Taylor Swift (Bonus Track Version)
Taylor Swift’s self-titled debut captures the dreams and desires of a girl on the cusp of womanhood with candor, intelligence and authentic sweetness. Producer Robert Ellis Orrall provides Swift with sympathetic backing, adding banjo-driven twang to “Pictures To Burn” and lending some electric guitar punch to “The Outside.” Swift sings with clarity and conviction, filling tunes like “Tied Together With A Smile” and “Mary’s Song” with a winsome yearning. There are moments here — such as the lovely “Teardrops On My Guitar” — that recall the tenderness of an old Everly Brothers song. Other tracks, like “Picture To Burn,” have a distinctly sarcastic edge. Most of all, Swift keeps things real and true to her own experience on her winning premiere effort.