Taylor Swift


You have to admire the guts it takes to name names publicly, praising friends and condemning hurtful ex-lovers. What’s more impressive is that Taylor Swift’s revelations are not crass, unrefined, or filled with angst. In this sophomore CD from the ’08 high school grad, the songs have a maturity to them even when dealing with reckless teenage love. On one hand, it’s ironic to hear Swift, who is 18, impart wisdom to freshman girls in the song “Fifteen,” but you can’t deny the sound advice. In placing the importance of dreams and identity over boys and popularity, she keeps the CD from becoming a byproduct of the Disney Channel. As in her first album, the songwriter balances schoolgirl crushes (“Hey Stephen,” “You Belong to Me”) with defiant reminders that love will be on her terms (“You’re Not Sorry”). Despite references to her young age, Swift sticks with capturing the feel of a first kiss and not the kiss itself, making the songs approachable by any age group. For better or worse, who hasn’t felt high school love well after graduation?