Taylor Swift, “Picture to Burn”

I think this is going to be a crystallizing record for Taylor Swift. It’s been selling briskly as a download long before it was ever released as a single, and it speaks more directly to the teenage audience than anything she’s released so far. That’s going to make it a huge hit for her.

However, for those who have been barely stomaching the MySpace teenybopper element of Swift’s music, this might be the record that turns them off completely. It’s so relentlessly adolescent, right down to her “nyah nyah nyah” vocal delivery, that her big revenge song ends up sounding like a kiddie version of “Before He Cheats.”

By the time she warned that her Daddy will beat him up if comes by the house again, I was done. I’m too old for this now, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it when I actually was a teenager. I’ll check in again once her life experience catches up with her songwriting ability.

Written by Liz Rose & Taylor Swift

Grade: D

Listen: Picture to Burn

Buy: Picture to Burn


  1. I actually have to agree with the grade for a change. I do like the song, but I can see it getting old on me. It does sound immature and more her age than any of her other songs thus far. She was starting to let herself off as a mature and smart girl. This song is truely based on its popularity in the younger croud. I don’t see much relation here for the older croud and it lacks the in your face potential of Before He Cheats. Its a good enough song for her album as a young artist, but I think it not the best choice for a single from her.

  2. i love the tune of the song and find it amusing, but i agree that it is rather immature and parts of it are pretty stupid, as you mentioned the part about her daddy beating him up and the part about how comingback around would be bad for his health. i think she is a good songwritter, but her themes are a bit immature. i like taylor swift, but i would rather someone else represent country music to the world

  3. Also, the censor of the “I’ll tell (my friends) you’re gay” line makes the line incredibly confusing. “That’s fine/You won’t mind if I say/By the way I hate your stupid old pickup truck …”

  4. I actually hadn’t noticed the censor because I havn’t heard the radio edit yet, but I was wondering what would happen with that. It would obviously be a huge controversy. And again using gay in a song like this is pretty teenage immature for Taylor.

  5. “I’m too old for this now, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it when I actually was a teenager. I’ll check in again once her life experience catches up with her songwriting ability.”

    You pretty much nailed it. I think it’s a fabulously well-constructed song and I’ll be dumbstruck if it doesn’t become a ridiculously big hit, but this one reeks of emotional immaturity in a way that even “Teardrops on My Guitar” can only dream of.

    I’ll definitely be fascinated to see whether or not she grows up any on her sophomore album (or, as I’m afraid may be the case, whether Big Machine allows her to). We all know the potential is there.

  6. More teenybopper stuff . I bought the album eerly in its release (it was only $7.99 but it’s very quickly grown old – as I commented elsewhere , more mature stuff than Hannah Montana, less mature than Hanna-Barbera

  7. Ok this song may not be her best song ever. But I mean come on, her target audience is teenagers who are looking for a song that vents their frustration about a relationship that was a waste of time and this really is just the perfect track for that. But really this song isn’t going to hurt her career at all, her fanbase is so strong that no matter what song she puts out it’s going to do well. I’ll admit that when I first listened to the album this song was one that I didn’t care much for, but as I started listening to it more and more you can hear the heartbreak and anger in her voice. Everything she says really means something to her and to her fans. Taylor doesn’t sing things that mean nothing like other artists she went through this and she wanted to share that with her fans; if that makes her immature than I dont know what a mature person is anymore. She has amazing song writing skills and I dont think that this is any exeption she has a long career ahead of her and I’ll be right here supporting her each step of the way.

  8. I get that she wrote this song and many of her others based on life experience but what the heck is she going to be able to write about in the next year or so? What its like to ride on a bus all day and play in concert and get rich and famous? who the heck is going to be able to relate to that?

    I also watched an interview with her and she said her sophmore album will be more of the same, why fix something that isn’t broke. Someday her fans will grow up and they will expect more from her, I’m just pessimistic that she will not be able to deliver.

    Not a fan of Taylor Swift

  9. When this song came out, I completely agreed with the review and found the song to be really sophomoric. Our Song and Teardrops on My Guitar both got on my nerves too, so it’s fair to say I wasn’t a Taylor Swift fan.

    Now, while I still think the review is on target, I find myself enjoying it and turning it up when it comes on the car radio to my horror.

    This falls under the Guilty Pleasures: Songs You Like Despite Knowing Better category, which would be a great blog topic if it wasn’t so embarrassing. I still don’t like her other songs, though.

  10. Spencer,
    I know where you’re coming from. I feel the same way about this song and “Our Song.”

    You’re right, guilty pleasures would be a fun blog topic!

