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, a teen country sensation, writes from the heart about subjects of interest to other tweens and teens -- mostly the tricky business of negotiating relationships when you don't have a lot of experience and can't help wearing your heart on your sleeve. The lyrics and messages are fine for kids to hear.
What's the story?
Like many established artists who've preceded her, Taylor Swift tends to write the same song over and over again -- but it's a darn good one, with the radio-friendly musical hooks, catchy lyrics, and expressive delivery that have made this teen a country music sensation. She nails teen love and heartbreak in lyrics like "he's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar/he's the reason I've been wishing on the wishing star" and "so watch me strike a match on all my wasted time/as far as I'm concerned you're just another picture to burn."
Is it any good?
With lovely production heavy on acoustic instrumentals (you'll hear dobro, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin tracks carefully mixed over a highly-skilled rhythm section with journeyman professionalism), Taylor's dusky yet childlike vocals reach directly for the teen heart. Though she has her vocal limitations, this young artist is smart enough to understand her strengths and play to them -- and smart enough to write a terrific song.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the song "Teardrops on My Guitar," about a girl's unrequited crush on a guy who loves someone else (raise your hand if you've never been there!). What would you do if you were the one with the crush? Also, "Should've Said No" draws a hard line with a boyfriend caught cheating. Do you think dumping the guy is appropriate, or might there be some room for explanation and even forgiveness?