Look What You Made Me Listen To: Speak Now (Deluxe Edition)

Welcome to a newbie’s reactions to Taylor Swift! I have minimal prior exposure to her music beyond what’s played on the radio or what popular songs people talk about. This is my first intentional, close listen-through of her entire discography. I do not claim to be a Taylor Swift expert, nor can I promise that my impressions of each song will be considered "socially acceptable" by her fans.

Each song will be scored out of 10, adding decimals as I see fit. Examples of songs that I would rate a 10 include “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Sound of Silence” for reference. Anything 5 or higher means I like the song! I listened to the album in track order, so my reactions and scores match accordingly. 

With that being said, here are my thoughts on her third album, titled “Speak Now (Deluxe Edition)."

  1. 1. Mine

    full restaurant with counter showing

    Some parts of this song sounded very familiar. I can already tell that this album fits my taste more. This song had good energy and catchy lyrics. Rating: 7.5/10

  2. 2. Sparks Fly

    I have also heard parts of this song, but not the whole thing. I enjoyed the chorus the most, but the rest of the song was average. I appreciated that “Sparks Fly” has country vibes without being annoying about it. Rating: 7.5/10

  3. 3. Back To December

    woman in winter clothing is sitting outside in the snow

    This song gave off very whimsical, quirky vibes. I thought the guitar effect Taylor used was an interesting choice, but I can’t decide if I loved it or hated it. I definitely liked the instrumentals better than the vocals and the lyrics. Rating: 6.5/10

  4. 4. Speak Now

    My impression right off the bat: I don’t like the vocals. However, I love a good organ reference and figurative language! Again, I enjoyed the instrumentals more than the vocals. It was an interesting song plot-wise. Interrupting a wedding is kind of a no-no. I also found Taylor’s laugh at the end a little psycho. Rating: 5.5/10

  5. 5. Dear John

    Man Holding Chess Piece

    Funnily enough, “Dear John” is also a movie title. I liked the relaxed beat since it seemed like a departure from the beginning of the album. It gives me a waltz or lullaby vibes. On the other hand, I do have qualms about the guy names Taylor picks for her songs: they’re all very boring. Overall, I found “Dear John” a little too slow-paced. It’s not a bad song, but I do think it gets a little boring, especially because it’s so long. Rating: 6/10

  6. 6. Mean

    I definitely have heard this one before. I liked the lyrics and harmonies but found the random Western instrumentals a little off-putting and a little amusing. Rating: 6.5/10

  7. 7. The Story Of Us

    Person Holding a Book

    I enjoyed this one. It was fun! It had a nice beat. I liked the instrumentals and the energy, although I don’t like when she speaks in her songs, namely her “the end” at the end of the song. Rating: 7.5.10 (deductions for the speaking parts)

  8. 8. Never Grow Up

    I appreciated the wholesome premise of this song! I could fall asleep to this because it made me sleepy. I live for some nice acoustics, and her calmer songs are definitely among my favorites. Rating: 7/10

  9. 9. Enchanted

    Couple sitting next to lights watching sunset

    This song had a nice acoustic start, fun lyrics and an engaging narrative. Overall, it was a little too long but enjoyable! I liked the last minute or two the most. Rating: 6.75/10

  10. 10. Better Than Revenge

    This song definitely has “revenge song” vibes, but the beginning also gave me weird “Video Killed The Radio Star” vibes, which I don’t know how I feel about. Again, I don’t particularly like Taylor’s speak-singing, so that earns this song a few deductions. The chorus was probably my favorite part, but I also appreciated the instrumentals and the energy of the song. Rating: 6.5/10

  11. 11. Innocent

    Girl with basket of flowers

    I liked the laid-back atmosphere of this one. I thought this song was a good mix of her more chill songs and her more aggressive songs. I liked this song a lot, but apparently, this one is about Kanye, so that earns it a few deductions. Rating: 7/10

  12. 12. Haunted

    I was very excited to hear some strings! The overall vibe of this song was cool and very dramatic. This is a cool song! It has edgy vibes but good energy. Rating: 8/10

  13. 13. Last Kiss

    silhouette of man and woman kissing at sunset

    I liked that there were fewer vocals in this one. It’s a nice change. Sometimes, this song reminded me of “A Thousand Years." I found this song a little sad. Rating: 6.75/10

  14. 14. Long Live

    I liked the lyrics, and I always appreciate creative references to fairy tales. The chorus was probably my favorite part of this. I really enjoyed this one! It reminded me of my friends. Rating: 8/10

  15. 15. Ours

    couple wearing masks

    This song was more country than some of the other songs on the album. I didn't mind it, but again, country isn’t my favorite vibe. The singer, for some reason, doesn’t really sound like Taylor as much as the others. I find it interesting that she likes gap-toothed people… personal preference, I suppose. Rating: 6/10

  16. 16. If This Was A Movie

    I think I have heard some of this song. I liked the beat. It’s very catchy, even though it’s not topically my favorite. Rating: 7.5/10

  17. 17. Superman

    person reading the newspaper

    These lyrics were very on the nose, and I’m not a huge fan of the vocals. The beat wasn't bad, but the song didn't strike me as very memorable. Overall, I find it in the middle of the road. I think it’s a well-rounded song, though! The Superman references were a little cheesy. Rating: 6.5/10

  18. 18. Back To December - Acoustic Version

    As you know, I am a sucker for acoustic versions. I found this one to be really nice! Even though it still had dynamic contrast, I liked the mood acoustics create better than the original sometimes. Rating: 7.75/10 (vs. 6.5 for the original)

  19. 19. Haunted - Acoustic Version

    a skeleton in a chair, jack-o-lanterns, and cobwebs.

    I liked the original "Haunted" better. I think in its transformation to acoustic that it lost some of its edginess. Even though I enjoyed this version, I think the original had more emotional weight. Rating: 7.5/10 (same as original, for different reasons)

  20. 20. Mine - POP Mix

    I am not a fan of the tone of Taylor’s voice in this one. I don’t think this style fits the song super well. While it’s still catchy, for some reason, this version gives me icky vibes. 5.5/10

Average Rating: 6.89/10

Favorite song (based on rating): “Long Live” and “Haunted”

So far, “Speak Now” is definitely my favorite. I’m a fan of her more mature style, especially since it seems like she has started to really settle into her range in the later albums. I still enjoyed the narrative songs the most, but I also am starting to appreciate the more emotional ones, too! I’m excited to listen to "Red" next!