Single Review: Taylor Swift, “Mine”

by

August 11, 2010

Where do you go from the top of the world? It’s a question all kinds of music icons have had to answer, but it’s hard to imagine most of them facing Taylor Swift’s level of pressure. Consider her standing: an American Sweetheart adored by young people and respected by their parents, staple of multiple radio formats, winner of commercial music’s very biggest awards, but facing sharp backlash for embarrassing live vocals, for a narrow songwriting perspective, and all in the most scrutinizing media climate ever, a fame minefield where one bad move can mean national embarrassment - and all, of course, before she turns twenty-one.

It’s a staggering context for a young person just trying to make some art, and equally importantly, it’s a staggering context for any critic or fan trying to listen to the resultant art. Swift’s biggest hits – “Teardrops on My Guitar”, “Our Song”, “Love Story”, “You Belong With Me” – are a part of our cultural memory now; how can anyone hear the new stuff with truly open ears?

That dilemma looms – perhaps unfairly – over the experience of Swift’s new single, the first from her forthcoming third set. It’s not a bad effort by any stretch; it just manages to sound a great deal like her earlier work without bringing anything especially interesting of its own to the table.

Sonically speaking, most of what’s here is diminished returns: the hooks aren’t quite as tight, the production has less personality, and the vocals are the most grating they’ve ever been in a Swift studio recording. It sounds like a rough outtake meant to be slapped onto future reissues of Fearless, not a smash-in-waiting meant to lay the foundation for a strong new era of Taylor-Nation-alism.

The lyrics, for their part, do offer a sort of evolution: the characters in “Mine” are young adults instead of teenagers, and they’re wrestling with relationships and concerns appropriate for their older age. But even those changes seem a bit superficial in view of the whole, which still frames and develops its story in much the same way as its forerunners – “Love Story” in particular. As in that hit, Swift and her guy meet, Swift gets bubbly with romantic excitement in the chorus, then conflict builds, leading Swift to lose faith in love, but Happy Ending comes when the guy rephrases the bubbly-romantic chorus back to her. Sure, “Mine” has a different story, and it’s a pretty good story in its own right. But we’re hearing it told essentially the same way, so it can’t help but sound like a something of a retread.

Heck, “Mine” even repeats one of “Love Story”‘s littler mistakes by including a line that sounds cool but that doesn’t really develop or make sense. In the earlier song’s case, it was “I was a scarlet letter”; now we get “you made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter.” It’s not a major point off for either song, of course, but it does cue an important, easy-to-forget observation: Taylor Swift is still growing as an artist and songwriter, her early world domination notwithstanding.

And in the end, that’s kind of where “Mine” leaves the listener. It’s not a brilliant single, nor is it a horrible one; it seems like just a quirky little holding pattern for Swift until she gathers her bearings and figures what better, fresher ideas she might be able to pull off with her various world-conquering powers. But hey – no pressure or anything.

Written by Taylor Swift

Grade: C+

Listen: Mine

Buy:


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  1. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Nothing to add. Perfect review!

  2. Julia HughanNo Gravatar says:

    What Leeann said.

  3. ALJIDNo Gravatar says:

    I really wish Taylor’s voice will improve. But we all know the answers…

  4. ClareNo Gravatar says:

    This was spot on. Exactly what I feel about her vocals and the Love Story part 2 lyrics.

    There better be some much better songs on the album, because this left me pretty disappointed.

  5. GenneaNo Gravatar says:

    Can I just say. I honestly don’t believe Taylor Swift ever faced any serious backlash for her grammy singing performance. I think some of her haters would like to think that. Think about it. After that grammy performance Taylor still had the #3 country album through June 30, 2010 (topping far newer albums like Carrie Underwood’s), she had the #1 country tour through June 30, 2010. Her single MINE sailed to #1 in only 5 hours on itunes and has been at #1 for an entire week (which already she has a new peak and has outdone anything she had done on fearless, her previous record was 16 hours). She had an amazing 106 country radio adds of the single and was the hot shot debut on the country chart. Now if that’s backlash of any kind then that’s the back lash that most of the country would kill for.

    On to the song. Back in the day Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey routinely had multi platinum smashes with the SAME sounding music from album to album. Just when you thought they peaked sales wise they’d go from 5 times platinum to 8 times platinum to 10 times platinum all on the same sounding ballads from album to album, but that’s the type of music that made them superstars. I think Taylor at 20 would be making a huge mistake to depart too much from her winning formula THIS EARLY in her career. The fact that she has written the entire album herself (whether you like the songs or not) are a form of growth but her sound sound not be messed with at this time. If I were her, I would keep this up until at least age 25. By then she’ll have more to talk and write about, but until then, she’s doing just what she needs to do to stay on top. Honestly not much could have happened in only 2 years so her songs are still going to be pretty much similar to fearless. You guys act as if fearless is a 10 year old album, fearless is only 2 years old.

