Since recording her first album at 16, what's changed most is 'the kind of things you say when you're hurt.'
By Jocelyn Vena, with reporting by Sway Calloway
Taylor Swift's musical evolution has been pretty clearly aligned with her age. While she's writing about love and heartbreak, as she did when she was a teenager, the way she expresses that joy and pain has grown from the puppy-love lyrics to more mature reflections.
Back in the day, on her self-titled debut album, she was writing odes to country superstars, like in "Tim McGraw," and using metaphors to try to understand emotions that she hadn't yet fully experienced. With a career in full swing and a highly publicized love life, three albums later, it's apparent that Swift drew on real-life experiences for Speak Now.
When she sat down with MTV News earlier this week during "MTV First: Taylor Swift" Sway asked what she felt about her musical coming of age. "I don't know," she said. "I think retrospect will tell a lot. Years from now [and] I'll look back and go, 'I didn't know anything then.' "
Swift said the biggest difference between her teenage songs and her current ones is "the kind of things you say when you're hurt."
"I had this song called 'Picture to Burn,' that's talking about how 'I hate your truck,' and 'I hate that you ignored me,' 'I hate you,' " she explained. "Now, the way that I would say that and the way that I would feel that kind of pain is a lot different."
But Swift has no regrets about her earlier songs. "But I think that my first record came out when I was 16, the next one, Fearless, came out when I was 18 and this one came out when I was 20, so I think there's a lot of personal growth.
"I look back on the record I made when I was 16, and I'm so happy I made it," she continued. "I got to immortalize those emotions that when you're so angry, you hate everything. It's like recording your diary over the years, and that's a gift."
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