The singer began her career in the country more than 10 years ago
Taylor Swift is a major representative of world pop, but she started her career in the country in 2006. Recently, the singer announced that she will be performing in São Paulo in 2019 and the tickets sold out quickly.
Despite being currently in pop, the singer started her career in country music. In the middle, she has always been criticized for not carrying the “full essence” of rhythm.
But to claim that Taylor Swift does not have the country essence is to deny the knowledge of the singer’s musicality. Many of her main tracks evoke classical country in her instruments, themes and music structure.
“Tim McGraw” (2006)
At 16, Swift became dear to the Nashville community for her debut single “Tim McGraw”, named after one of the most prolific modern country stars. With its freestyle, acoustic, the song features a slightly scratched guitar and lush violin background, emphasizes the formidable talent of Swift’s compositions – and his gift for choosing simple, powerful images to paint a romantic portrait. Indeed, between the “boy in a Chevy truck,” the “faded blue jeans,” and the “dark roads at night,” one could argue that Swift’s evocative lyrics that set the stage for the excessive use of the country era.
“Teardrops on My Guitar” (2006)
The successor song to “Tim McGraw”, “Teardrops on My Guitar” follows the sad spirit line that defines so many classic country ballads, but does not define the drama of their relationship in a smoky bar. On the contrary, as her clip indicates, “Teardrops” is more suitable for a high school runner. Like many of the songs in Taylor’s self-titled debut album, the instrumentation of “Teardrops” is markedly simple, leaving room in the arrangement for long, languid guitar notes.
“Our Song” (2006)
A playful violin and a brave banjo form the backbone for Taylor’s first animated single, a beautiful reflection on a young couple’s definition of “song”. A definition is composed of small moments like “the noise of the door” and “coming out late, knocking on your window”. The slightest sign of a southern accent in phrases like “mother” and “at the wheel” helped to sell Swift’s country image.
“Picture to Burn” (2006)
Taylor Swift channeled the despised female spirit of singers like Tammy Wynette and Miranda Lambert into this song most influenced by rock and most entertaining of her debut album. The song with bold lyrics (“I hate this stupid old pickup that you never let me drive”) reached a strength with the listeners, who liked Swift’s daring perspective.
Taylor’s second album, Fearless, was remarkably less country than his debut album, and the singles “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” were at the top of the pop charts. But while those were reaching traditional audiences, critics were drawn to the moving music of “Fifteen,” a song skilfully written about the dangers of high school, young love and even the loss of virginity. The subject raises Swift’s reputation as a composer.
“The Best Day” (2008)
Although Swift has a proven track record of being dramatic, explosive melodramatic, it is often more exciting when it chooses to be simple. Such was the case in “The Best Day”, a sweetly simple acoustic hymn to her mother, Andrea, on her second Fearless album. The Mother’s Day hymn is a musical photo from the album of healthy family memories, such as a visit to the pumpkin patch (“I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home”, Swift recalls) and hand painting in the kitchen.
Swift’s scathing replica to critics, a thematic precursor to his current pop hit “Shake It Off,” was the most classic country song on his third album, Speak Now. With a simple arrangement directed by banjo, mandolin and violin – not to mention light clapping as the main form of percussion – “Mean” evokes unpretentiousness, a vision Swift brought to life on stage during his 2012 Grammy performance.
“Dear John” (2010)
Speaking of being “bad”, Swift’s almost 7-minute song for an ex, all the signs point to John Mayer, and his “haunted and confused games” is perhaps one of the most severe, alongside “Better Than Revenge”. The ballad, that is framed by a badge, possesses guitars and creates tension, once it snakes its way through a badly advised relationship, arriving to boil with the exclamation well bitter: “I am shining as fireworks on its empty and sad city”.
“Begin Again” (2012)
Initially released as a promotional single by Red, “Begin Again” was quickly requested on country radio after the release of the single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” proved a bit different for the format. The captivating melody about a perfect first date, which draws attention because it is scarce, especially considering the heavy production on the rest of the album. Guitar and mandolin appear subtly in the arrangement.
“All Too Well” (2012)
If there’s one thing Nashville is proud of, it’s the ability to weave a story through music, and perhaps there’s no better example of courage in Swift’s narrative than “All Too Well,” a beautiful ballad about a melancholy break-up, supposedly about Jake Gyllenhaal, which many claimed to be Red’s highlight. What begins as a nostalgic reflection on autumn leaves and a lost handkerchief builds an epic wounded heart that culminates in the killer label: “So you call me back just to break me, like a promise/so casually cruel, under the pretext of being honest”.