i have an excuse to listen to taylor swift: my ten-year-old daughter jane who among other things in my opinion needs a way to sneak toward country music. miley didn't stick. usually i wouldn't be out here shoving toward you what all media are already shoving toward you. but i want to say that taylor swift is astonishing. it's the songwriting that i have a hard time believing. just to mention a couple of items from speak now: "never grow up," a theme for which i'm an absolute sucker. and even though i can't cry about deaths or breakups, the tears were streaming down my face when we were listening to that thing in the car yesterday. but i would really draw your attention to "mean." swift often writes in personae, here i believe of a male victim of abuse at the hands of his drunken, loutish father. ok what 19-year-old girl can do something like that and make it stick? exactly one, i believe. the rest of the album isn't as unbelievable (though check, for example "better than revenge"; avril lavigne should listen to that song a dozen times, taking notes not only on the lyrics but the melody and the arrangement; cf avril's 'boyfriend'). but all of it is good.