Taylor Swift, "The Best Day"

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May 19, 2009

tswiftOh, the irony of this review. The self-appointed Taylor Swift detractor is assigned the one and only song in Swift’s catalogue that moves her to tears. I think that’s what they call karma?

In all seriousness, “The Best Day” is a beautiful, curious illustration of the artist underneath the pop star that is Taylor Swift. Honest and youthfully elegant, it’s not the kind of song that shot Swift to superstardom, but it may just be the kind of song that perpetuates her career after the hype of teen angst and pop-remixes subsides.

“The Best Day” is filled with stories so very simple that they could easily be mistaken for unsubstantial. Recounting the “best days” she’s had with her mother over the years, Swift describes a childhood that seems to be the stuff of sitcoms and storybooks, as she grew up comfortably in a “pretty house” with a close-knit, four-person family. This isn’t the gritty material country purists are used to, but there’s nothing wrong, from an artistic standpoint, with Swift telling her story, because it’s just that – hers. She sings about pumpkin patches, finger painting and window shopping with such sincerity –such raw and acute appreciation for the mother who provided these simple blessings and an underlying solace– that you can’t help but empathize.

And that’s Swift’s greatest strength as an artist: adeptly conveying universal emotions through stories that are tailored to her life and her perspective. You don’t have to be 13 to understand this sentiment: “I don’t know who I’m gonna talk to now at school/But I know I’m laughing on the car

ride home with you/Don’t know how long it’s gonna take to feel okay/But I know I had the best day with you today.” If you’re lucky enough to have or have had a mother who offered these indescribable moments of relief when nothing else made sense, then you get this.

It should also be noted that, as she rarely manages to do, Swift seems to have found a musical sweet spot with the folksy, understated arrangement of the song, which complements rather than highlights her imperfect voice. Vocal acrobat she is not, but with the right songs (at least in the studio), this becomes less of an issue.

I never thought I’d be commending Taylor Swift, but I am happy to do so – because it’s a fabulous thing for country music when the most recognizable mainstream country artist shows potential for her talent to catch up with her success.

Written by Taylor Swift

Grade: A-

Listen: The Best Day

Buy:

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15 Comments

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  1. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Ah, this would have been a perfect song for the Gilmore Girls if the show was still around. Another good mom song.

  2. Canadian BoyNo Gravatar says:

    This song isn’t even being released as a single.

  3. Cutting the TreacleNo Gravatar says:

    My favorite part of the song is when they’re at the clinic and her mother tells her that she will still love her whether or not she has the abortion.

  4. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    Canadian Boy,

    My impression is that they shipped this to radio as sort of an unofficial single to coincide with Mother’s Day. It’s picked up some airplay.

    Great review, Tara. I’d probably give it a B+, but I definitely agree that it’s one of her better tracks.

  5. Chris D.No Gravatar says:

    Great song, with a cute video. This song has the same feel as “White Horse” and it really works for Taylor and her weaker voice.

  6. silverNo Gravatar says:

    I think it’s a gorgeous song, I think her voice is extremely expressive of everything she is trying to say. Can’t imagine anyone else doing her songs for the same impact after hearing Taylor sing them. And to be honest, I get tired of every singer that comes along thinking they need to be able to shatter eardrums with every song they sing, that’s not always the way to get emotion across.

  7. JaneNo Gravatar says:

    I quite like this song too – Not my favourite from her album, but it is lovely. It’s very relatable too – I didn’t grow up in a two-parent home like Taylor did, but I have a close relationship with my mother, and this song conveys how it feels to have that kind of relationship.

  8. Cory DeSteinNo Gravatar says:

    im going to be murdered for this but, i just dont get it. The whole Swift package, I am just missing something I guess.

  9. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, this is late, but yay for the Gilmore shout-out Leeann :)

    Cory, I don’t get her either, at least not at the level others do. I do get this song, though.

  10. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Tara,
    Yay for the “yay for the Gilmore shout out!”

  11. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Love the instrumentation, especially the opening music. Lovely lyrics, catchy melody, weak voice. That about sums up another Taylor Swift song.

  12. ColtNo Gravatar says:

    I wonder what the pop radio version will sound like? Hopefully she puts some ooonce ooonce ooonce in it.

  13. Taylor Swift is the most beautiful singer. she is a hundred times better than britney.

  14. samarNo Gravatar says:

    I just read the lyrics to this song – haven’t heard it yet – but I cannot stop crying. I hope my daughters will someday feel this way about me. The lyrics are everything you hope to accomplish as a parent. Cheers to Taylor’s mom!

  15. ALJIDNo Gravatar says:

    Singer? Clean up your ears buddy. Last time I checked, her performance at the ACMs was less than stellar. And her performances at the Grammys and CMAs were mortifying. An unconscious Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood can sing better than her. Puh-lease..

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