Speak Now

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Speak Now
The cover artwork of Taylor Swift's 2010 album Speak Now
Standard cover[note 1]
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 25, 2010 (2010-10-25)
Recordedc. 2008–2010
Studio
Genre
Length67:29
Label
Producer
Taylor Swift chronology
Fearless
(2008)
Speak Now
(2010)
Speak Now World Tour – Live
(2011)
Singles from Speak Now
  1. "Mine"
    Released: August 3, 2010
  2. "Back to December"
    Released: November 15, 2010
  3. "Mean"
    Released: March 13, 2011
  4. "The Story of Us"
    Released: April 19, 2011
  5. "Sparks Fly"
    Released: July 18, 2011
  6. "Ours"
    Released: December 5, 2011

Speak Now is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on October 25, 2010, through Big Machine Records. Swift wrote the album in a two-year period while she was promoting her second studio album Fearless (2008). She developed Speak Now as a loose concept album about the confessions she wanted to make to people she had met but never had a chance to.

Much of Speak Now, which was inspired by Swift's growth into adulthood, is about love and heartbreak. Swift abandoned the youthful optimism of Fearless for introspection. Swift and Nathan Chapman produced Speak Now, a country pop, power pop, and pop rock album. Its songs incorporate styles including bluegrass, pop punk, arena rock, and goth rock. The melodies are characterized by acoustic instruments with dynamic electric guitars, string instruments, and drums.

After the album's release, Swift embarked on the Speak Now World Tour, which visited Asia, Europe, North America, and Australasia from February 2011 to March 2012. Six singles supported the album; "Mine" and "Back to December" reached the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100; and "Sparks Fly" and "Ours" topped the US Hot Country Songs chart. Speak Now peaked at number one on charts, and received multi-platinum certifications in Australia (double platinum) and Canada (triple platinum). In the United States, it spent six weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 and was certified six times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Speak Now received generally positive reviews from critics for offering emotional engagement and radio-friendly songs. Some critics complimented Swift's grown-up perspectives, but some others felt the lyrics fell short of maturity and refinement. At the 54th Annual Grammy Awards in 2012, Speak Now was nominated for Best Country Album, and its third single "Mean" won Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. The album appeared in 2010s decade-end lists by Billboard and Spin, and on Rolling Stone's 2012 list of the "50 Best Female Albums of All Time".

Background[edit]

American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift released her second studio album Fearless through Nashville-based Big Machine Records in November 2008. The album spent 11 weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200, the longest chart run for a female country music artist.[2] It was the best-selling album of 2009 in the United States, making then-20-year-old Swift the youngest artist to have an annual best-seller since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking album sales in 1991.[3] Two of the album's singles, "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me", performed well on both country and pop radio, bringing Swift to mainstream prominence.[4] "Love Story" was the first country song to reach number one on the Mainstream Top 40 chart and "You Belong with Me" was the first country song to top the all-genre Radio Songs chart.[5][6] At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in February 2010, Fearless won Album of the Year and Best Country Album, and its single "White Horse" won Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song.[7]

The success of Fearless made Swift one of country music's biggest stars to crossover into the mainstream market.[8][9] At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where Swift won Best Female Video for "You Belong with Me", rapper Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech, resulting in widespread media discussion and internet memes.[10][11] At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, Swift sang "You Belong with Me" and "Rhiannon" with Stevie Nicks; some media criticized Swift's performance for her weak live vocals.[12] MTV News commented the MTV Awards incident transformed Swift into a "bona-fide mainstream celebrity",[13] and The New York Times said seeing see a talented singer-songwriter like Swift "make the occasional flub" at the Grammy Awards performance was "refreshing".[14] Swift began writing for her third studio album immediately after she released Fearless and continued during her Fearless Tour in 2009–2010.[15]

Writing and lyrics[edit]

Because of her extensive touring schedule, Swift wrote her third album alone; "I'd get my best ideas at 3:00 a.m. in Arkansas, and I didn't have a co-writer around so I would just finish it. That would happen again in New York and then again in Boston and that would happen again in Nashville."[15] Swift was inspired by her growth into adulthood and conceived Speak Now as a loose concept album about things she never had a chance to tell people she had met.[15] Continuing her songwriting tradition of earlier albums, Swift strove to convey emotional honesty, writing details as specifically as possible, believing it is important for a songwriter to do so.[15] She described her songs as "diary entries" about her emotions that helped her navigate adulthood.[16][17] Swift chose not to follow the trend of making increasingly sexualized music by artists of her age, believing such a path would be incongruent with her artistic vision.[note 2]

