Taylor Swift: Fearless – Platinum Edition

RIYL: Julianne Hough, Miranda Lambert, buying stuff twice

Even by the record industry’s inflated, pre-Internet standards, Taylor Swift’s Fearless was a huge album, particularly for a teenage singer/songwriter on her sophomore release: in less than a year, it sold more than five million copies in the States, spun off a record-breaking 12 Top 40 hits, and provided some of 2009’s only tangible evidence that someone other than Michael Jackson can still sell records. All of which is presumably the only justification Swift’s label needed to join the obnoxious “deluxe reissue” trend by tacking on five brand new recordings, a “piano version” of album track “Forever & Always,” and a bonus DVD containing five music videos, four behind-the-scenes featurettes, a photo gallery, and the infamous CMT Awards clip that found Swift donning a sideways cap and rapping alongside T-Pain as T-Swizzle. It’s a ton of extra content, to be sure – and at Amazon’s loss-leader early price of $14.99, it’s a heckuva bargain, too. And it’s also worth mentioning that in today’s era of a la carte digital distribution, this kind of repackaging isn’t quite as crass as it was before iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 Store came along. Still, Fearless: Platinum Edition fails to resonate on two levels: first, although the new tracks aren’t bad at all, they don’t feel like missing pieces of the original album – which ties into the second problem, which is that at 19 tracks and almost 100 minutes of music, this is a bloated, unfocused version of a record that was pretty close to perfect as it was. Why not release an EP – or better yet, why not save these songs for the next full-length album? Simply to drop a piece of premium-priced product on store shelves in time for the holiday season, when Swift’s many teenaged fans can hit up their loved ones for a copy. Fearless still does a fine job of illustrating Swift’s gifts as a songwriter and performer, but this version just isn’t as much fun. (Big Machine 2009)

Taylor Swift MySpace page


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