By Robyn Collins
Throughout the month of October, Radio.com took a look back at Taylor Swift’s career, in honor of the tenth anniversary of her self-titled debut album. In our final installment in our series, we revisit 2010’s Speak Now.
For Speak Now, Taylor Swift’s third studio album, the singer/songwriter again teamed up with Nathan Chapman to produce the pop-flavored record, which — arguably — began her inevitable crossover into the genre. Written entirely by the artist, the themes were once again love, romance, heartbreak and relationships.
Speak Now saw her transitioning from being a country singer to a household hame. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, giving Swift her second consecutive chart-topper in the U.S. Its first-week sales of 1,047,000 copies was the fifth-biggest debut in history for a female artist, the third biggest ever for a country album (the first being Swift’s own Red album later released in 2012), the biggest in five and a half years, and the biggest first week sales of 2010.
In titling the album, Swift told New York Magazine, “I just kept going back to ‘Speak Now,’ because I think it’s a metaphor for so many things we go through in life, that moment where it’s almost too late, and you’ve gotta either say what it is you are feeling or deal with the consequences forever.”
In classic Tay fashion, for Speak Now, she wrote about her life. And as has often been the case since she became a household name, her songs about exes were allegedly about famous guys. Notably “Dear John,” which has been rumored to be about her relationship with John Mayer, and “Back to December,” and “The Story of Us” which Swifties believe reflect on her relationship with Twilight’s Taylor Lautner.
Of course, She wrote the GRAMMY-winning anti-bullying anthem, “Mean,” about a critic who wrote nasty things about her.
While critical barbs may have been tough to live down, the Speak Now era also included a beef that cut a lot deeper.
“Innocent,” was a nod to her infamous conflict with rap mogul Kanye West (a conflict which was never really resolved, and which continues on through today). She said, “I think a lot of people expected me to write a song about him. But for me it was important to write a song to him.”
Of course, this year, he wrote a song back to, or about, her. “Famous” — which, by the way, had 17 co-writers and 9 co-producers — saw West imaging that he’d one day have sex with Swift, and sees him taking credit for her fame, showed that he was still a bit obsessed with her.
And while Swift clearly was looking to transcend the country genre and expand into pop, there have surely must have been times where she wondered if that was the right move.
But the fact is: she’s able to write her own songs, and as long as she can do that, she’ll be able to write for pop, country, or any other genre that she sets her mind to.