Departing from Fearless's theme of fairy tales and starry-eyed romance, Swift explored introspection and backward-looking reflections on relationships.[15] Past relationships are a recurring theme of Speak Now.[19] On "Back to December", Swift asks an ex-lover to forgive her wrongdoings—the first time she expressed remorse.[20] "Dear John" narrates a devastating relationship between a 19-year-old woman and a much-older man who manipulates her with "dark, twisted games".[19] Swift's encounter with an ex-lover at an awards show, where they ignored each other despite Swift feeling a need to speak to him inspired "The Story of Us".[21] On "Better than Revenge", Swift affirms vengeance against a romantic rival who is known for "the things she does on the mattress".[19][22] Swift wrote the title track "Speak Now" after hearing a friend's ex-boyfriend was marrying another woman; in the lyrics, the protagonist crashes the ex-boyfriend's wedding and tries to halt it.[19][23]

Romantic optimism is another major theme of the album.[15][19] The opening track "Mine" is about Swift's hope of attaining happiness despite her tendency to "run from love" to avoid heartbreak.[16] It was the first song she included on the track list because it represents her then-new perspective of romance.[24] Swift had written "Sparks Fly"—a song about dangerous hints of love at first sight—and performed it as an unreleased song during concerts promoting Fearless.[19][25] She re-recorded the song for her third album after it received positive feedback from the audience at the 2010 CMA Music Festival.[15] "Enchanted" describes the aftermath of an encounter with a special person without knowing whether the infatuation would be reciprocated.[19] "Haunted" is about romantic obsession and "Last Kiss" is about the tender feelings Swift experienced after a breakup.[19] On "Long Live", Swift expresses gratitude to her fans and bandmates.[26] The lyrics of "Enchanted" and "Long Live" incorporate high-school-prom and fairy-tale imagery that recalls the youthful optimism of Fearless.[27][28]

Kanye West performing
The 2009 MTV Awards incident with Kanye West (pictured) inspired "Innocent".

Besides love and romance, Swift wrote about self-perception; "Never Grow Up" is a contemplation of her childhood, adulthood, and future.[22][23] The self-aware "Mean", in which Swift sings about facing a man who had tried to take her down, was inspired by her detractors.[29][30] Because of her confessional songwriting, the media became invested in Swift's personal life, believing each song is about a real person; an ex-lover, a friend, or an enemy.[18][19] Although Swift was "interested to hear the response from the guys [she'd] written about", she did not publicly name the subjects, believing the people to whom she dedicated the songs would realize this themselves.[18][19] She did reveal Kanye West, who interrupted Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, is the subject of "Innocent".[21] In "Innocent", Swift sings about forgiving a man who wronged her; according to Esquire, the track can be interpreted as "a simple lament of a lost love, or a former friend being forgiven".[31]

Swift wrote as many as 25 songs and by early 2010, she had begun to select songs for the album.[15][24] To ensure the album would be coherent, she played the songs to her family, friends, and producer Nathan Chapman,[15] who had produced for Swift since the recording of her self-titled debut album in 2006.[32] Swift chose Enchanted as a working title but Big Machine Records executive Scott Borchetta recommended Swift choose a different title, deeming Enchanted unfit for the album's grown-up perspective.[note 3] She settled on the title Speak Now, saying it best captures the album's essence: "I think it's such a metaphor, that moment where it's almost too late, and you've got to either say what it is you are feeling or deal with the consequences forever ... And this album seemed like the opportunity for me to speak now or forever hold my peace."[19] Swift finalized the track list by June 2010.[16]

Composition[edit]

Production[edit]

