Taylor Swift is certainly a unique figure in country music. Her track record of prestigious awards and unbroken streak of consecutive Top 10 country hits (not to mention repeat visits to the upper tier of the Hot 100) are sometimes at odds with critical reception. Sure, she’s generally a great writer; sure, she gives her mostly teenaged fanbase exactly what they want; but she never has been that great of a vocalist, and the chart run of nearly everything after “Our Song” has shown a super-fast burnout. (For instance: “Should’ve Said No” fell all the way to #29 on the country charts, and “Love Story” disappeared after only 12 weeks.)
Starting off with some stiff “ah ah ah”s and a backbeat sounding much like “Fearless,” “Mine” is a continuation of the sound that Swift established with her first two albums. Yet again, it’s a story about falling in love, no doubt culled from the seemingly endless stream of relationships she’s had. But just when you think she’s starting to repeat herself, “Mine” works its way into your head with its catchy, hooky melody. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there are a few more examples of her way with words, such as “you made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter.” Not surprisingly, the hook of “you are the best thing that’s ever been mine” gets inverted at the end: at first, she’s saying it about him, but at the end, he has to leave for some unexplained reason and says the title hook back to her.
“Mine” isn’t a perfect song, and it’s really not terribly different from many of her other songs. While I would have liked to see her try something a little more out of the ordinary (like, say, maybe something she didn’t write), and while the aforementioned burnout does suggest that at least a slight change-up may be in order, she’s as least proven consistently strong at doing it her way. For better or for worse, she has her own musical niche, and “Mine” fits perfectly within it.
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