Taylor Swift, Fearless
Credit: Joseph Anthony Baker

A button-cute blond teen with a pocket full of hits — sounds like the early aughts all over again, no? But aside from sharing, possibly, a box of Clairol, there is nothing remotely Britney- or Christina-esque about Swift, the Pennsylvania-born country-pop wunderkind who conquered both Nashville and the mainstream with her 2006 debut. In fact, she does something rarely seen from stars in either market: write or co-write all her material. On Fearless, Swift is once again a storyteller; her songs are narratives set to music, albeit mostly ones that concern love. Some boys are dreamy (see: ”Fearless,” ”Love Story”), some are dolts (”White Horse,” ”Tell Me Why”), and others just very hard to catch (”Hey Stephen,” ”You Belong With Me”). Her supple, lightly twangy vocals fit the album’s lilting melodies (most of the slick, radio-friendly instrumentation here is purely functional), and her sentiments, though sometimes naive, are refreshingly age-appropriate. When she sings about sexuality, she sounds like a real teen, not some manufactured vixen-Lolita, as on the beautifully crafted ”Fifteen” (”Abigail gave everything she had/To a boy who changed his mind”). For now, her primary fan base will probably remain the young girls she speaks to so well — but it will be exciting to watch her precocious talent grow. B

DOWNLOAD THIS: Listen to songs from the new album on the singer’s MySpace

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