Swift recorded much of Speak Now with producer Nathan Chapman at his Pain in the Art Studio, Nashville.[33] Although Fearless's commercial success allowed Swift to engage a larger group of producers, she worked solely with Chapman, believing they had a productive relationship.[33] The recording process started with the recording of a first demo; Swift recorded vocals and played guitar, and Chapman sang background vocals and played other instruments. After arranging the demos, Swift and Chapman approached engineers and other musicians to tweak some elements, including overdubs and programmed drums.[33] The first track Chapman produced with Swift on Speak Now is "Mine", which they recorded within five hours.[33]

Because of his artistic autonomy, Chapman said he was responsible for "60 percent of the music on the album, including 90 percent of the guitars".[33] Much of his production for Speak Now is identical to that for Fearless; he programmed the drums with Toontrack's software Superior Drummer, played drums on the Roland Fantom G6 keyboard, added electric guitars to the arrangements, recorded Swift's vocals with an Avantone CV12 microphone and his background vocals with a Shure SM57, produced the bass with an Avalon VT737 preamplifier, and used Endless Audio's CLASP System to synchronize his editing on Pro Tools and Logic.[33] Because of Swift's country-music vision, Chapman asked other musicians, mostly in Nashville, to replace his programmed drums with live drumming and add acoustic instruments such as fiddle.[33] For instance, Chapman asked Steve Marcantonio to cut down programmed drums on "Mine" at Blackbird Studios, Nashville.[33] For some tracks, including "Back to December", Swift and her team went to Capitol Studios in Los Angeles to record string orchestration.[16][34]

After recording finished, Justin Niebank mixed the album on Pro Tools at Blackbird Studios; he had mixed some tracks on Fearless. Within three weeks, Niebank finished mixing 17 tracks including 14 on the standard edition and 3 bonus tracks on the deluxe edition.[33][35] Because Swift wanted Speak Now to be a direct communication with her audience, Niebank infused monoaural reverberation inspired by 1950s and 1960s music in the mix to evoke a "vintage" and "retro" vibe, and according to Niebank, a sense of authenticity.[33] Music engineer Hank Williams mastered the recordings.[33] Because much of Speak Now was recorded and mixed in Nashville, Niebank believed the album stood out among popular records that were manipulated with contemporaneous technologies Auto-Tune and Melodyne.[33] Although Chapman was responsible for much of the production, he said Swift's co-production credit is "not a vanity credit. We were really a team, very collaborative."[33][36]

Music[edit]

Speak Now follows the country pop production of Fearless with increasing elements of mainstream pop music.[37][38] Critics debated the album's genre. Paste described the album as a blend of country and radio-friendly pop tunes with climatic build-ups and catchy hooks.[39] Entertainment Weekly classified the album as pop and commented the only country elements are its "smattering of banjo pluck and dainty twang".[40] According to BBC Music, Speak Now veers towards pop rock.[41] Ann Powers, in a review for the Los Angeles Times, found the album borderline alternative rock and bubblegum pop with its songs experimenting with styles from "lush strings of Céline-style kitsch-pop to Americana banjo to countrypolitan electric guitar".[42] Now described Speak Now as "slickly produced power pop".[43]

Critics noted the banjo-led bluegrass track "Mean" as the album's pure country song.[9][22][44] Much of the album consists of uptempo country pop melodies, exemplified by the opening track "Mine".[38][45] Many tracks explore rock sensibilities.[46] "Sparks Fly" has an arena rock production with dramatic fiddles and guitars.[47] The title track is an acoustic guitar-driven country pop song with a 1950s rock chorus.[38][48] "The Story of Us" and "Better than Revenge" are electric-guitar-driven pop punk songs;[49] the former contains influences of dance-pop and new wave.[25][39] The arena-rock and goth-rock-inspired "Haunted" incorporates a dramatic, recurring string section.[26][49][50] The closing track "Long Live" is a heartland rock song featuring girl-group harmonies and chiming rock guitars.[26][27]

The remaining tracks of Speak Now are ballads. "Back to December" is a gentle, orchestral, string-laden ballad.[23] Speak Now's longest track, "Dear John" at six minutes and 43 seconds, is a slow-burning, bluesy, country-pop song with electric guitar licks.[9][51] The guitar ballad "Never Grow Up" incorporates an understated production that accompanies its wistful lyrics.[26][38] On "Enchanted", the acoustic guitar crescendos after each refrain, leading up to a harmony-layered coda at the end.[26][28] "Innocent" is a sparse track with tender vocals and "Last Kiss" is a slow-tempo waltz in which the instrumental halts at the end of the refrain.[38][50] "If This Was a Movie", a bonus song on the deluxe edition and the only song not written solely by Swift,[note 4] is a fast-paced, country-pop ballad with a recurring guitar riff and simple harmonies.[53]