  6. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Awesome. I agree with most of your review, Dan, although I don’t quite sympathize with Swift the way you do. Perhaps because of the one thing I don’t agree with – it’s not the grating quality of her vocals that bothers me about this record; it’s the number blatantly off-pitch notes. It irks me to no end that this is acceptable for a studio recording, especially when someone as powerful, industry-wise, as Swift is at the helm. I’d be a lot more impressed with her if she would hone in on her sweet spot as a vocalist and find songs that suit her.

  7. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks very much for the kind words about the review.

    “Honestly not much could have happened in only 2 years so her songs are still going to be pretty much similar to fearless.”

    This is a good point. I sort of agree and disagree. I think a lot changes for people developmentally in the years Swift’s currently going through, but you’re right that I could be expecting too much.

    That’s the reason I made a point in the review to note that our perception as listeners plays a big role in judging this release. As a consumer, I enjoyed Fearless thoroughly. It had a huge impact, and I got my fill of that style, and I am now ready for something different. It may or may not be fair to expect that of the artist, but it’s still what I want and what I think a lot of other people want. So it’s hard to be totally objective about the situation.

    “Perhaps because of the one thing I don’t agree with – it’s not the grating quality of her vocals that bothers me about this record; it’s the number blatantly off-pitch notes.”

    I’ll admit I don’t always have an immaculate ear for pitch, so that might be why I didn’t diagnose that as the problem. I too would be shocked if she was technically off-pitch, since it’s a studio recording; I think it might be that her tone is just so awful here that it sounds off. I’ll have to listen again.

  8. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Maybe so, Dan, although I’m not sure that’s any better.

  9. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    Swift has never hit my pop sweet spot, and I don’t care for her vocals, but I feel like this song moves her target audience up a couple of years.

    Still not a huge fan of the “my existence and happiness are defined by my relationships with the men in my life,” but I think that’s been a message drilled into the girls of her particular generation, who are long overdue for their very own Alanis Morissette.

    Lyrically, I can stand this more than any single of hers since “White Horse”, which I really liked.

  10. TomNo Gravatar says:

    …taylor swift would most likely be delighted by this thoughtful review and i enjoyed it, too. perhaps i’m one of the few people on the planet who doesn’t mind her vocals, but i think they fit her material just fine. when it comes to this release – i like it, but nothing more.

  11. ZackNo Gravatar says:

    I did not like this song, it sounds too much like her previous ones. My tastes for Taylor have tapered off over the years. I am curious about the fact that it was mentioned that her next (third) album will be a story album, I wonder how well she can pull it off.

  12. Music ManNo Gravatar says:

    I really enjoy the thoughtful reviews that are posted here…

    This latest one is outstanding at telling it like it really is…

    Thanks! Keep them coming!

  13. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I’m glad Taylor’s trying to come up with more mature songs, though she does still have a way to go. You’re right – it does sound like a “Love Story” re-tread.

    I do enjoy the sound of Taylor’s voice on some songs. She has a very limited vocal range, but she can make her voice work when she sings songs that are well-suited to it. But she keeps trying to belt it out like Reba, which is simply beyond her ability. She just needs to learn to work with what she has.

    I don’t think Taylor is entirely hopeless (actually, I’ve even liked most of her singles), but she just does not sound good on this track!

  14. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Music Man,
    Thanks for the encouragement and thanks for reading.

  15. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Thumbs up to everything that Music Man said! I enjoy these reviews as well.

  16. yoliNo Gravatar says:

    Great review, it has always bother me that Taylors cds (love story & others) sound so amazing but when I listen to her singing live it was awful. At least this song (mine)really sounds like her and for that I will give her credit.

  17. Erik NorthNo Gravatar says:

    Again, I think a lot of the critiques (including mine) boil down to the fact that a lot of us aren’t in Taylor’s demographic anymore.

    Having actually listened to “Mine” straight on through once (a first insofar as Taylor is concerned), I have to say that her songwriting is beginning to cohere and mature. In the end, though, it all comes down to the voice; and Taylor’s still sounds irritating to my ears. Whether she can improve on her voice in the studio, and especially onstage, minus the fancy gimmicks (Pro Tools; Auto Tune, etc.) will, I think, determine her long-term future as a singer. Without a natural improvement in that area, the critics and the bashers won’t stop.

  18. KNo Gravatar says:

    I’m no Taylor fan, but I do think she has shown she has incredible talent in terms of creating hooks,lyrics and melodies. She connects with her audience in a way that few artists ever have.

    That being said, even I was hoping to see some maturity in Taylor’s music, but I feel like this new single is an inexcusable letdown.

    Taylor used her usual theme of relationships, but I think these lyrics lack the sharp imagery and storytelling skills of some of her past songs like “Tim McGraw,” “White Horse” “Fifteen,” “Our Song” and others.

    Taylor has always embraced being youthful and fresh with her music, but I felt this track had a forced feel, with one (irrelevant) refrence to college life, and lines about paying bills and being a rebel.

    Even if some listners think she hints at maturity in the song, I thought putting in the last paragraph alluding to her boyfriend forgiving her after one fight, and then everything is jovial again shows that Taylor has yet to apply mature and balanced themes to her lyrics, even if she knows the difference between reality and superfical when it comes to real-life.

