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Taylor Swift - Self-Titled Debut  
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

Taylor Swift. She’s new. She’s exciting. And you may not have to write her name down to remember it. For if the breaks fall the right way, and they have so far, this talented singer and songwriter from Tennessee could become a known name before much longer. Now at a wholesome 16, the karaoke veteran, for that’s where she got her start at 10, is making some splashes in Nashville’s musical pond.

Her ambitious history shows music has always been a childhood passion. She tinkered with tune writing at 12, the same year she taught herself the guitar, the same year she fronted a crowd of 30,000, opening for Charlie Daniels. All valued training, as she recently opened for the chartbusting Rascal Flatts.

It’s not a bad effort. And when you line that up with her Billboard current charting top 20 breakthrough "Tim McGraw", the future is looking bright for the teenager who maintains fan friendships through her Myspace web site, and who defiantly leaves an album liner message telling, "To all the boys who thought they were cool to break my heart, guess what? Here are 11 songs written about you."

"Tim McGraw" opens the album. And, yes, it’s a bad boy hurtin’ and leavin’ affair. The tune is one of seven written with "songwriting soul mate", Liz Rose. "McGraw", rather than being a mournful dirge, is a lyrical infection that once it bites stays with you. It’s a hooky tune lamenting a romance gone and over, but remembers the good times with a summer boyfriend who liked McGraw’s tunes. Carried well with Swift’s persuasive vocals, the tune is a creditable written piece first up, and a tune that if it scores enough radio should chart climb.

"Picture To Burn" and "Teardrops On My Guitar" are vivid pieces that return to heartache. But rather than obsess, the teenage Swift brings gritty strength –young she may be, but her lyrical heroes come determined and resilient. As she tells us in the revealing "A Place In The World", she’s just a girl trying to find her place.

And there’s no doubting that. With the aid of producer and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Chapman –he plays something on just about every cut –the duo mine thoughtful teenage angst, while wrapping Swift’s energies into tunes that offer broad and lasting appeal. The more I listen, the more I read of this young woman, the more I’m convinced – her time in the neon is coming.

Swift hasn’t cornered herself into delivering snappy pop-country. She’s liberated, she’s clear, and she voices her personal truth honestly and tunefully. "Cold As You" is proof. The track cuts with an emotional sting, as does the adult honesty of fractured love and the consequences of cheating on "Should’ve Said No". Good songs and a great voice: it all makes for a knockout debut.

As an album bonus, there’s the "McGraw" video and Swift’s debut at the Grand Ole Opry. The Opry video tracks Swift on the hallowed turf. It shows the jitters, the awe, and the eventual triumph. It’s a great watch.

The album is out now on Big Machine Records.


Click on the CD cover to order yours!
1. Tim McGraw 
2. Picture To Burn 
3. Teardrops On My Guitar
4. A Place In This World 
5. Cold As You 
6. The Outside 
7. Tied Together With A Smile 
8. Stay Beautiful
9. Should've Said No 
10. Mary's Song (Oh My My My) 
11. Our Song 

Related Links:
Official Website   
MySpace  

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Real People Reviews

My name is Erika. I love Taylor Swift's CD, it is a great CD. She is going to become a great star an with a great debut at # 3 on billboard that proved she has what it takes. We, her fans, love her a lot. I give the CD a 10 out of 10, it's the best CD of the year. 
~ Erika

 

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