Release and promotion[edit]

Swift announced details of Speak Now on July 20, 2010, in a live stream on Ustream.[32] Big Machine Records released the lead single "Mine" to US country radio and digital download sites on August 3, 2010.[54] The music video for "Mine" premiered on CMT on August 27, 2010.[55] The single peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100[56] and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[57] "Mine" was a chart hit in Japan, peaking at number six;[58] it reached number seven in Canada,[59] and number nine in Australia.[60] On August 18, Swift released the album's cover art, which depicts Swift with curly hair and red lipstick twirling in a deep-purple gown.[61] On September 15, Swift announced a Target-exclusive deluxe edition whose cover art is identical to that of the standard edition but the gown is red instead of purple.[62] Starting from October 4, 2010, Swift released one Speak Now track each week on the iTunes Store as part of a three-week countdown campaign; the title track was released on October 5 and was followed by "Back to December" on October 12 and "Mean" on October 19.[63] On October 22, Xfinity premiered a preview of "The Story of Us".[63]

Big Machine Records released the standard and deluxe editions of Speak Now on October 25, 2010.[62][64] The Target-exclusive CD+DVD edition contains 14 songs of the standard; the bonus tracks "Ours", "If This Was a Movie", and "Superman"; acoustic versions of "Back to December" and "Haunted"; a "pop mix" of "Mine"; a 30-minute behind-the-scenes video for "Mine"; and the music video for "Mine".[35][65] The Target edition was released to other retailers on January 17, 2012.[66] To bolster sales of the album, Swift had partnerships with Starbucks, Sony Electronics, Walmart, and Jakks Pacific.[67][68] In October 2011, Swift partnered with Elizabeth Arden, Inc. to release her fragrance brand "Wonderstruck", whose name references the lyrics of "Enchanted".[68]

Taylor Swift performing on tour in 2012
Swift on the Speak Now World Tour in 2012

To further promote Speak Now, Swift appeared on magazine covers and conducted press interviews.[16] She performed "Innocent" at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2010.[69] Her other performances at awards shows include the Country Music Association Awards[70] and the American Music Awards in 2010;[71] the Academy of Country Music Awards[72] and the Country Music Association Awards in 2011.[73] Swift also appeared on many television shows and concert specials, performing at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame[74] X Factor Italy,[63] Japanese variety show SMAPxSMAP, and music program Music Station;[75] and embarking on a promotional tour of Japan.[75] Her round of American television shows included Today, Late Show with David Letterman, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, and Dancing with the Stars.[67] She also gave private concerts to contest winners and played a semi-private concert at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.[76]

After the lead single "Mine", five more tracks from Speak Now were released as singles. "Back to December" and "Mean", which were earlier available for digital download, were released to US country radio on November 15, 2010,[77] and March 13, 2011, respectively.[78] Both singles peaking at numbers seven and ten, respectively, in Canada,[59] and "Back to December" peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100.[79] "The Story of Us" was released to US pop radio on April 19, 2011.[80] "Sparks Fly" and "Ours" were released to US country radio on July 18[81] and December 5, 2011, respectively.[82] Prior to its single release, "Ours", together with the other deluxe edition tracks, was released for digital download via the iTunes Store on November 8, 2011.[83] Both "Sparks Fly" and "Ours" reached the top 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked atop the US Hot Country Songs chart.[84][85] The RIAA certified all six of the album's singles at least platinum; both "Back to December" and "Mean" sold over two million copies each, and were certified double-platinum and triple-platinum, respectively.[86][87]

