|Studio album by Taylor Swift|
|Released||October 24, 2006|
|Recorded||June - September 2006; Darhorse Recording, Love Shack, Quad Studios-A, Sound Cottage, Sound Emporium|
|Genre||Country, country pop|
|Producer||Scott Borchetta (executive), Nathan Chapman, Robert Ellis Orrall|
|Taylor Swift chronology|
|Singles from Taylor Swift|
Taylor Swift is the eponymous debut studio album by American country singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. After signing a record deal in 2005, the album was released on October 24, 2006 by Big Machine Records. Most of the writing took place during Swift's freshman year of high school. Swift wrote or co-wrote every song on Taylor Swift; most co-written songs feature Liz Rose as a writer. Swift experimented to record the album with several album producers, ultimately choosing the producer of her demo album, Nathan Chapman. Musically, the album is styled to blend country music and pop music and lyrically, it speaks of romantic relationships, a couple of which Swift wrote from observing relationships before being in one.
Taylor Swift was received positively by contemporary critics, who praised Swift's talent. The album enjoyed commercial success; in the United States, it peaked at number five on the Billboard 200, topped the Top Country Albums Chart for twenty-four non-consecutive weeks, and was certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Taylor Swift marked the longest stay on the Billboard 200 by any album released in the decade. It also charted in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Five singles were released from the album, all of which were certified platinum by the RIAA. "Tim McGraw" was released as the lead single from Taylor Swift; it became a top ten on Billboard's Hot Country Songs. "Teardrops on My Guitar" was released as the second single from Taylor Swift, becoming the best-charting song from Taylor Swift on the Billboard Hot 100. "Our Song" was released as the third single from the album and became Swift's first number-one on Hot Country Songs. "Picture to Burn" and "Should've Said No" were released as the fourth single and fifth single from the album, respectively, both becoming a success on the country-genre charts in the United States and the latter peaking at number eighteen on the New Zealand Singles Chart. Swift promoted Taylor Swift by performing at several venues, which included her opening for Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Brad Paisley, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
Swift is from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania and developed an early interest in country music and songwriting. When she was eleven, she and her family made their first visit to Nashville, Tennessee in peruse of a record deal, though nothing came out of it. Swift was often judged and neglected by record labels for being too young. In regards to the labels which rejected her, she said,
|“||"I can understand. They were afraid to put out a 13-year-old. They were afraid to put out a 14-year-old. Then they were afraid to put out a 15-year-old. Then they were nervous about putting out a 16-year-old. And I'm sure if I hadn't signed with Scott Borchetta [head of Big Machine Records], everybody would be afraid to put out a 17-year-old."||”|
Two years later, her family moved to Nashville; in the same year, Swift development deal with RCA Records, which she ultimately rejected because she refused to be on an artist development deal. At the age of fourteen, she received a publishing contract with Sony/ATV Music. In 2005, while performing at The Bluebird Café, Swift caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine Records; she eventually signed with the label.
Themes and inspirationEdit
Swift began working on her debut album in the same year she was signed to Big Machine Records. Swift describes Taylor Swift as "[her] diary from [her] early teens" and says she wrote the songs featured on the album "in real time", as she was experiencing them. As a result, the songs on Taylor Swift describe coming of age experiences such as insecurity, young love, and teenage angst. Most songs on the album were written during Swift's freshman year of high school.
|“||"You listen to my album and it sounds like I've had 500 boyfriends. But that's really not the case. I found that you don't have to date someone to write a song about them [...] I was going through a really tough time in school and facing a lot of rejection among my peers.I found that I was alone a lot of the time, kind of on the outside looking into their discussions and the things they were saying to each other. They really didn't talk to me. In the process of coming to that realization, I started developing this really keen sense of observation -- of how to watch people and see what they did. From that sense, I was able to write songs about relationships when I was thirteen but not in relationships."||”|
Development and musicEdit
Swift wrote "Tim McGraw" during her freshman year, knowing that she and her senior boyfriend, Brandon Borello, would break up at the end of the year when he left for college. Rose said Swift showed up at her after school job writing songs for Sony/ATV "with the idea and the melody. She knew exactly what she wanted." The nostalgic song describes a summer romance and Swift's hope that when Borello "think[s] Tim McGraw" he would "think [her] favorite song" – McGraw's "Can't Tell Me Nothin" – and remember her. Conversely, "Picture to Burn" describes a girl furious after a break-up. Swift says that while the song is about "just being mad" and is "completely, brutally honest"; she gave it a comedic edge. While at work after school, Swift "found [her]self just sitting there with [her] guitar going, 'I hate his stupid truck that he doesn't let me drive. He's such a redneck! Oh my God!'," a line which developed into the song's chorus. The up-tempo song is heavy with banjos and drums, while the chorus is marked by distorted guitars and big vocals.
