Following the energetic “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift returns to her dreamier, country side with “Begin Again.”
The well-crafted acoustic ballad, bolstered by a gentle pedal steel and mandolin, tells the tale of a starting over while the scars of a past love affair have barely scabbed over and remain brutally raw.
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“I’ve been spending the last eight months thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end. On a Wednesday in a cafe, I watched it begin again,” Swift sings. She recounts how everything she did seemed to grate on her ex— whether it was wearing high heels or having too many James Taylor records—as she goes on her first date after a mourning period.
On “Never, Ever,” Swift seems to be 15 instead of 22. Here, similar to any number of strong country songs that deal with rising from the ashes of a scorched love affair, a la Garth Brooks’ “Learning To Live Again,” Swift speaks for anyone of any age who has felt battered and beaten, yet is willing to try to love once again.
Part of Swift’s strength as a songwriter is delivering lines that seem unique, but end up being universal. “You start to talk about the movies that your family watches every single Christmas,” she sings, instantly invoking Christmas traditions for every listener.
“Begin Again” resonates with a truth that anyone who has ever had a broken heart can relate to. Love shyly, but boldly, peeks out like a crocus blooming through a late Spring snow, fragile and strong at the same time.
This could be a monster ballad for Swift given its broad appeal. So far from “Red,” which comes out Oct. 22, Swift has delivered her most overtly pop song and her most mature ballad. We’ll see what comes next.
This Spring, rumors began swirling that Swift would play Joni Mitchell in the film adaptation of Sheila Weller's "Girls Like Us." Variety is reporting that Swift is definitely in (we've contacted her publicist to try to confirm since Swift's camp has not done so yet) and that screen testing has begun for who will play Carly Simon and Carole King. The book chronicles the rise of the three seminal singer/songwriters' careers.