On November 23, 2010, Swift announced the Speak Now World Tour, which started in Singapore on February 9, 2011. The tour visited Asia and Europe before the North American leg started in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 27, 2011.[88] Within two days of announcement, the tour sold 625,000 tickets.[89] By April 2011, Swift had added another 16 shows to the North American leg.[90] After the final US concert in New York City on November 22, 2011, the Speak Now World Tour had covered 80 sold-out North American shows.[91] On August 10, 2011, Swift released a music video for "Sparks Fly" that includes footage from the tour.[92] She released the album Speak Now World Tour – Live, on November 21, 2011.[93] In December 2011, Swift announced an extension of the tour to Australia and New Zealand starting in March 2012.[94] Upon its completion on March 18, 2012, the Speak Now World Tour had covered 110 shows, visited 18 countries,[note 5] and grossed $123.7 million.[95]

Commercial performance[edit]

Prior to its release, Big Machine shipped two million copies of Speak Now to stores in the United States.[24] In the week ending November 13, 2010, the album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 1,047,000 copies.[96] It marked the highest single-week tally for a female country artist and became the first album since Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III (2008) to sell over one million copies in its first week of release.[97] Media publications including Billboard,[96] MTV,[67] and The New York Times[76] noted Speak Now's first-week sales figures in the context of declining record sales brought about by the emergence of music download platforms. According to The New York Times, although the music industry in 2010 saw album sales "[plunging] by more than 50 percent in the last decade", the album's strong sales proved Swift "has transcended the limitations of genre and become a pop megastar".[76] The Guinness World Records recognizes Speak Now as the fastest-selling album in the United States by a female country artist.[98]

In Speak Now's first charting week, 11 of the standard edition's 14 tracks charted on the Billboard Hot 100, making Swift the first female artist to have 11 songs on the Hot 100 at the same time.[99] After the digital release of the deluxe edition tracks in November 2011, "If This Was a Movie" charted at number 10 on the Hot 100, making Swift the first artist to have eight songs debut in the top 10.[100][note 6] With this achievement, Speak Now had three songs peaking in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100—"Mine", "Back to December", and "If This Was a Movie".[102] The album spent six non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200.[103] Speak Now was the third-best-selling album of 2010 in the United States with sales of 2,960,000 copies.[104] By October 2020, it had sold 4,710,000 copies in the United States.[105] The RIAA certified the album six-times platinum, denoting six million album-equivalent units based on sales, song downloads, and streaming.[106]

Speak Now was a chart success in the wider English-speaking world, peaking atop the albums charts of Australia,[107] Canada,[108] and New Zealand.[109] It charted at number four in Norway;[110] number six in Ireland, Japan, and the United Kingdom;[111][112][113] number eight in Mexico;[114] and number ten in Spain.[115] It was certified double-platinum in Australia[116] and triple-platinum in Canada.[117]

Critical reception[edit]

Contemporaneous professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.9/10[118]
Metacritic77/100[119]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[37]
The A.V. ClubB−[120]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[40]
The Guardian[121]
Los Angeles Times[42]
MSN Music (Expert Witness)A−[122]
Paste7.1/10[39]
Rolling Stone[27]
Slant Magazine[28]
Spin7/10[51]

Speak Now received generally positive reviews from contemporaneous critics.[89] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, gave the album an average score of 77 that was based on 20 reviews.[119] AnyDecentMusic? compiled 10 reviews and gave it an average score of 6.9 out of 10.[118]

Most critics approved of Swift's songwriting craftsmanship.[89] Reviews published in AllMusic,[37] Entertainment Weekly,[40] The Guardian,[121] the Los Angeles Times,[42] and Rolling Stone[27] complimented the songs for portraying emotions with engaging narratives and vivid details. In AllMusic's review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote; "[Swift] writes from the perspective of the moment yet has the skill of a songwriter beyond her years".[37] American Songwriter approved of Swift's self-penned material and artistic control.[22] In his consumer guide, Robert Christgau commented although the album is "overlong and overworked", the songs "evince an effort that bears a remarkable resemblance to care—that is, to caring in the best, broadest, and most emotional sense".[122]

The album's dramatic themes of heartbreak and vengeance received mixed reviews. Spin[51] and Now[43] said although it includes some memorable tracks, Speak Now is blemished by celebrity, rage, and grievances. Slant Magazine lauded Swift's melodic songwriting for offering radio-friendly pop hooks but criticized the lyrics of "Dear John", "Mean", "Innocent", and "Better than Revenge" as shallow and shortsighted.[28] According to Steven Hyden from The A.V. Club, those tracks are Speak Now's strength; "Swift's niftiest trick is being at her most likeable when she's indulging in such overt nastiness".[120] Entertainment Weekly agreed, deeming those tracks inevitable for Swift's artistic evolution.[40] The Village Voice said Swift's songwriting is "not confessional, but dramatic", and found it more nuanced and mature compared to that of Fearless.[25]

