I listened to it and was blown away, and that was before I found out she was a mere 16 years of age when she "cut" this record. Precocious is not the word really is it!
Of course it could all be a case of "so far, so Nashville dream" but from the opening track Tim McGraw this proves to be something quite above the factory-line output that exists in Nashville in the 21st Century. Of course the lyrical trick is nothing new, least of all in Country music, but Swift manages to make it sound fresh and original.
That said there are occasions when a little too much producer sheen is added to some of the tracks, but the fact that you notice this actually proves that she's not really in need of it.
Equally adept on the slow stuff (Cold As You, Stay Beautiful) as she is on the more uptempo songs (Picture To Burn, The Outside) there is hardly a dull moment to digest. And even the songs that don't quite work aren't dreadful by any means, with the only one real disappointing moment being the rather plodding Tied Together With A Smile, which is perhaps the one track which could have done with some "producer" touches to liven it up.
By the time the album closes, however, with Our Song the overall feeling is one of stunned excitement. It's not a perfect album by any means but if she's this good at 16, just how good is she going to be with a little more time behind her? Country music may have found itself a new superstar in the making.