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Speak Now signals Taylor’s coming of age, capturing her as she matures from teen queen to adult songwriter, and the lyrical content here reflects the unevenness that comes with transition.
Nearly the entire album deals with the hopefulness of new love and the pain of losing it.
“Dear John” may stir up dormant rumors of a fling with pop star John Mayer, as she sings, Nineteen is too young to be played by your dark and twisted games. To be fair, she muses that perhaps she brings the heartache on herself, saying, Maybe it’s me, and my blind optimism is to blame.
Title cut “Speak Now” is permeated with keen, sarcastic wit as Taylor’s character crashes a wedding, where she starkly observes such un-storybook-like details as the organ . . . that sounds like a death march and a bride-to-be yelling at a bridesmaid.
While Taylor turns her wrath on a woman who steals her man on “Better Than Revenge,” she turns that critical eye on herself in “Back to December,” a thorough apology to a former lover she regrets having left behind.
Other tunes, such as “Mean” and “Sparks Fly,” suffer from generic and sometimes underdeveloped lyrics.
Taylor, a writer at heart, threads images of stories and chapters throughout this collection as she unveils her life over the past two years, one page at a time.