    Because of the weakness in the lyrics, I feel like she could’ve at least changed up the melody, or given us something fresh with her musical hooks. But the melody is a repeat of everything she has previously done, and I even think the opening “Oh Oh” notes are similar to what she did on “Hey Stephen from Fearless.

    Not to mention she still hasn’t discovered what works for her as a vocalist. When the song is weak to begin with, I think it highlights her vocal imperfections even more. I don’t mind her voice on some songs, but it is literally painful to listen to her pitiful attempt to hit notes she just can’t reach.

    Everything is stale here; the lyrics, melody, subject and vocal stylings.

    While I realize Taylor is young, I think she has the resources and talent to give listners something new.

    She has the advantage of being influnced by young and new artists, and she could really use that to show listners something uniqe.Being that Taylor is one of the biggest stars in the industry doesn’t help.

    She’s won every award, sold tons of records, and proven she has talent in some areas. When she has been rewarded so heavily for such things, I think she deserves the burden of giving listners something new and more mature. If she truly deserves those honors, she should show it by striving to become better, instead of staying in a holding pattern.

  19. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I actually think that her storytelling was really good/strong/vivid in this song. It reminded me of what a good storyteller she can be.

  20. Kiss in RainNo Gravatar says:

    These are all great reviews and they give this crazy TS fan something to think about. However, the “spell” Taylor can cast on a fan is so wonderfully loving and powerful that it’s difficult to comprehend and accept some of the negative comments… she is such a great communicator. I believe that Taylor is not perfect and she can and will listen to these reviews and get better… her maturity is the key to her humble acceptance of criticism if she is not distorted by the massive amounts of money she is earning. It may be unrealistic in view of her success but I pray that she stays humble and down-to-earth. The world is a better place because of Taylor Swift!

  21. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Kiss in Rain says it well. I can definitely understand Taylor’s massive appeal.

  22. vpNo Gravatar says:

    I thought it was a good review, with a lot of consessions for TS and hershort comings. I feel as though I have heard this song over, and over again from her. Same sound same hook and same story, oh wait she moved from highschool to college.

    For how big she is right now I can’t see why they wouldn’t have uped the auto tune on this one it sounds very poorly recorded. Maybe she was tired of getting the slack for auto tuning and thought her voice was good enough now. But it’s not!

    I had very high hopes for TS on this single and upcoming album but if the single is a preview or sequeal of what’s to come then I’m completely disappointed. She has not grown vocally or artistically with this song.

    I don’t know if she should be given any consessions consider the growth that the other young females showed on their third album this year. She is just not up to par with them.

    But kids will like what they will, just remember 75% of her fans like Justin Beiber too so it shows how much they know about a good artist.

  23. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    But kids will like what they will, just remember 75% of her fans like Justin Beiber too so it shows how much they know about a good artist.

    Can’t believe I’m about to defend the Bieber, but the kid’s not that bad. He’s got a decent voice, albeit a premature one.

  24. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    I was just about to defend him, too! Haha. Not saying he’s a good artist, since I wasn’t able to get more than a few tracks into his current album without getting bored. But he’s a pretty good singer for what he is, and “Baby” is a tasty bubblegum single.

  25. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    I love “Somebody to Love”…

  26. TomNo Gravatar says:

    @ kiss in rain

    …i’m not exactly sure, whether the world is a better place because of taylor-nation, but surely a more entertaining one. i’m very curious about her new album and look forward to its release.

  27. Music ManNo Gravatar says:

    Your welcome Leeann, I might not post often, but I do read while I have a few minutes of downtime at work… which… I must get back to, a request just came in an email…

  28. Music ManNo Gravatar says:

    Ben, I’ve read you’re blog that’s been linked here, thumbs up to you’re blog.

  29. MichelleNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with this review. This song sounds so much like all of Taylor’s other songs, except that it sounds even LESS country. Her lyrics also seem so forced and like she’s intentionally trying to make them sound more mature. It just seems so contrived. Her voice also sounds so horrible on this song…probably the worst I’ve ever heard it on one of her albums (with the exception of her dreadful “Christmas album” of course.)

  30. andieNo Gravatar says:

    i think taylor has had some great musical moments with tears drop on my guitar, white horse, our song…in my opinion she should continue on that vein, she has a decent voice

  31. justinNo Gravatar says:

    PUH-LZ like the reviewer said lover story part 2. I really liked Swift when she first came out becuase she was around 16 so her lyrics fit with the age and the album. Then came Fearless and yes, love story was good but it got overplayed and overplayed. Im sorry, nut white horse is not as good as it is being made out to be. You belong with me is just so….UGH!! I so wish she would grow up, this song may be kinda catchy but her voice just does no good for the song.

    She should stick to just songwriting for a couple years and grow up and taking singing lessons and then get back to us

  32. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    “Ben, I’ve read you’re blog that’s been linked here, thumbs up to you’re blog.”

    Thanks, Music Man!

  33. grannaNo Gravatar says:

    Her singing is horrible on this record. It almost sounds like she is singing live and that’s not good. And yeah, this song is just like one of her other songs just rearranged words. I just cannot believe so many people worship this girl with not much talent. This world sure is changing.

