Before she became a worldwide icon and massive superstar, a young singer-songwriter released an album in 2011. Fearless debuts a young Taylor Swift, who breathes life to a series of honest, handwritten songs. Each one weaves a story of its own, and begins the stunning evolution of a young girl who learns and lives in love. The album hits head-on with the titular track, “Fearless.” Shining and twinkling, it begins the album with a whirlwind of passion. The magic doesn’t stop there.
Fearless is like a story, travelling through heartbreak, helplessness, to burning hope. The first song, “Fearless,” begins the album with open hands and an open heart. Her story feels like our own, parallel to our own struggles and dreams, and we can’t help falling in love. “Tell Me Why” is wild, swinging into full rock, while “The Way I Loved You” rains chords of electric guitar; her voice is brilliant, narrating a relationship that loses passion. A longtime favorite, “You Belong With Me,” takes us back to a small town, where it’s us against the odds, the girl who has it all and the boy of our dreams. And as the album progresses, her loss of innocence is expressed in bursts of color and imagery: “Forever & Always” shoots like a meteor down to earth, where we feel something perfect crumbling to pieces. Her wonder, frustration, anger, and regret are crowned with a roaring guitar solo.
Early in her successful career, Swift shows an amazing sensitivity and warmth. Her voice is like a guiding light, leading every song. Personal, homemade, “Hey Stephen” reveals the magic in the every day, while “The Best Day” is twinkling, friendly, and warm. A story of youth through fresh eyes, every word holds its weight. “You’re Not Sorry” is at the other end of the spectrum, rich with grief. It’s genuine, and real, as we listen to her lonely voice let go through her music.
Everything on the album feels new, too, and original. Swift is a master storyteller in every sense of the word. New life is give to the classic Romeo and Juliet in “Love Story,” as Swift breathes beauty into forbidden love, and irresistibly links it to modern day. “White Horse” is also fairytale-esque, only our dreams have been turned to dust. Her heartbreak is deeply personal, which only makes it more gripping--so is her joy. “Fifteen,” one of the fondest memories of any veteran fan of Swift, is like a collage of sincere, handwritten diary notes, with all the wonder and amazement of first loves and the ability to step back. “Breathe” is about letting go, unbelievingly, unwillingly, and “Change,” the final track on the album, is filled with a raging guitar, and a voice that triumphs in the face of all. It feels special to be invited into her songs, where the backdrop surrounds us like a movie. There’s no question Swift has an old soul. And in the end, that’s what makes her fearless.