5. Speak Now (2010)
While Speak Now still revolves around themes of love and heartbreak, the context is more personal. This is a country record at heart, but it introduces some soft rock and bluegrass elements. Of the latter, ‘Mean’ with its jangly banjo, simple structure and messaging about bullying remains one of my favourite ever tracks. In the guitar and drum centred power ballad ‘Back to December’, the six minute long love letter that is ‘Dear John’ and the utterly captivating slow build of ‘Enchanted’ we are given three of the strongest love songs in the Swift canon.
‘The Story of Us’ and ‘Better Than Revenge’ see Swift stepping into Avril Lavigne punk-pop territory to great effect. The fillers can be forgiven when we have the gorgeous acoustic guitar homage to childhood ‘Never Grow up’, and pop rocker ‘Sparks Fly’ with typical Swift imagery.
The way you move is like a full on rainstorm / And I’m a house of cards”‘Sparks Fly’
Lyrically, the finest moments are on the track ‘Speak Now’ where Swift sings about interrupting a wedding. With lines like “her snotty little family all dressed in pastel” and “Wearing a gown shaped like a pastry” this is Swift at her most playful.