Other reviews focused on Speak Now's production. Reviews published in Paste[39] and Slant Magazine[28] call it a catchy album with radio-friendly pop tunes; Paste was impressed by the crossover appeal but deemed the overall production dull. The Village Voice took issue with Swift's weak and strained vocals.[25] BBC Music found the album's track list too long but called it overall a "sparky and affecting record".[41] Now approved of Swift's experimentation with styles other than country but considered it "too safe" and said the album is tarnished by "slickly produced power pop and a sugary sameness [that is] indiscernible from any number of today's radio-oriented artists".[43] Ann Powers appreciated Speak Now's soft, introspective tracks for personalizing pop music.[42] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times lauded the experimentation with genres such as blues and pop punk, and called Speak Now a bold step for Swift.[49]

Accolades and legacy[edit]

Speak Now was ranked 13th on Rolling Stone's list of the best albums of 2010.[123] The New York Times' Jon Caramanica ranked the album number two (behind Rick Ross's Teflon Don) in his 2010 year-end list.[124] The album appeared on lists of the best country albums of 2010; PopMatters ranked it fifth[125] and The Boot ranked it second.[126] In 2012, Speak Now appeared at number 45 on Rolling Stone's list of the "50 Best Female Albums of All Time"; the magazine commented: "She might get played on the country station, but she's one of the few genuine rock stars we've got these days, with a flawless ear for what makes a song click".[127] In 2019, Billboard listed Speak Now in 51st place on its list of the best albums of the 2010s[128] and second on its list of best country albums of the same decade.[129] The album also ranked 37th on Spin's 2010s decade-end list[130] and 71st on that of Cleveland.com;[131] and Taste of Country named it the fourth-best country album of the 2010s[132]

Speak Now received industry awards and nominations. In the US, it was nominated for Album of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards,[133] the American Country Awards,[134] and in 2011 the Country Music Association Awards.[135] At the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, Speak Now was nominated for Top Billboard 200 Album and won Top Country Album.[136] It won Favorite Album (Country) at the 2011 American Music Awards[137] and Top Selling Album of 2011 by the Canadian Country Music Association;[138] and was nominated for International Album of the Year at the 2011 Juno Awards[139] and for International Album of the Year at the 2012 Sirus XM Indie Awards in Canada.[140] At the 54th Annual Grammy Awards in 2012, Speak Now was nominated for Best Country Album, and its single "Mean" won Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song.[141]

In a 2019 retrospective review, Pitchfork's Sam Sodomsky considered Speak Now an important step for Swift to transition from adolescence to adulthood with its songs about heartbreak and celebrity.[26] Vulture's Maura Johnston said the songs about celebrity and vengeance—"Mean", "Innocent", and "Better and Revenge"—were regrettable but together with the heartfelt love songs, they shaped Swift's persona and artistry in her later career. Johnston further noted how the said songs connected to Swift's 2017 studio album Reputation, which is about celebrity and media commotion.[142] According to Consequence, Speak Now set a precedent for the rest of Swift's career in regards to her willingness to experiment sonically and the "bravery in writing intimate songs about public experiences and relationships".[143] Billboard wrote that Speak Now is a "critical step in [Swift's] evolution from country darling to global pop icon" and further called the album a "standard-setter for all pop singer-songwriters at the beginning of the 2010s".[144]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Taylor Swift, except where noted.[1]

  1. "Mine" – 3:50
  2. "Sparks Fly" – 4:20
  3. "Back to December" – 4:53
  4. "Speak Now" – 4:00
  5. "Dear John" – 6:43
  6. "Mean" – 3:57
  7. "The Story of Us" – 4:25
  8. "Never Grow Up" – 4:50
  9. "Enchanted" – 5:53
  10. "Better than Revenge" – 3:37
  11. "Innocent" – 5:02
  12. "Haunted" – 4:02
  13. "Last Kiss" – 6:07
  14. "Long Live" – 5:17

