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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Taylor Swift's second album, Speak Now, is decidedly more mature than her debut record, Fearless -- including deeper, more thoughtful lyrics about relationships of all kinds, as well as a few more references to sexual intimacy. That said, the CD is still free of profanity and explicit sex, making it an age-appropriate choice for older tweens and young teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
SPEAK NOW is the sophomore album from wildly popular young country star Taylor Swift. As in her first record, Fearless, Swift spends much of her second CD exploring the trials and tribulations of growing up. This time, however, Swift sings about things that happened when she was nearly through with her teens; in other words, the subject matter has become a bit more serious and introspective. For example, in "Dear John," the song about her rumored past romance with fellow musician and notorious heartbreaker John Mayer, Swift sings, "And I lived in your chess game, but you changed the rules every day / Wondering which version of you I might get on the phone tonight / Well I stopped picking up, and this song is to let you know why." Despite the more intense emotions, however, Swift still steers clear of profanity, graphic sexual descriptions, and references to substance use -- making this album age-appropriate overall for older tweens and young adults.
Is it any good?
Vocally, Swift has nowhere near the chops of contemporaries like Carrie Underwood or Beyonce. That said, there's a simple, pure quality to her voice that lends itself well to her many innocent songs about having her heart broken. She also continues to deserve props for writing all of her own songs -- an accomplishment that few of her peers can claim. And while they may not be the most musically complex tunes ever composed, those songs are actually good, lingering in your mind long after they're over.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the specific topics mentioned in these songs, such as the topic of bullying that's covered in the tune "Mean." Does Swift offer any good advice that her listeners can follow when confronting these issues in their own lives?
In the song "Never Grown Up," what do you think of Swift's message about "Don't you ever grow up, just stay this little / Don't you ever grow up, it can stay this simple"? Is this message realistic?