track is one of the more country-centered songs on the album, even with the pop-influenced vocal effect when Taylor sings the word “red” in the background during the chorus.
“I Knew You Were Trouble.” is one of the more pop heavy songs, due to what seems to be a dance or dubstep oriented beat during the chorus.
“I Almost Do” is one of the simplest songs on the album, almost going back to the sound of her self-titled debut with just her voice, her guitar, and a couple backup musicians.
The second collaboration of the album, the first being with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody, is with rising British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, and, like the song she did with Gary, her voice mixed very well with Sheeran on “Everything Has Changed,” a more acoustic based song.
The last song on the regular version has Taylor going back to her country ways with “Begin Again.”
Now there are of course other songs on this album that weren’t mentioned, but the point was to look at the sound of the album. She doesn’t completely leave the country arena because it will be forever part of her sound, but she is adventurous with this effort.
The deluxe version at Target offers three additional songs with full production, two demos that show how certain songs began to take shape, and the acoustic version of “State Of Grace” that proves how powerful she can be with just her voice, guitar, and a simple drum beat.
So in choosing to be honest, she not only crossed into multiple genres but also revealed just how complex of a person she is.