  11. Okay, so I like how a bunch of middle aged people are bashing on a 18 year old girl (16 at the time of releasing this song.) Real cute. It’s people like you that make our young girls feel like they HAVE to mature. Why do you think there are so many teenage pregnancies these days? Pressure from parents, stress and sometimes it feels like the only way out. get pregnant and leave home. I think it is a hillarious song.. and I bet her daddy felt REALLY good that she was tellin a boy that her daddy loves her more. And she will still be able to write songs from experiences. They come everyday, famous or not. She can write from friends experiences, from family experiences. She’s a great singer/songwriter and I believe she has a lot of potential. I like how she takes her youth and lives it day for day. She’s not gunna be an old lady with a cob up her you-know-what because she didn’t take the time to enjoy her youth. I’m sure she enjoys it everyday. And I’m glad she writes songs like this. It shows us how beautiful youth was and how crazy it was.

  12. taylor swift? o please. i can take comfort in the fact that she herself knows she sucks, and is getting shafted by it. i can easily obsolve her. she’s wild. she’s rowdy, and she’s self centred.

  13. I think the problem with Taylor Swift really has to do with the way the Nashville music machinery works. Anybody these days with youth, looks, and a bunch of catchy songs can get instantly signed to a recording deal because everybody’s looking out for the next big thing. Taylor has all of those things.

    But beyond her being a teen, and beyond the argument as to how mature or immature her songs sound, in the end it all comes down to the Voice, and not all the surface things. And having heard “Picture To Burn” and several of Taylor’s other songs on the radio, at this stage, I am not convinced that she is that good of a singer by any credible stretch. I’m kind of being charitable when I say I find her singing to be more than a little irritating.

  14. Ok obviously yall don’t know what teenagers like. Any girl who just got out of a tough relationship can always rely on Taylor Swift’s music to get them through. She writes songs about her own experiences she goes through that any normal teen goes through. She’s 18 years old and is one of the best in country music so how bout back off and stop running your mouth about her. She is awesome!!!!!

  15. okay i know its been forever since someone commented on here but i think its kind of important to not only compare some of these songs to her newer ones but also to say something about her. i live in hendersonville, where she lives, and i have to say to seth finley, i’ve met her and had numerous conversations with her (enough to where she remembers my first and last name) about everything from music to favorite colors to the weather on a random day. she’s not self-centered and never has been. personally, although the constant talk of her around town can be irritating at times, i love her and have always been a fan. she writes about things on a personal level, and they’re not all about boyfriends and ex’s. the only reason people think that thats all she writes about is because there isnt a ton of music people listen to thats NOT about ex’s and crushes and boy/girlfriends. if you listen to the song ‘fifteen’ she talks about a tough time abigail(her best friend) went through and she talks about the struggles for a freshman in high school and how her life changed when she moved to tennessee as opposed to pennsylvania. if you listen to ‘never grow up’ she talks about the joys of childhood that no one can really experience anymore because it goes by too quickly. she talks about how she wishes she could go back to a time when her life wasn’t as complicated and when all she had to worry about was what princess dress she would wear to her next tea party. if you listen to ‘the best day’ its a song about her love for her family and their love and support for her. it was a mothers day present for her mom. she talks about her dad and her little brother and her mom and her life that she loves and how she could never thank them enough for giving her the chance to follow her dreams. i AM a high schooler, and maybe im biased because of it, but i have been in an extremely tough situation lately and honestly the only music ive listened to lately is taylor swift and whitney houston. now that ive said that, dont come back at me by saying that whitney houston could never be compared to taylor swift because i know that whitney had one of the most memorable voices in music history and honestly once taylor dies she will be remembered just not at the same magnitude. but anyways, i listen to whitney because she was what i listened to when i was little and i listen to taylor because she is so relateable. when my ex first dumped me for another girl, all i listened to was ‘i will always love you’, ‘teardrops on my guitar’, and ‘white horse’ for about a week simply because my heart was to weak to listen to anything else. then, when i felt a little better, i started listening to songs like ‘a perfectly good heart’. and after a few weeks when i was annoyed that i had been dumped for the first time, i listened to songs like ‘picture to burn’, ‘better than revenge’, and one of her newest songs, ‘i knew you were trouble’ because i could relate to them at different times. after a few months i started devoloping a new crush and i listened to songs like ‘you belong with me’ and ‘hey stephen’ because they’re about a girl and a boy liking each other. now my crush and i are dating and have been for a while and i can listen to all her songs because the happy ones dont make me sad and the angry ones dont make me revengeful.

    i know ive said a lot but if you dont remember anything, or even if only on person reads this, just remember that her fanbase is high schoolers with relationship issues and she is so successful because she can connect with them in a way that singers like kelly clarkson and kenny chesney can’t simply because they havent gone through the issues as recently as taylor has.

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