Style: Pop with some country; compare to Carrie Underwood, Colbie Collait, Miranda Lambert

Top tracks: "Back to December," "Speak Now," "Mean"

Time and again, Taylor Swift has said, "Everything that happens to me gets put into song." On Speak Now, Swift turns her adolescent quandaries into adult confrontations, maintaining her reputation for naming names in a series of musical confessionals.

The moody wash of "Dear John" is Swift's most direct disclosure ("Don't you think nineteen's too young / To be played by your dark twisted games"), candidly addressing former beau and musician John Mayer. Banjo and fiddle accent "Mean," a shout-out to her many critics a la Dixie Chicks ("I can see you years from now in a bar … grumbling on about how I can't sing"). And though the string-laden strains of "Back to December" ("You gave me roses and I left them there to die") generically trace love lost, Twilight's Taylor Lautner is the obvious subject.

While Swift's lyricism is hardly artful, and her tell-all charge seems contrary to her nice nature, these diary details are unusually relatable for a twenty-year-old woman whose international star is far from down-to-earth. Speak Now further explains why Swift's open book anthems have become the official soundtrack for a generation of girls.

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Speak Now
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4 Stars - Excellent
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Release Date
October 1, 2010
Label
Big Machine
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