The singer penned the autobiographical song "The Outside" as an outlet at age twelve, the year she began writing her own songs. Like many of the other songs she wrote early on, the song describes the unhappiness and loneliness Swift felt when her love of country music alienated her from her peers. Swift wrote "Tied Together with a Smile" the day she learned one of her best friends was bulimic, a fact which shocked her. She recalled, "How can somebody that seems so strong have such a horrible, horrible weakness? Something that is killing her." The lyrics to "Tied Together with a Smile" describe a beautiful girl trying to hide her inner turbulence and mourn that "You're tied together with a smile/But you're coming undone". Swift commented, "I always thought that one of the biggest overlooked problems American girls face is insecurity." She wrote "Should've Said No" according to "something really, really dramatic and crazy happening to [her] and [her] needing to address it in the form of music". The song was a last minute addition to Taylor Swift: Swift had written it two days before mastering was scheduled and booklets were about to be printed; she then called her produced and completed the song overnight.
"Mary's Song (Oh My My My)" was actually inspired by her next-door neighbors' long lasting marriage, being the opposite of what tabloids fixate on. Swift wrote "Our Song" for her freshman year of high school talent show with no intentions of including it on the album. She claimed she "just knew there was something about it" and chose to include it on Taylor Swift. "I wrote it about this guy I was dating, and how we didn't have a song. So I went ahead and wrote us one." The song is a narrative and describes a young couple who use the events in their lives in place of a regular song. The banjo-riddled song is placed at the end of the album due to its closing lyrics, a request to "play it again". "Invisible" is ballad describing loneliness and heartache of going unnoticed. Sean Dooley of About.com writes, the "piano-driven song [...] perfectly captures the awkward teenage angst we all endure—or have endured—at one time or another."
While recording her demo album, Swift worked with demo producer Nathan Chapman, who she met in a little shed behind a publishing company she was at. Swift said, "I'd always go in there and play him some new songs, and the next week he would have this awesome track, on which he played every instrument, and it sounded like a record. We did this for a period of a year to two years before I got my record deal."
To record Taylor Swift, she had to chose which album producer she would work with: "Then, all of a sudden, it was, 'OK, we're going to use this producer' or 'We're going to use that producer.'" After experimenting with different producers, originating from Nashville, Swift chose Chapman because of the unique sound he put into songs. Big Machine Records was skeptical about hiring Chapman because he had never done a studio album prior to Taylor Swift, only demos. Swift described the songs he produced as "the right chemistry hit[ting]" and therefore, Big Machine Records accepted Chapman producing some of the album's songs. In the end, Chapman produced all but one of the tracks on Taylor Swift. Recording was executed during a four month period before 2006 was over.
|Country Standard Time||Favorable|
|Country Weekly||3.5/5 stars|
|The Toledo Blade||Favorable|
Taylor Swift received positive review from contemporary critics. Shelly Fabian of About.com praised Swift as "one of the most talented, young performers on the country charts today" and for doing "a fabulous job of blending modern country with the traditional". Fabian praised Taylor Swift for having both "fun, uptempo" song, like "Picture to Burn" and "Our Song", and emotional songs, like "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Tied Together with a Smile". Jeff Tamarkin of Allmusic Swift as a "a fresh, still girlish voice, full of hope and naïveté, but it's also a confident and mature one". He said her "talent to be reckoned" was portrayed through the songs "Tim McGraw", "The Outside", and "Mary's Song (Oh My My My)". Tmarkin criticized producer Nathan Chapman for applying "a gloss that not all [songs] really require and in some cases would do better to shed". Rick Bell of Country Standard Time gave a positive review, saying that Swift had "smart songwriting" and that "her deeply personal, self-penned songs, particularly 'The Outside' and 'Our Song'" were "stirring." He compared her sound to Cyndi Thomson and Hilary Duff. Chris Neal of Country Weekly said that Swift "demonstrat[es] an honesty, intelligence and idealism with which listeners of any age will be able to connect" and added that "the more thoughtful material suggests a talent poised to last well past high school." Ken Rosenbaum of The Toledo Blade wrote Swift "deftly handles lyrics and subjects in that shadowy area between teenager and womanhood."
