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Speak Now (song)

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"Speak Now"
Promotional single by Taylor Swift from the album Speak Now
Released October 5, 2010
Format Promo, digital download
Genre Country pop
Length 4:02
Label Big Machine
Writer Taylor Swift
Producer Nathan Chapman, Taylor Swift

For the lyrics see Speak Now (lyrics)

Taylor Swift says of this song:

This song was inspired by one of my friends who was telling me about her childhood sweetheart, crush guy. They were kind of together in high school and went their separate ways, and it was kind of understood that they were gonna get back together. Then, she one day comes in and tells me he's getting married. He had met this girl who was just this mean person who made him completely stop talking to all of his friends, cut off his family, had him like so completely isolated. And I just, kind of randomly, was like, "So, you gonna speak now?" She was like, "What do you mean?" And I was like "Oh, you know, like storm the church, speak now or forever hold your peace? I'll go with you. I'll play guitar. It would be great." She was just kind of laughing, and later on I just was wrapping my mind around that idea of how tragic it would be if someone you loved was marrying somebody else.

Later I had a dream about one of my ex-boyfriends getting married, and it just all came together that I needed to write this song about interrupting a wedding. For me, I like to think of it as good versus evil, and this girl is so completely painted as the evil one. So this is "Speak Now."

"Speak Now" is a country pop song performed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The song was solely written by Swift and produced by Nathan Chapman with Swift's aid. It was released on October 5, 2010 by Big Machine Records as a promotional single from Swift's third studio album, Speak Now. Swift wrote the song about interrupting a wedding, after conversing with her friend, whose ex-boyfriend would soon wed to someone else, and having a dream about one of her own ex-boyfriends marrying another girl. The song relies on acoustic guitar and is a narration of from the perspective of a person who crashes her former love's wedding in attempt to win him back.

The song opened to critical acclaim for its lyrical detail. "Speak Now" had successful commercial outcomes in Canada and the United States, charting at number eight on both the Canadian Hot 100 and the Billboard Hot 100. Its appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 marked Swift's sixth top ten debut, which made her the artist with the most top ten debuts in the history of the chart. "Speak Now" also managed to garner enough airplay to chart on the Hot Country Songs Chart.

BackgroundEdit

"Speak Now" was written by Swift as were all the tracks for the album.[1] The song was inspired by one of Swift's dear friends and the story of she and her high school sweetheart. The couple went their separate ways after high school — with the idea that they would get back together. Swift acknowledged that she thought it was inevitable for them to reunite. One day, Swift's friend informed Swift that her high school sweetheart would soon wed. "He had met this girl who's just this horrible, mean person who made him completely stop talking to all of his friends, cut off his family. She had him so completely isolated,"[2] says Swift. She asked her friend if she would "speak now." Perplexed, her friend asked for an explanation, and she answered, "You know, storm the church. 'Speak now or forever hold your peace.' I'll go with you. I'll play guitar. It'd be great."[2] Swift's friend found this to be humorous, laughing at the idea.[2]

After speaking with her friend, Swift became deeply fixated on the idea of how tragic it would be for the person one loved to wed someone else. That night, Swift experienced a dream where one of her own ex-boyfriends married another girl. To her, this signaled that she had to compose a song about interrupting a wedding. In retrospection, she concluded, "For me, I like to think of it as good versus evil. And this girl is just completely — just the evil one."[2] Swift entitled the album after "Speak Now" because it fit the album's concept, each song being a different confession to a person, well.[1] "It's called Speak Now, and that pertains to the album as a concept and as an entire theme of the record more than I can even tell you", she said.[3] A 30-second clip of the song was previewed on Comcast's Xfinitytv.com on October 4, 2010.[4] "Speak Now" was released as a promotional single from Speak Now on October 5, 2010 as part of Countdown to Speak Now, an exclusive campaign launched by the iTunes Store.[5][6] On a promotional tour to promote the album "Speak Now", Taylor Swift performed "Speak Now" on The Late Show With David Letterman

In her Thanksgiving NBC special, she explained:

Real life is a funny thing you know. In real life, saying the right thing at the right moment is beyond crucial. So crucial, in fact, that most of us start to hesitate - for fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But lately, what I've begun to fear more than that is letting the moment pass without saying anything. I think you deserve to look back on your life without this chorus of resounding voices saying 'I could've. But it's too late now'. So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now.

CompositionEdit

"Speak Now" is a country pop track with a length of four minutes and two seconds.[7] It has a predominant pop music composition, intertwined with various country elements.[8] The song is set in common time and has a fast tempo of 120 beats per minute. It is written in the key of G major and Swift's vocals span two octaves, from A3 to D5.[9] Swift's vocals begin in a hushed tone, gradually turn grow, and at one point belt the song's title.[10] The song features different twangy, up-and-down vocal hooks might, in similarity to "You Belong with Me".[8] It follows the chord progression G–D–Am–C.[9] The song's instrumentation is based on acoustic guitar; it eventually has its own gentle solo.[10]

