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Fearless by Taylor Swift

You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess, Taylor Swift sings on “Love Story,” the ebullient first hit from her sophomore album, Fearless. Minutes later, on “White Horse,” she’s not so sure: I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale / I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet.

Everyday life can feel like high drama when you’re a teenager, and losing that view of reality—for better or worse—is a part of becoming an adult. Taylor’s self-titled 2006 debut was a triple-platinum smash in part because it spoke to young fans honestly and respectfully about the way they saw their own lives; Fearless, whose creator turns 19 this month, documents the next step toward maturity just as thoughtfully.

None of that would matter, of course, if those sentiments weren’t delivered via such expertly crafted slices of pop-country bliss—crisp, direct, immediately likable and absolutely bursting with hummable hooks.

She may or may not be a princess, but Fearless offers Taylor’s millions of loyal subjects plenty of reasons to celebrate.

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