  34. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I clicked the above link, and it made me wonder, do you do anything on Carrie Underwood fan sites besides slamming Taylor Swift?

  35. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    The links come in automatically, so the person who linked from the Underwood page doesn’t necessarily follow the comment threads here.

  36. Erik NorthNo Gravatar says:

    In all good honesty, I believe that the one thing Taylor needs to do above all else, is to take some very serious vocal lessons. That, and the eventual elimination of the Auto Tune or Pro Tools studio gimmickry, would go a long way towards people taking her seriously. As I’ve said before, without doing those two basic things, the bashers aren’t going to stop.

    And speaking of bashers, the ones at the aforementioned Carrie Underwood site shouldn’t be under the impression that all of us here who critique Taylor necessarily like Their Girl any better. I find Ms. Underwood’s material nearly as banal as Taylor’s, to be perfectly blunt.

  37. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    To be fair, though, the vast majority of the links that come from that fan site to here are regarding articles about Carrie Underwood. I don’t know if they check out the comments, but the original posts about her here tend to be positive. And when they aren’t, they’re still respectful in tone, just like Dan was here with Taylor Swift.

    CU isn’t that good at starting flame wars, though we do stumble into one from time to time.

  38. JayNo Gravatar says:

    That link to the CU fansite leads to a 50+ page thread where people are mostly just making conversation. Most of the posts having nothing to do with Swift whatsoever.

    I’m sure the Carrie Underwood fans know that CU has her non admirers. That won’t stop them from expressing their opinion about others. That is true of any given artist and any given fanbase.

  39. Cory DeSteinNo Gravatar says:

    Usually, with the biggest acts in country music at a given time, I can find one song I at least like a little, like a guilty pleasure, but in Taylor Swift’s case, it has not even come close yet. Every single song is a broken record, a repeat of that last. They break up, then they are on top of young love, right back to a break up again.

  40. DanniNo Gravatar says:

    Dan it’s refreshing to read a review that thoughtfully discusses both the good and bad when it comes to a Taylor single. At other sites her reviews are handled with kid gloves that even real “kids”, like Miley aren’t afforded the luxury.

    I agree with most everything you mention but I would like to add that it’s possible that the holding pattern is intentional. The Disney crowd is a powerful purchasing demographic and I figure that she’s got a cushion for 1 more “Fearless” type album before she really begins to be criticized if she doesn’t show further growth. But her fans love this stuff and there’s no real reason for her to change on the upcoming album after she’s just won CMA’s, Grammys and critical acclaim.

    __________________________________

    @Gennea
    Can I just say. I honestly don’t believe Taylor Swift ever faced any serious backlash for her grammy singing performance.
    __________________________________
    I think the real backlash will come if she is ever up for the big Grammy award against the likes of Beyonce and Gaga again.

    @Gennea
    Honestly not much could have happened in only 2 years so her songs are still going to be pretty much similar to fearless. You guys act as if fearless is a 10 year old album, fearless is only 2 years old.
    ___________________________________
    True on the surface but won’t it be wonderful when the album comes out if we find out that she’s written about how it feels to fulfill one’s hopes and dreams or how it feels to finally find acceptance or what it’s like when a shining moment in your life is ruined by someone or how when you’re on top of the world, people try to bring you down.

    @Tara Seetharam
    I’d be a lot more impressed with her if she would hone in on her sweet spot as a vocalist and find songs that suit her.
    ___________________________________
    Totally agree. I think she has wonderful vulnerability in her voice when she stays within a certain range. There’s no shame in staying in a range that one can handle, I just don’t get why she feels the need to go beyond that.

  41. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I have to agree with Danni. I’m not just going to assert that Taylor can’t sing, as some people do. I think she CAN sing – she just has more limitations, and she needs to learn to work with what she has.

    Kevin aptly compared Taylor to Shania Twain. While Shania did not have pipes as strong as Trisha’s or Martina’s, she stayed within her range, and compensated for her weaknesses with her ability to connect on an emotional basis. If Taylor can learn to do that, she can be an even better arist.

    I would say that Taylor has faced a lot of “backlash” for her live performances, but I do think a lot of it has come from Carrie Underwood fans.

    I can understand why Taylor’s new music may bear a strong resemblance to “Fearless” album, though I do think the production has taken a definite turn for the worse. Hopefully Taylor can grow as artist, expand her subject matter, and show some overall improvement. I didn’t like “Mine,” but I won’t say she’s completely hopeless.

  42. DanniNo Gravatar says:

    @Ben Foster
    I would say that Taylor has faced a lot of “backlash” for her live performances, but I do think a lot of it has come from Carrie Underwood fans.
    ________________________________
    What type of backlash are you referring to in the context of Carrie Underwood fans?

  43. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    ^ I pose the same question as Danni.

  44. CJNo Gravatar says:

    I am also waiting for the response to the question posted by Danni. What type of backlash coming from Carrie Underwood fans are you speaking of? You must see fans then as a powerful group of people to be able to cause the sort of backlash you are referring to.

  45. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Okay, I’m back-pedaling now! :)

    I apologize if my assertion has offended anyone. Really, it was only a slight suspicion on my part, influenced partly by what I read on the Underwood fan site that was linked to above, and I have no convincing evidence to back it up. I did not expect such a reaction to that offhand comment.

