Besides this, the thing that sets this album apart from the others is lyrical content. Of course, Swift's lyrics are as up to par as usual, with lines like, "we're a crooked love in a straight line down" and "you were all over me like a wine stained dress I can't wear anymore," but one thing this album does not have is the blaming of the guy in the relationship. In Swift' earlier songs she tends to blame the guy for what went wrong, most notably:
- "why would you want to take our love and tear it all apart now?" ("Perfectly Good Heart", Taylor Swift)
- "I've been giving out chances and all you do is let me down" ("You're Not Sorry", Fearless)
- "don't you think 19's too young to be messed with" (Dear John, Speak Now)
- " maybe this thing was a masterpiece till you tore it all up"("All Too Well", Red)
On this record the only time these types of lyrics come up is in the song "Bad Blood," which is reportedly about a backstabbing friend, not a guy. Swift takes a more mature stand on a relationship, understanding that it takes two to make a relationship and two to break up a relationship. Swift takes as much blame as she blames, showing how she has grown up since that wide eyed sixteen year old singing about Tim McGraw.
"Out of the Woods" and "This Love" are like some of Swift's older songs with newer production. "Woods" is a story by itself, again showing the new-found maturity Swift takes towards relationships. Some of the best lines of the album are on this indietronica influenced track. "This Love" also shows that Swift now understands that If someone comes back to you, you don't always have to take them back. This is one of only two tracks on the album that has acoustic guitar easily heard, and the only one produced by her old producer Nathan Chapman, who produced most of her debut, all of Speak Now and Fearless, and some of Red. It's a beautiful melody, with vocal layers and a synth mimicking waves on an ocean shore.
Above all, this album is a good album, but comes with some sadness and regret that country music has lost one of its biggest superstars of the last decade. Maybe Swift will change her mind and come back to the place where she grew up for her next album.
Best tracks: Style, I Wish You Would, This Love, Out of the Woods
Throwaway tracks: Shake it Off, Bad Blood
Overall rating: 3 ½ crowns