A lot has changed for Taylor Swift in ten years, as she’s evolved from a Nashville opening act to pop music royalty, from one of celebrity’s most overexposed stars to one of its most private, from a teen sensation into a 28-year-old with a hard-earned maturity.
And while Swift’s path to stardom began well over a decade ago, it was her second album “Fearless,” released on Nov. 11, 2008 and celebrating its 10-year anniversary this week, that transformed her from Taylor Swift the artist into Taylor Swift the phenomenon.
You don’t have to look further than the numbers associated with “Fearless” for proof of its domination. The most-awarded album in country music history and her first real pop crossover effort, it debuted at No. 1 and became the best-selling album of 2009, making Swift, who was 18 when “Fearless” was released, the youngest artist in history to have that distinction. At 20, she also became the youngest-ever artist to win a Grammy for album of the year, when “Fearless” won the night’s top prize, along with three other trophies, at the 2010 Grammy Awards. Of its five singles, two became crossover hits, “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me,” which sold millions of copies each and firmly established her in the pop world. Before “Fearless,” she had never headlined a tour — just months after its release, she was selling out arenas.
“Fearless” wasn’t just an album for Swift, it was an era, one that much of America likely still associates with the star to some extent. “Fearless” established Taylor Swift persona of the wide-eyed, guitar-toting girl with her ball gowns and flowing blonde hair, who wrote her own songs about fairytales and Shakespearean heroines and the occasional famous ex. In retrospect, it’s more than a little reductive.