Walking a fine tightrope between the live and studio sounds, and maintaining continuity with the previous album, Fandango! became a watershed record in ZZ Top’s career. Bands with a big stage sound often betray themselves when they enter the studio but ZZ Top had figured their way around that. Fandango! also coincided with a time when the band’s trademark beards started to appear.
As with precocious artists who need an unsolicited rush of celebrity to launch them from pedestrian fame to glittering stardom, Taylor Swift’s ratings shot up after her acceptance speech at the 2009 Video Music Awards was rudely interrupted. Rapper Kanye West, not known for good manners, stormed the stage halfway through her limelight moment saying that Beyonce deserved the award instead. Though Beyonce later invited Swift on stage to finish her acceptance speech, the incident made West the laughing stock of the entertainment circuit and even the White House (Obama reportedly called him a jackass). It also made Swift palatable to the media. The 14 songs on Speak Now aim mischievous arrows at her exes by smartly stepping clear of lyrical clichés. Swift has said that her relationships offer copious grist for songwriting. “Better than Revenge” has her snarling cattily at a girl who stole her boyfriend. The line “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with” in “Dear John” is rumoured to be a swipe at John Mayer, on whose recent album Swift sang two lines. Those apart, there are fine touches in “Back to December”, “Speak Now” and “Haunted”.