Deluxe edition (disc two)[35]

  1. "Ours" – 3:58
  2. "If This Was a Movie" (Swift, Martin Johnson) – 3:54
  3. "Superman" – 4:36
  4. "Back to December" (acoustic version) – 4:52
  5. "Haunted" (acoustic version) – 3:37
  6. "Mine" (pop mix) – 3:50
  7. [Video] On the Set: Behind the Scenes "Mine" Music Video – 30:21
  8. [Video] "Mine" Music Video – 3:55

Notes

  • The international Apple Music edition features the additional track "Mine" (US version).[145]
  • The international deluxe edition features three additional tracks: "Mine" (US version), "Back to December" (US version), and "The Story of Us" (US version).[146]

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[1]

Musicians

Production

  • Taylor Swift – background vocals direction, liner notes, songwriter, producer
  • Nathan Chapman – engineer, producer, programming
  • Chuck Ainlay – engineer
  • Joseph Anthony Baker – photography
  • Steve Blackmon – assistant
  • Drew Bollman – assistant, assistant engineer, engineer
  • Tristan Brock-Jones – assistant engineer
  • David Bryant – assistant engineer
  • Paul Buckmaster – conductor, orchestral arrangements
  • Jason Campbell – production coordination
  • Chad Carlson – engineer
  • Chris Carmichael – composer, string arrangements
  • Joseph Cassell – stylist
  • Steve Churchyard – engineer
  • Mark Crew – mixing engineer
  • Dean Gillard – production, mixing, additional instrumentation
  • Jed Hackett – engineer
  • Jeremy Hunter – engineer
  • Aubrey Hyde – wardrobe
  • Suzie Katayama – orchestra contractor
  • Steve Marcantonio – engineer
  • Seth Morton – assistant engineer
  • Emily Mueller – production assistant
  • Jemma Muradian – hair stylist
  • John Netti – assistant engineer
  • Bethany Newman – design, illustrations
  • Josh Newman – design, illustrations
  • Justin Niebank – engineer, mixing
  • Mark Petaccia – assistant engineer
  • Joel Quillen – engineer
  • Matt Rausch – assistant
  • Lowell Reynolds – engineer
  • Mike Rooney – assistant engineer
  • Austin Swift – photography
  • Todd Tidwell – assistant engineer, engineer
  • Lorrie Turk – make-up
  • Matt Ward – production, mixing, additional instrumentation
  • Hank Williams – mastering
  • Brian David Willis – engineer
  • Nathan Yarborough – assistant mixing engineer

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications for Speak Now, with pure sales where available
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[116] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[186] Gold 20,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[117] 3× Platinum 240,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[187] Gold 7,500^
Japan (RIAJ)[188] Gold 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[189] Platinum 15,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[190] Gold 15,000*
Singapore (RIAS)[191] Platinum 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[192] Platinum 300,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[106] 6× Platinum 4,710,000[note 7]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ On the deluxe edition cover, the dress is red instead of purple.
  2. ^ In a 2010 interview with Glamour, when the interviewer asked, "And you hear artists say things like, 'When I turned 21, the record label made me over into a sexualized creature'. Could you see yourself going in that direction?", Swift responded, "I don't ever look down on people for the way they choose to have fun; it's just not necessarily the way I like to have fun".[18]
  3. ^ Borchetta reportedly said to Swift; "Taylor, this record isn't about fairy tales and high school anymore. That's not where you're at."[24]
  4. ^ Although "If This Was a Movie" (written by Swift and Martin Johnson) is on the deluxe edition of Speak Now, the 14-track standard edition was solely written by Swift, and thus the album is agreed upon by the press as self-penned by Swift.[9][17][52]
  5. ^ United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Belgium, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom, and Belgium[95]
  6. ^ The other seven songs that debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 are "Change" (2008), "Fearless" (2008), "Jump then Fall" (2009), "Today Was a Fairytale" (2010), "Mine" (2010), "Speak Now" (2010), and "Back To December" (2010).[101]
  7. ^ As of October 2020[105]

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Sources[edit]

  • Perone, James E. (2017). The Words and Music of Taylor Swift. The Praeger Singer-Songwriter Collection. ABC-Clio. ISBN 978-1440852947.