Earlier this week the bonus disc of Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" was released on US iTunes. Considering the album has already sold almost 4 million copies in that country (more that Rihanna's "Loud" and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" put together), it should have been a minor footnote on another impressive year for the country diva. Instead, three tracks rocketed into the top 10 - with the rather lovely "If This Was A Movie" knocking Ri-cycle's "We Found Love" from the top spot. The achievement inspired me to revisit "Speak Now" after initially dismissing it as "a breathtakingly self-indulgent, monotonous vanity project plagued by trite Hallmark card lyrics". It even made my worst albums of 2010 list, which in retrospect was probably fuelled by a series of uninspiring award show performances that left me seriously questioning the 21-year-old's vocal ability.
Well, I take it back. While I standby some of my comments - her woe-is-me attitude grates and the Disney princess lyrics wear thin in places - "Speak Now" is not a terrible album. In fact, I rather like it. "Mine" still shines, "The Story Of Us" is the closest Taylor has come to Ashlee Simpson-esque pop/rock and I flat out love "Superman". However, the highlight is definitely "Mean". Released as a single way back in March, this quirky little gem has finally clicked with me. I'm not sure if it's the relatable theme, beautifully simple production or deceptively catchy chorus but I can't get enough. Tay has an undeniable ability to tap into emotions. I just wish she would expand her lyrical horizons. Maybe that will come with age. In the meantime, I'm playing this on repeat. Check out the cute video below if you missed it the first time around. All of sudden, I can't wait for Ms Swift's Australian tour!