    I think anyone can see that people are constantly comparing Taylor Swift with Carrie Underwood, and disputing over which one is “better.” The main points of critcism that Carrie’s fans level against Taylor often have to do with her vocal imperfections and pitch problems. But I’m not claiming that anyone who criticizes Taylor is only doing so because they must be Carrie Underwood fans. I myself will readily agree that she is not the best singer.

    Again, sorry if I upset anyone. I hope this clears up any questions.

  46. biongoNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the encouragement and thanks for reading.

  47. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    No worries Ben. I was just curious.

  48. CJNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the explanation, Ben :=)

  49. CJNo Gravatar says:

    To add to the backlash thingy, when the Grammy fiasco occurred, there were many articles that were posted giving harsh criticisms on Taylor and her management, and some came from writers and critics who do not like Carrie Underwood either. So I don’t think the backlash is due to some conspiracy or evil plan of just one group of fans.
    And because both ladies are prominent figures in country music right now, I think it will always be inevitable that some comparisons will always be made between the two. Fair or not? I don’t know. And I’m gonna back off for now also, lol.

  50. CraigNo Gravatar says:

    Nothing new.

    Same song, different title.

    It’s simply Swift, and that’s the problem with the song.

  51. DanniNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for clarifying Ben. No offense was taken. I was just trying to understand how Carrie Underwood fans expressing their personal opinion of Taylor’s vocals was considered backlash.

  52. KNo Gravatar says:

    “I would say that Taylor has faced a lot of “backlash” for her live performances, but I do think a lot of it has come from Carrie Underwood fans.”

    Not only is this assumption unfounded and generalized, but you have no proof that any backlash regarding Taylor Swift comes from only her fanbase.

    Some fans can be extreme, but most are level-headed and rational. In any case, these fans exist in different fanbases in all generes of music. Does anyone recall the “Britney v. Christina” or “boyband v. boyband” battles of the 90′s?

    I’ve learned that this type of behavior ususally comes from an extremely tiny precentage of fans, and the ones who continously engage in the behavior aren’t taken seriously by most others anyway.

    I’d say Taylor does receive a lot of criticism simply for living in the moment and daring to be the artist she is. She is immature, but also has tons of life to life. What more can we expect of her when she obviously has room left to grow that she hasn’t yet reached the depths to explore yet?

    I do think she receives some appropriate criticism, most of which seems to come from other music fans who seem to think it’s “too much too soon” for an artist whose artistic voice has yet to catch up with the incredible accolades she has been given so early in her career.

  53. Erik NorthNo Gravatar says:

    I think some of the hostility may be from what Scott Borchetta, the head of Big Machine (Taylor’s record label), had said in response to the panning of Taylor’s performance at the Grammys last February, when he said that Taylor was not a product of American Idol like Carrie was, which got a lot of people more than a little angry.

    But while Taylor may not have been a product of American Idol, she is arguably part of the culture spawned by that show, the notion of instant stardom. In that atmosphere, Taylor was going to be scrutinized; there was no way she could avoid it. And it’s not like people didn’t notice well before the Grammys, even before she and Kanye West got into it on the MTV video awards, that her onstage voice was well below average.

    I think Taylor has the time to rectify her shortcomings as a singer, but she really needs to use that time while her window of popularity is still open.

  54. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    “Not only is this assumption unfounded and generalized, but you have no proof that any backlash regarding Taylor Swift comes from only her fanbase.”

    You are correct – it most definitely was unfounded. However, that was an offhand remark, and not the main thrust of my comment. Furthermore, it was presented as an opinion, and not as a fact. I even acknowledged my lack of evidence in the follow-up comment.

    I did not realize that people would react to that remark. I have already apologized and attempted to clear up any questions about it, but I still cannot un-post that comment. Thus, I suggest it might be best to just move on to other topics of discussion.

  55. AmyNo Gravatar says:

    I have always thought that Taylor has been a much better songwriter than a singer and it is once again proven in “Mine.” While you may think her songwriting needs some more maturing, I believe it is spot on. While her vocals are not great, I think “Mine” is passable although I agree with you in the fact that I was expecting more.

  56. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Totally agree, Amy. I think the majority of her talent is in her songwriting. At least on this single, I can sense some effort on her part to mature a bit. She may be getting to a point where she wants to “grow up” and move beyond writing music for high-schoolers. She’s not there yet, but she might get there someday.

  57. megan batchelorNo Gravatar says:

    taylor is always amazing me she is such a great role modle no matter what any one sas i will alsways be a taylor freak keep on rocking taylor

  58. KNo Gravatar says:

    Ben,

    I apologize for rehashing your comments; I was a just surprised that an adult like yourself would make such an assumption, but that’s the only reason I commented.

    No harm done.

    As for “Mine,” I’m not a fan of this single, and I was hoping Taylor would inch towards maturity with this track. I think she does a great job at injecting life into her material, but this effort seems forced to me. Not to mention “Mine” highlights the weakness of her voice as well. I suspect I’ll never be onboard with Swift as a singer, but I’d be able to tolerate her if she honed in on her sweet spot as a vocalist, and broaned and polished her songwriting a little more.

