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Taylor Swift, ‘Begin Again’ – Song Review

Begin Again
Big Machine Records

Taylor Swift has released ‘Begin Again,’ a new song from her upcoming ‘Red’ album. It’s a huggable, inspiring, acoustic country ballad that is everything country fans wished her first single ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ was when it was released in August.

‘Begin Again’ begins where ‘Ours’ (the final single from ‘Speak Now’) ended — before Swift’s gentle flow was interrupted by the catchy, but frostbitten, lead from ‘Red.’ After 18 singles, the teenage drama has become exhausting. Much like a good friend who’s perpetually being wronged, we’re politely sympathetic, but sick of being mired in negativity. This song is a cleansing breath that hopefully foreshadows the true tone of her album, which hits stores on Oct. 22.

Walked in expecting that you’d be late / But you got here early and you stand and wave / I walk to you / You pull my chair out and help me in / You don’t know how nice that is but I do,” Swift sings after beginning a story about the first date following a breakup. Her storytelling is only getting sharper and more poetic with each album. ‘Begin Again’ is accessible on multiple levels.

You throw your head back laughing like a little kid / I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny, cause he never did / I’ve been spending the last eight months / Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end / But on a Wednesday in a cafe / I watched it begin again,” she adds during each chorus.

On one level, the new song is simply a story of young love, but the characters will also be familiar to those past 20, 30 or 40 years old. Heartbreak doesn’t feel any different when your hair is gray. At the far end, Swift’s lyrics will remind anyone in an abusive relationship (verbal, emotional or physical) that true, pure and reciprocated love exists. It begins with hope and seemingly innocent conversations about Christmas traditions or music.

“You said you never met one girl who had as many James Taylor records as you, but I do / We tell stories and you don’t know why I’m coming off a little shy, but I do,” she sings.

Not lost in the production is the reemergence of banjo and fiddle as instruments that drive the melody. ‘Begin Again’ is one country radio can embrace after ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ became the first single of her career not to crack the Top 10 on country radio charts. At the very least, it will make Swift haters look like jerks for tearing apart such a vulnerable lyric, but there is strong potential for a No. 1 hit.

4 Stars

Listen to Taylor Swift, ‘Begin Again’

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