Taylor Swift (album)

Nashville has made several attempts in the last few years to launch a teen star, with mostly disappointing results.

Taylor Swift, 16, beats the jinx by being herself—preoccupied with the concerns of a teenage girl, for sure, but demonstrating an honesty, intelligence and idealism with which listeners of any age will be able to connect.

Taylor wrote or co-wrote everything here herself (including the hit “Tim McGraw”), and while the most immediately striking songs are her eviscerations of no-good teenage boys (“Should’ve Said No,” “Picture to Burn”), the more thoughtful material suggests a talent poised to last well past high school.

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Other performers include Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin and Jason Isbell.