    I think Taylor has had shining moments as a songwriter, but she’s also hit some big rough spots with “Shoulda Said No,” “Picture To Burn,” and some others.

    The thing I find most frusturating about Taylor’s material is that although she seems to be a mature young adult outside of the entertainment world, her immaturity and shallow revelations about relationships have to catch up with her artistic self.

    I suspect this is because the majority of her material coincides with her current lifestyle, but I fear this means we have to listen to three to five more years of “high school and college Taylor” before she is fully ready to reveal the young woman she has already turned into.

    I have a feeling this album will be a hit-or-miss effort from her.

    It’s interesting that some posters have noted the incredible impact that Taylor’s personality has on her success. I think a lot of people respect her for taking control of her career, and the fact that she seems to come off as an authentic person who enjoys life and appreciates everything she’s been given.

    Even as someone who isn’t a Swift fan,I often find myself wishing that I could enjoy more of her material, because her personality is extremely magnetic, and I think if she’s able to mature and find her comfort zone as a vocalist, she could gain a lot more respect.

  59. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    K said: “Even as someone who isn’t a Swift fan,I often find myself wishing that I could enjoy more of her material, because her personality is extremely magnetic…”

    Ditto!

  60. vpNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with wishing for more from TS because she seems like such nice person, but immaturity becomes a bit much after three years.

    Also I don’t like the tactics her camp has used to promote her and it all started with the VMA’s thing they defintely milked it. After that Borchetta set out on a whole artistic war with reality tv winners. Yet again they are mimicing the same thing that happened to CU with The Cowboy Casanova single and video where they were both leaked early.

    When I heard Mine was leaked to radio while TS was o. Plane and found out and cried, I felt bad but then to see what that story did for the single I felt sick for feeling that way. Now SHOCKINGLY the same thing happens with the video. I can’t help but think it is because CMT and GAC didn’t commit a whole daylto TS on the actual release day as they have is the past.

    The thing that bothers me the most is not the vocals or the lack of maturity that I was hoping for, but the fact that country radio has embrace this total full out pop song and are giving the spins to help it climb a chart it shouldn’t have been on!

    I have to ask does TS belong in this format anymore?

  61. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    After that Borchetta set out on a whole artistic war with reality tv winners.

    I’ve separated that from Taylor in my head. I don’t think she would ever make that kind of remark, nor do I think she condoned Borchetta’s remark.

    I have to ask does TS belong in this format anymore?

    I’m not sure, but you have to then ask that question of a handful of artists on country radio. Is “Stuck Like Glue” really country? Who knows.

    Yet again they are mimicing the same thing that happened to CU with The Cowboy Casanova single and video where they were both leaked early.

    Totally off topic, but I laugh every time I think of this – was it Cowboy Casanova or an earlier single whose much publicized video premiere on CMT was accidentally replaced with some rap video? Fans were in such an uproar but I thought it was hilarious :)

  62. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Don’t sweat it, K. No harm done.
    And let me just add that I’m not necessarily against people comparing Carrie and Taylor, it’s just the Carrie vs. Taylor flame wars, where Carrie’s fans attack Taylor and Taylor’s fans attack Carrie, that I find irritating.

  63. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I find that irritating too. Honestly, I see it very fiercely from both sides on various blogs. Neither side comes out looking especially good, in my opinion.

  64. jenna paoneNo Gravatar says:

    I am coming from the perspective as a young woman of taylor’s age in college.

    I understand the massive appeal of catchy songs with relatable topics, such as a boys or being “fifteen”. and yes, I do think that it takes some amount of talent to write catchy hooks and get up on stage the way taylor does. however, as a female, the overall image of taylor swift is insulting and uninspiring.

    it is annoying how much credit she gets for being this “gift to our country” as an artist when she can not even sing on key and writes simplistic songs about simplistic situations. If she were to be called “just another pop artist with a brilliant image” i’d agree. its the whole “voice of our generation” that gets to me. She doesn’t seem to have any solid experience in life and her songs reflect that. they are empty, commerical versions of semi-country sounding little tunes that don’t leave me feeling any sort of deep emotion. this may have to do with her voice, which is very off key and strangely bad, considering she is literally paid millions to sing as a career.

    now as “mine” begins to take over the radio, once again i have to hear about the “amazing taylor.” i dont feel like we should award this almost 21 year old for acknowledging that couples fight in one of her songs. its sorta something lots of people have been singing and writing about for a very long time. and i agree that the “maturity” in this song sounds forced. like everyone keeps saying “as long as taylor matures she has potential..” but throwing in some lines about bills and being in college doesn’t mean her music is suddenly for grown ups.

    yes, taylor plays the safe card. little girls want to buy songs they can sing along to, and i admit they are catchy and perfect for pop. but seeing her live is like watching some random girl “pretend to be a star” as she awkwardly misses most of the notes. oh and flips her hair a little.

    all i am saying is that as a young woman, i want someone with more edge, more talent and more force to be representing my generation.

