Beneath Swift's not-a-girl, not-yet-a-woman sweetness lurks a rigorous and very skillful technique; love may confound her, but the art of expert songcraft clearly doesn't.
At times the self-consciousness of an artist forcing herself into new modes shows ? but mostly, Speak Now is a triumph.
All of Speak Now engages in that act of making our story hers, and her story ours, which is what pop stars do well.
She's in a class by herself when it comes to turning all that romantic turmoil into great songs. At this point, she's like the new Morrissey, except with even more eyeliner.
Swift's ability to articulate her vision is growing beautifully. Next, one hopes, she'll turn off that night light and confront the realities that remain, for her, in the dark.
Let's have a toast for the ladies who stick it to the douchebags.