In the lyrics of "Speak Now", Swift narrates about crashing her former love's wedding in attempt to win him back.[10] The opening lines acknowledge that, although out of character, Swift still in love with her ex-boyfriend and wants to make sure he does not marry the wrong girl. Throughout the song's verses, Swift sneaks in the wedding and describes her observations, such as the bride-to-be's bearing of a poofy wedding gown, her cumulative family, and an organist playing "Bridal Chorus".[8][11] In "Speak Now"'s refrains, Swift pleads her ex-boyfriend to not say his vows in order to run away with her.[10][11] The bridge has Swift responding to the priest's calling of "Speak now or forever hold your peace" before repeating the opening lines. The last refrain is altered to tell that the groom and Swift indeed run away together.[11]

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

Simon Vozick-Levinson of Entertainment Weekly deemed "Speak Now" one of Swift's best songs yet. He also said, "Her expressive delivery of the lyrics makes up for any shortcomings as a technical vocalist" and that it was "expertly catchy". He concluded that he unable to stop playing the song after he heard it.[8] Bill Lamb of About.com said the song was "brilliant". He continued, "The song is sweet, funny, bratty, and edgy all at the same time. Taylor Swift remains one of our most gifted young lyricists."[12]

Chart performanceEdit

On the week ending October 23, 2010, "Speak Now" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number eight due to the sales of 217,000 digital downloads. With that week's appearance on the chart, "Speak Now" became Swift's sixth top ten debut and, therefore, set the mark that made Swift the artist with most top ten debuts in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, surpassing the five top ten entries earned by Mariah Carey from 1995 to 1998.[13] It also charted at number sixty on the Hot Country Songs Chart on the week ending October 23, 2010.[14] Elsewhere in North America, the track debuted at number eight on the Canadian Hot 100.[15] In Australia, "Speak Now" debuted at number twenty.[16]

Track listingEdit

  • Digital Download[5]
  1. "Speak Now" - 4:02

ChartsEdit

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart

[16]

20
Canadian Hot 100

[15]

8
New Zealand Singles Chart

[17]

34
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[15] 8
U.S. Hot Country Songs[18] 58

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kreps, Daniel (July 21, 2010). "Taylor Swift Announces Third Album, 'Speak Now'". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/17386/183729. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Songs of Speak Now: Speak Now". Xfnitytv.com. Comcast. http://www.fancast.com/tv/Taylor-Swift/141083/1603972492/Songs-Of-Speak-Now%3A-Speak-Now-HD/videos. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  3. Dinh, James (July 20, 2010). "Taylor Swift Reveals Next Album, Speak Now, Is Due October 25". MTV News. Viacom. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1644110/20100720/swift__taylor.jhtml. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  4. Vena, Jocelyn (September 27, 2010). "Taylor Swift Rolling Out Speak Now Tracks Early". MTV News. Viacom. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1648777/20100927/swift__taylor.jhtml. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Speak Now - Single by Taylor Swift". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/speak-now/id396214115?i=396214117&v0=WWW-NAUS-ITSTOP100-SONGS&ign-mpt=uo%3D2. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  6. "Countdown to Speak Now". iTunes Store. Apple, Inc. http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/taylor-swift-countdown-to/id396466660. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  7. "allmusic {{{Speak Now > Overview}}}". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. http://allmusic.com/album/speak-now-r1948200. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Vozick-Levinson, Simon (October 5, 2010). "Taylor Swift releases 'Speak Now' single: Like it?". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. http://music-mix.ew.com/2010/10/05/taylor-swift-speak-now/. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Digital sheet music - Taylor Swift - Speak Now". Musicnotes.com. Alfred Publishing. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Lipshutz, Jason (October 5, 2010). "Taylor Swift Releases 'Speak Now' Title Track". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. http://www.billboard.com/#/news/taylor-swift-releases-speak-now-title-track-1004119004.story. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Vena, Jocelyn (October 5, 2010). "Taylor Swift Previews 'Speak Now'". MTV News. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1649313/20101005/swift__taylor.jhtml. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  12. Lamb, Bill (October 5, 2010). "Taylor Swift Drops Brilliant "Speak Now" Title Song From Upcoming Album and Storms the Charts". About.com. The New York Times Company. http://top40.about.com/b/2010/10/05/taylor-swift-drops-brilliant-speak-now-title-song-from-upcoming-album-and-storms-the-charts.htm. Retrieved October 10, 2010. 
  13. Caulfield, Keith; Pietroluongo, Silvio (October 14, 2010). "Chart Moves: 'Glee,' Mavis Staples, Stephen Colbert, 'Social Network,' Pink". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3id48ea20039ae74bdfcc9ebf4439e73c1. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  14. "Chart Highlights: Country, Dance/Club Play Songs & More". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. October 11, 2010. http://www.billboard.com/column/chartbeat/chart-highlights-country-dance-club-play-1004120283.story. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Speak Now - Taylor Swift". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. http://www.billboard.com/#/song/taylor-swift/speak-now/22821647. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Taylor Swift - Speak Now (Song)". Australian-charts.com. Australian Recording Industry Association. October 18, 2010. http://www.australian-charts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Taylor+Swift&titel=Speak+Now&cat=s. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 
  17. "Taylor Swift - Speak Now (Song)". Charts.org.nz. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. http://charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=Taylor+Swift&titel=Speak+Now&cat=s. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  18. "Country Songs: Week of November 13, 2010 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard. Neilsen Business Media, Inc. http://www.billboard.com/charts/country-songs?chartDate=2010-11-13&order=gainer. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 

See alsoEdit

Speak Now (lyrics)

External linkEdit

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