Speak Now: If Taylor Can't Do It, No One Can

     In the crumbling record industry, there are few bright spots.  Twenty-year old country crossover Taylor Swift is one of them.

     Swift became the youngest artist to win Album of the Year at last year's Grammy Awards for Fearless, which also was the biggest selling album of 2009.  Her successes have led to high hopes for her third record, Speak Now, with some industry insiders wondering if she can break the illusive one million sales mark in its opening week.

     The last artist to shift 1 million units in a week was Lil Wayne who did so with Tha Carter III in June 2008. No album since has come close to matching the feat.

     "It feels like if anybody can do it now, she could be the one," said Will Botwin, president/CEO of Red Light Management and ATO Records to Billboard.com.  "She has the sales base and heat from the last few albums. And with all the amazing things she has going on, she is as likely as anybody to reach a million units."

     Swift's broad appeal stems from her ability to court pop radio while not alienating her country base, often a difficult task. Her job is made easier however, by her sweet and authentic temperament which is impossible to hide during interviews and performances. This was cemented in pop culture following Kanye West's interruption during her acceptance speech for Female Video of the Year at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. She is America's Sweetheart.

     Regardless, the singer faced criticism that the fairytale and young love themes common in her music would get old soon. Swift got the message. Her forthcoming record was initially entitled Enchanted, but that was soon scraped. Still, listening to the song "Enchanted", it's evident that this isn't the same territory charted in songs like "Love Story" and "Today Was A Fairytale". "This night is flawless, don't you let it go," she sings over building strings and timpani. "It was enchanting to meet you." It's a sentiment that is probably scribbled in countless 15-year-olds' diaries, but Swift no longer sounds like a teenage girl obsessed with boys. She's grown up.

     2 million copies of Speak Now have been sent to stores, meaning it won't be hard to find a copy. With such high expectations, it makes you wonder if Swift feels any pressure on her record to be a blockbuster.

     "I have a lot of anxiety about things on certain days, but I have anxiety because I care," she said to Billboard magazine. "It's not anxiety that's crippling. It's a five-minute conversation with myself about if a [sales] number really defines this piece of art that I've created and what that means, and what the number's going to be. I try to predict what it's going to be, and then I realize that I can't predict what it's going to be, and then I realize that I can't predict what it's going to be, and then I sit there and say something to myself like, 'Well, you're happy today. Enjoy this and be proud of the music that you've made."

     Speak Now is available at Best Buy for $9.99 during its first week in stores and a special edition featuring bonus tracks is on sale exclusively at Target.


kels said...

I'm buying this AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Go Taylor!

Anonymous said...

Taylor, you go, girl! You can do this! I mean, look- ONE WEEK and you're already platinum! No one's gonna mess with you anymore!!! WATCH OUT, WORLD! TAYLOR'S GONNA BLOW YOU OFF YOUR FEET!
I love your vocals in Mean! One of my favorite songs of all time. Glad to see you really getting country!

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