The Obscurest Taylor Swift EP, 2008’s “Beautiful Eyes”
Has it only been twelve years since the blonde, curly haired girl from the bleachers stepped into the country charts? Since “Tears On My Guitar” and “Our Song” and “Tim McGraw” birthed girl power country pop. Listening to her eponymous debut today, it sounds fresher than 1989, and deeper than Red, it is a moment of teenage love in the midst, a sifting through a boy crazy all Americanism full of hope that is bigger than it should be, and also loss that is bigger than it might be. All of her early songs, all of that first one, are overstatements, it is like a glaring melodic spotlight on the rigeurs on being young. The earliest incarnation of Taylor, painting her toenails, riding shotgun, she wasn’t the beauty she is today: she seemed a little too plump, a little too normal, she looked like what she was singing and that is one reason why she was really one of the girls, never a cheerleader, always a member of the choir.
It made it all so much more fun, so much closer to her audience and with social media just beginning to come into its own, all so much better.
I’ve heard everything Taylor has ever released, right? Right? Right, except in researching a little back info (the exact year her Christmas album was released for a worst of everything article) I discovered there was an EP I missed! Beautiful Eyes, six songs, two I’ve never heard before, plus an alternate take, an acoustic take, a radio edit and one to fill it out. CD only, and it included a DVD of all the songs and other promotional stuff.
Beautiful Eyes was a stop gap, as was Sounds Of the Season. It goes like this:
2006 – Taylor Swift
2007 – Sounds Of The Season
2008 (early) – Beautiful Eyes
2008 (late) – Fearless
So there you have it, two EPs to maintain the momentum without giving away the shop, with “Love Story” and “You Belong To Me” in Taylor’s back pocket she knew she had nothing to worry about but even so… let’s guild the lily. “Beautiful Eyes” is a sweet nothing, a pleasant country doodle with a neat slide guitar and enough melody to hold your attention, “I Heart?” sounds like it escaped from that Hannah Montana movie, a sweet dance track hoe down for the girls. The four in the middle do no damage. And everybody, except me who missed it, tightened their belts and waited patiently till we got the chance to just say yes.