  65. jenna paoneNo Gravatar says:

    in case i wasn’t being clear with what i was trying to say…
    if taylor was just another pop star that was “just for fun” or taken lightly, such as katy perry or someone along those lines, then i wouldnt mind so much. its just the fact that she swept all the grammy awards (along with countless others) from far more deserving artists. artists that dont need more “experience” or “vocal lessons.” artists that dont need a few good 10 years to develope.

    all i am saying is that it was far too much for far too little.

    and for those that agrue that taylor is “so nice and classy”.. i know alot of nice and classy people. they don’t have grammys falling into their laps though.

    i just hope people calm down this year and “mine” isn’t the spin off into another taylor obsessed year.

  66. ObserverNo Gravatar says:

    I felt like barfing when I heard the opening lines of this song. More of the same trite crap taking me back to the worst year ever for country pop: 2009 when Ms Swift won every award possible from every institution remotely related to music. Fortunately, most of 2010 has been relatively free of Ms Swift’s presence, and what a great year it’s been. Country pop has come so far since 2009 with great songs from Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson, The Band Perry, Craig Morgan, Zac Brown Band, Josh Thompson, Toby Keith, Chris Young, Eric Church, Luke Bryan and more. Can’t we just go forward Ms Swift? You had your record smashing year, now just go away please.

  67. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I just wish 2010 had been half as good as you’ve made it out to be. I agree that it’s been a small improvement from 2009 though.

  68. ObserverNo Gravatar says:

    True enough Leeann, 2010 probably can’t be considered a great year for Country pop. When I watch CMT Pure on television, some of my favorite moments are during the “Pure Vintage” segments from before my time.

  69. CraigNo Gravatar says:

    Unfortunately, Observer, don’t expect Swift to be gettin’ her hind end out of Country. Hype is building up because she is now scheduled to perform at the United Nations on October 25 for her album release (dumbest thing I’ve heard — she’s using a major global networking facility to broadcast her three chords and cliche lyrics to the world, and most of her preteen fans don’t even know what the UN is), and her track listing was just leaked. Some of the songs on her track listing are over 6:00, and sure enough, the title of those songs are “Dear John” and “Last Kiss”. In other words, more of the same love songs that she’s been preaching to the youth of the globe for the past 3 years.

  70. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    While Taylor’s vocals can be pretty rough, I’ve never considered her songs to be cliched. Most of them are very well constructed.

  71. ObserverNo Gravatar says:

    Granted, Ms Swift’s songs are very well (I would say “carefully”) constructed. Simply remove the fiddle and banjo from the Country Music Radio mix. Crank up the over-driven phased, flanged, wah’d, delayed and chorused guitars. Juice-up the vocals with an extra helping of reverb. Now she has another Rock/Pop song to go along with her growing collection of remixes. More airplay. More CD sales. More concert ticket sales. More awards possibilities. And a growing bank account. And few Country Music fans seem to give a damn. What could possibly go wrong?

  72. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I was mainly referring to her lyrics as being well-constructed.

    I’m actually not a fan of pop remixing either, though Taylor is definitely not the first country artist to do it, and probably won’t be the last either. Of course, sometimes the songs are already poppy enough that remixing is unnecessary.

  73. KNo Gravatar says:

    “Unfortunately, Observer, don’t expect Swift to be gettin’ her hind end out of Country. Hype is building up because she is now scheduled to perform at the United Nations on October 25 for her album release (dumbest thing I’ve heard — she’s using a major global networking facility to broadcast her three chords and cliche lyrics to the world, and most of her preteen fans don’t even know what the UN is), and her track listing was just leaked. Some of the songs on her track listing are over 6:00, and sure enough, the title of those songs are “Dear John” and “Last Kiss”. In other words, more of the same love songs that she’s been preaching to the youth of the globe for the past 3 years.”

    I think it’s incredibly sad that this marginally talented young woman gets so much attention, much of which she hasn’t proven she deserves in my opinion.

    She has proven to be a talented writer, but I also think a lot of her songs are chilched, and she continues to give much of the same viewpoints and musical sounds that were present on her first two albums.

    She is a terrible live vocalist, yet she has been rewarded over and over again as if she’s the second coming of some great female legend. She’s an awkward performer to watch as well. I could stand to watch her if she stopped flipping her hair every second, awkwardly dancing, and trying to (painfully) hit high notes she will never be able to reach.

    The industry has rewarded her too many times when it should never happened. The awards she won seem to say the industry is telling her she the best there is the music business- when she clearly is nowhere near that point.

    There are so many artists who deserve to be where she is but will never get the type of attention she does because they don’t the press or aren’t pop enough to please fans of other generes.

    She gets more international attention than any other country artist in the world, yet she’s continued to get by on being an average artist at best. What a sad world we live in.

    I can only hope that talented country singers who have continued to move forward in their careers are the ones who are remembered in the end.

  74. ZackNo Gravatar says:

    I think it is important to notice that a lot of the industry awards Swift recieved came after the whole “kanye/swift” incident at the VMAs. [Not that I am saying Swift isn't talented, but I think the situation played into some of this; they probably assumed Swift might not have felt validated afterwards, so they wanted to make her feel better.]

