Contrary to popular belief, not all hardcore punk kids are anger and angst 24/7. Oh no. There are those, like myself, who do enjoy non-aggressive music from time to time. And this is one of those times.
You do not get as un-hardcore punk as Taylor Swift. Her music may be categorized as Country but it is more Pop than anything else. And that’s OK with me. Hardcore kids need pop music every once in a while.
Speak Now is Swift’s third album and first release on vinyl. And it’s pretty damn good. The album is a double-LP in a gatefold full-color jacket. The vinyl itself is hefty in weight but not sure it may be 180grambut it does feel thicker and heavier than most typical run-of-the-mill major label vinyl releases. (I’m not an audiophile elitist nerd that’s too overly concerned with vinyl weight…as long as it sounds good). As with most major-label releases, the vinyl is black. I would have preferred to see it as a solid or translucent purple to match the artwork. But that’s being overly-critical now.
One issue there is with the vinyl though is the actual sound quality. It is a bit muddled and not as in-your-face as sometimes found on quality vinyl pressings. It’s a bit of a letdown given the big sound the album has. And it’s somewhat lost on this vinyl version. Oh well. Insert frowny emoticon here. Ha!
As it turns out, Swift is a vinyl nerd! At least according to an Entertainment Weekly interview she did:
“Taylor Swift has emerged as one of the biggest pop stars of the MP3 age, but deep down, the 20-year-old singer is an old-fashioned vinyl collector. Swift personally made sure that her third album, Speak Now, would be available as a vinyl record as well as a CD and a digital download. The double LP will arrive Nov. 16, a few weeks after the album’s Oct. 25 release date in other formats. “The vinyl is really important to me,” Swift tells EW, “because I’m so in love with the concept of an album — a collection of memories from your life that you’re giving to people. It’s a piece of you. Buying them on vinyl is just taking that one step further and acknowledging that albums are important.”
Swift’s love for vinyl is no joke. She says she has a record player in a “central, prominent location” in her kitchen at home, and she brought a turntable with her on tour so she could rock out on the road. At a recent trip with EW to Nashville’s Great Escape Music Store, she snapped up LPs by Bruce Springsteen (Working on a Dream, Magic), Ryan Adams (Easy Tiger), the Black Keys (Rubber Factory), and more.
Big, beautiful cover art is one reason why Swift loves vinyl. “There’s something so fascinating about the cover art — every single one of those was a decision by somebody and people put a lot of time and effort into it,” she says. “With my albums, I have a lot of fun with the art direction and a lot of what I do is trying to visually express what the song says. You take the lyrics and you see what picture it paints and you try to do a photo set up that looks like it… We’re incorporating the same art in the vinyl album as we do in the CD, but it’s done in a different format. It’s really put forth in its own way.”
Shortly after that record-buying spree, EW was with Swift when she tore off the brown paper covering and sees Speak Now‘s vinyl edition for the first time. “It’s like Christmas,” she says. “Oh my God, whoa! This is so crazy. It feels unreal. I’m so happy about this.”
Being that the case, it’s evident that attention and detail were paid for the Speak Now vinyl. It’s definitely much better done than the typical major-label vinyl release we see nowadays. Then again, a lot of major labels are jumping back on the bandwagon and taking advantage of the vinyl record sale boom.
Some of my more über-Hardcore Punk friends proably think I’m a little weird for listening to Taylor Swift’s music, but if you like the music a particular artist or band makes, why not enjoy it? Personally, I have never really understood or embraced the concept of “guilty pleasures”. I don’t feel guilty listening to Taylor Swift. And neither should you.
If you like the music go on and enjoy it with no apologies.
“Losing street cred since 1995”