On the week ending November 11, 2006, Taylor Swift debuted at number nineteen on the Billboard 200 due to sales of 40,000 copies. After sixty-three weeks on the Billboard 200, on the week ending January 19, 2008, the album reached its peak at number five due to sales of 47,000 copies. Taylor Swift marked the longest stay on the Billboard 200 by any album released in the decade. The album topped Billboard's Top Country Albums Chart for twenty-four non-consecutive weeks. On the week ending August 2, 2008, Swift's EP Beautiful Eyes replaced Taylor Swift as the chart's number one album. With Taylor Swift charting at number two, Swift became the first artist to hold the first two positions on Top Country Albums since LeAnn Rimes charted in 1997 with Blue (1996) and Unchained Melody: The Early Years (1997). On August 17, 2009, the album was certified four times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the shipment of 4,000,000 copies. Taylor Swift peaked at number fourteen on the Canadian Albums Chart and at number-one on the Canadian Country Albums Chart. Taylor Swift was certified platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for the shipment of 80,000 copies.
In Australia, Taylor Swift peaked at number thirty-three on the main chart and at number three on the country-genre chart. On the week ending September 5, 2009, it entered the UK Albums Chart at number eighty-eight; the following week, it reached its peak at number eighty-one. It was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for the shipment of 60,000 copies.
"Tim McGraw" was released as the lead single from Taylor Swift on June 19, 2006. The song was critically appreciated for Swift's delivery. "Tim McGraw" enjoyed commercial success, peaking at number forty on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number six on Billboard's Hot Country Songs; it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the shipment of 1,000,000 copies.
"Teardrops on My Guitar" was released as the second single from Taylor Swift. "Teardrops on My Guitar" received critical success for its memorable chorus and crossover potential, as well as commercial success by becoming the best-charting single from Taylor Swift on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number thirteen. It became Swift's first pop crossover hit, peaking at number eleven on the now-canceled Pop 100 chart. The song was certified double platinum by the RIAA for the shipment of 2,000,000 copies. "Teardrops on My Guitar" peaked at number forty-five in Canada and at number fifty-one in the United Kingdom.
"Our Song" was released as the third single from the album. The song was critically favored, being described as "gem". "Our Song" peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified double platinum by the RIAA; it also became Swift's first-number one on Hot Country Songs. The song peaked at number thirty on the Canadian Hot 100, becoming the best-charting single from Taylor Swift in Canada.
"Picture to Burn" was released as the fourth single from Taylor Swift. "Picture to Burn" was appreciated by contemporary critics for lyrics reflecting feminism. It became a fourth consecutive top ten single for Swift on the United States' chart Hot Country Songs and was certified platinum by the RIAA.
"Should've Said No" was released as the fifth and final single from the album. In the United States, "Should've Said No" became Swift's second number-one on Hot Country Songs and was certified platinum by the RIAA. The song made its highest international peak in the New Zealand Singles Chart, at number eighteen.
Swift's first broadcast performance of "Tim McGraw" was on October 24, 2006 on Good Morning America. Other songs from Taylor Swift have been performed on television programs, award shows, and festivals such as The Megan Mullally Show, the New Faces Show, America's Got Talent, TRL, the 2008 CMT Music Awards, and the Academy of Country Music. Swift spent much of 2006 promoting "Tim McGraw" and Taylor Swift in a radio tour. In regards to the extensive radio tour, Swift commented, "Radio tours for most artists last six weeks. Mine lasted six months. That's because I wanted it to. I wanted to meet every single one of the people that was helping me out."
Swift also promoted the album by performing as an opening act for several country artists' concert tours. She opened for Rascal Flatts on several dates, from October 19 to November 3, 2006, included on the Me and My Gang Tour (2006–07), performing a total of five songs from the album. She also served as opening act on twenty dates for George Strait's 2007 United States tour, and selected dates for Brad Paisley's Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour (2007–08); Swift served as an opening act during all 2007 legs of the tour. During mid-2007, Swift engaged as the opening act on several dates for Tim McGraw's and Faith Hill's joint tour, Soul2Soul II Tour (2006–07). Swift again opened for Flatts for his Still Feels Good Tour in 2008. In addition, Swift performs six songs from Taylor Swift on her first headlining tour, the Fearless Tour (2009–10).
This version was released to Canada and the United States.
|1.||"Tim McGraw"||Taylor Swift, Liz Rose||3:54|
|2.||"Picture to Burn"||Swift, Rose||2:57|
|3.||"Teardrops on My Guitar"||Swift, Rose||3:36|
|4.||"A Place in This World"||Swift, Robert Ellis Orrall, Angelo Petraglia||3:22|
|5.||"Cold as You"||Swift, Rose||4:01|
|7.||"Tied Together with a Smile"||Swift, Rose||4:11|
|8.||"Stay Beautiful"||Swift, Rose||4:00|
|9.||"Should've Said No"||Swift||4:06|
|10.||"Mary's Song (Oh My My My)"||Swift, Rose||3:35|
Bonus track and international editionEdit
Charts, sales, and processionEdit
As listed in liner notes.
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