    I can’t really say, these are just stabs in the dark, but likewise, maybe the industry saw her as a talent? Who knows?

    Truth is, Swift sells records, so she won’t be leaving anytime soon. So I guess it is in our best interest to just accept that she is here and wait until the moment where she will HAVE to change her songwriting style to be more mature, and see if that brings her to a new level.

  75. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Giving Taylor awards just to make her feel better? I wouldn’t think that the CMAs would stoop that low. I think it was mostly Taylor’s incredibly strong industry presence during 2009 that contributed to her massive CMA sweep.

    While I do tend to like Taylor’s music more than I would care to admit, I am still irritated when I think of all the great female singers who were far superior to Taylor, but never achieved the same high accolades. There’s Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Patty Loveless, Sara Evans, Kathy Mattea… the list goes on and on.

  76. ObserverNo Gravatar says:

    I’d like to clarify my earlier statement about what a bad year 2009 was for Country-pop music. What made it a bad one for me was that one person so thoroughly dominated the awards given. For all of the awards given to that one person, other artists were denied. That injustice can never be corrected.
    I did not mean to say that there were too few good songs and CD’s produced in 2009. On the contrary, I’m satisfied that there were plenty, and probably too many for me to ever hear. I’ve been building a collection of my favorite Country-pop songs for a few years now and, although I haven’t worked out all the numbers, if I can add about 10 songs to that collection in a year, then it’s a good year. I think 2009 easily met that criterion. So far, I’m very pleased with the way that 2010 has been developing.

  77. ZackNo Gravatar says:

    Ben– I do not berrate Swift of her success in 2009, I personally like listening to some of her songs; and I do believe she won EOTY fair and square, regardless of whether or not it was too soon, but I think it would’ve happened anyways.

    I understand how you feel, I was frustrated year after year of watching Sara Evans lose, even at her peak!!

    However, I am saying that we need to consider the factors surrounding the year, and that was one situation we can’t avoid. I’m not saying the CMAs didn’t reward her because of that, and I’m not saying they did… we just don’t know what they are thinking when they vote. [and I'm not saying it was just the CMAs, the nominations and wins at the GRAMMYs also might've been because of that, who knows].

    Swift is a great songwriter for her age and age group, but hopefully as she gets older she’ll be able to transition more easyily to older material. I just think it’s probably harder for mature adults to wrap their minds around the fact that Swift is a good songwriter [even though they think that], due to her current material.

  78. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Maybe I should clarify that I’m not getting all up in arms over Taylor’s success, and I will admit that my opinion of her does tend to vary greatly depending on what mood I’m in (a fact often reflected in my comments on certain threads).

    I do generally consider Taylor to be a decent songwriter. I know some people dislike her because her vocals grate on their ears, which is understandable, but I do think it’s a bit unfair to dismiss her lyrics on the basis that they’re mostly written for young people. I’m curious to see how much she can grow as a songwriter, and if she can get a good vocal coach, and learn to work with the voice she has, that would be great.

  79. ZackNo Gravatar says:

    I share the same viewpoint as you, Ben. I want her to succeed too, and to learn to work with the voice she has, as well.

  80. CraigNo Gravatar says:

    “Giving Taylor awards just to make her feel better? I wouldn’t think that the CMAs would stoop that low. I think it was mostly Taylor’s incredibly strong industry presence during 2009 that contributed to her massive CMA sweep.”

    Her 2009 presence was partial to the wins. If the CMAs are giving the Entertainer of the Year awards out to the people who were in the forefront of everyone else throughout the year, and their incredible domination of the music industry, then Carrie Underwood would’ve already won the EOTY this year.

    Seeing as that won’t even happen, I’m willing to bank that a part of Swift’s sweep at the CMAs was due to the VMA scandal. If the CMAs don’t hand out sympathy awards and give the trophies out solely to the deserving winner, Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum wouldn’t even have a nomination for the big category this year.

  81. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    How would giving nominations to Zac Brown Band and Lady A be sympathy awards? I think there’s a difference between undeserving and sympathy.

  82. CraigNo Gravatar says:

    I didn’t mean it like that. It’s kind of one of those things that makes more sense in my head than it does in writing.

    I was just using the sympathy factor in Swift’s case.

    Basically, in my humble opinion, part of the reason Swift received the EOTY so early in her career (even including her monster year) is because of the VMA scandal. If that hadn’t happened, I don’t think they would’ve given her the EOTY. They would’ve handed it to Mr. Chesney again. If their intentions on the EOTY is to give the trophy to the artist they believe truly deserved it, then like I said, Underwood would have that award on lockdown come November.

    ZBB and Lady A certainly didn’t earn their nods this year via sympathy, but I don’t think they deserved the nods because they haven’t reached the expectations (that are virtually transparent now, seeing as the CMAs have ignored their own requirements this year in the ballot) that the association has set up.

  83. ZackNo Gravatar says:

    Plus, you might consider that the CMAs might’ve been looking for an alternative to Chesney.

  84. ZackNo Gravatar says:

    (again, not to berrate Swift’s deserving EOTY win).

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