Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Is Taylor Swift The New Shania?

I never thought Taylor Swift would feature on this blog. It's not that I hated her, she just wasn't on my radar at all. I remember hearing her debut album a couple of years ago and mentally filed it away in my "crap country" drawer next to Kellie Pickler and Carrie Underwood. I didn't even bother listening to "Fearless" when it was released and basically forgot all about Taylor until "Love Story" swept all that came before it. That modern day interpretation of Romeo & Juliet was pretty hard to resist. Admittedly, the lyrics are cheesy enough to raise your cholesterol but you'd have to be made of stone not to be sucked in by all that teenage longing and heartache. More impressive was the song's ability to seamlessly blend country and pop elements in a way that hasn't been seen since the glory days of Shania Twain. As much as I enjoyed "Love Story", I thought it might have been a fluke until I heard "You Belong With Me". Has Shania finally been replaced as the Queen of country-pop?

Don't get me wrong, I love vintage Shania and I'm sure the old girl still has a few new tricks up her sleeve but it would be a miracle if she could come back from the career destroying "Up" debacle. That world music bonus disc is quite possibly the most heinous recording in the history of music! Thankfully, Taylor's here to fill the country-pop void left by the Canadian superstar. And she's doing it with ease if "You Belong With Me" is any indication. I love everything about this song. It's cute, catchy and totally authentic. I'm so sick of teenagers singing material that was clearly intended for 30 year olds. You can tell "You Belong With Me" was written by a teenage girl ("She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts, she's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers") and that's a large part of what makes it so endearing. I also love the winning country-lite production. If you took away that jangly banjo line (not that you'd want to), I doubt this would even classify as country music.

I can't write about "You Belong With Me" without mentioning the amazing video clip (below). It's basically an 80s teen movie set to music. John Hughes would be proud of the storyline, which pits the school nerd against the popular girl (both played with surprising skill by Taylor) as they fight over the affections of the golden haired jock. Sure, it's a bit clichéd but the video is beautifully done and ranks as one of my favourite of the year. I've even been known to get a bit teary over the finale - this fabulous shit rivals "Pretty In Pink" in the downtrodden girl comes good stakes! "You Belong With Me" is already a top 5 hit in Australia. Download it now from iTunes or pick up the physical single from Chaos.

14 comments:

BruDé said...

Sorry Mike, but I'll have to disagree on this one... The only positive thing about Taylor Swift is that she gets to have sex with Joe Jonas.

And why on Earth the 'word verification' is "spermi" ???

Paul said...

Oh. Up is one of my fave albums ever. Not the world music version though!

tommie said...

Pure shite. This is the single most offensive piece of rubbish you've ever posted.

Aaron said...

Hehe - I actually like Taylor, and Carrie Underwood.

I wouldn't quite say she's replaced Shania yet, not even close, but definitely she's a kinda more country Shania (LeAnn Rimes maybe) for the new generation!

Well, I loved bits and pieces of Up, and even some of the world music bits, but it definitely didn't match Come On Over - AMAZING!

The signs in the video are adorable!

Anonymous said...

don't like this song. there's a stalkerish vibe to it and it reminds me of that annoying "girlfriend" song avril lavigne did some years ago

Ken said...

I just like the beat but the message of the song sucks. I like Taylor btw. No offense to haters. :D

Copito said...

Wow! This is the first song by Taylor I've heard and I love it. But I have the feeling that maybe the rest of the album is rubbish.

tidusin said...

I always liked Shania, but only her singles. I was amazed by the fact that she released the same album with different productions! I think it's a great idea, but she made it wrong.

Mike said...

LOL! At least one person likes the song. Thanks, Copito!

I love the album but unless you like country with a bit of pop mixed in you'd probably hate it.

"Up" was awful. And I say that as someone who loves Shania. It was too ambitious, trying to appeal to everyone and ended up turning off even her most dedicated fans. I only like two songs from the 3 discs!

The world music version - well, I can't decide if it's so bad it's amazing or just downright terrible. I think probably the latter.

Yuяi said...

Mike, excellent point. "Love Story" changed everything and got her noticed by pretty much everyone in the known pop-world. Taylor is young, cute, and as you said, authentic. Girl's got talent too.

Anonymous said...

You mean "Up" wasn't satire?

Anyway, much as I want to like Taylor her music is far too country. Why ruin a perfectly good song with twanging guitars? I don't get it. When she starts doing Shania-style pop versions (I don't mean lazy FM dance versions) I might pay attention.

Scott

Guy said...

I love Taylor. I get the feeling that she's highly intelligent, and has a decent dose of irony (except maybe for all that wedding talk in "Love Story"). For more tears check out the amazing "Breathe"...

Guy said...

I love Taylor. I get the feeling that she's highly intelligent, and has a decent dose of irony (except maybe for all that wedding talk in "Love Story"). For more tears check out the amazing "Breathe"...

bubu said...

I can't believe Shania has still any fan. Anyway, the most incredible for me is that Taylor cracked Spanish charts with her album at #28. Which is incredible for this country-pop stuff.