Taylor Swift is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on October 24, 2006, by Big Machine Records when Swift was just 16 years old. Swift wrote songs for the album during her freshman year of high school, and has writing credits on all of the albums' songs including those co-written with Liz Rose. Swift experimented with several album producers, ultimately choosing the producer of her demo album, Nathan Chapman. Musically, the album is country music styled and lyrically, it speaks of romantic relationships, a couple of which Swift wrote from observing relationships before being in one and also touches on Swift's personal struggles in high school.
Five singles were released from the album, all of which were certified platinum by the RIAA. "Tim McGraw" was released as the lead single, becoming a top-10 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs. "Teardrops on My Guitar" was released as the second single, becoming the album's best-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100. "Our Song" was released as the third single from the album, becoming Swift's first number one on the Billboards Hot Country Songs, making her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number one song on the Hot Country Songs chart. "Picture to Burn" and "Should've Said No" were released as the fourth single and fifth singles from the album, both becoming a success on the country charts in the United States. Swift promoted her album by performing at several venues, which included her opening for Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Brad Paisley, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
Taylor Swift was received positively by contemporary critics, who praised Swift's talent at such a young age. The album enjoyed commercial success and launched Swift's career in country music. In the United States, it topped the Top Country Albums Chart for 24 non-consecutive weeks, and was certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of over 5 million copies. Taylor Swift has logged 275 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 / Pop Albums chart as of early 2013, making it one of the 12 longest-running albums in the chart's 57-year history. The album was also successful outside of Swift's native country, notably, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The album has sold over six million copies as of January 2015.
Album packaging and release
Taylor Swift was released on October 24, 2006 with eleven tracks. Swift was highly involved in the album packaging, designing doodle graphics herself. She also personally capitalized specific letters in the lyrics from each song to spell out hidden messages, a feat she would also execute for her succeeding albums. On November 6, 2007, the album was re-released under the title Taylor Swift Deluxe Edition for a limited time. The deluxe edition contained three new songs: "I'm Only Me When I'm with You", "Invisible" and "A Perfectly Good Heart", the radio edits for "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Our Song", and Swift's first phone conversation with Tim McGraw. The re-release also bared a bonus DVD with all of Swift's music videos at the time ("Tim McGraw", "Teardrops on My Guitar", and "Our Song"), behind-the-scenes footage of "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Our Song" music videos, and a performance of "Picture to Burn", among other material. The American retail company Target released an exclusive version of Taylor Swift Deluxe Edition, with performances of Swift during McGraw and Hill's Soul2Soul II Tour. A third and final re-release appeared on March 18, 2008 with the three new songs from the Taylor Swift Deluxe Edition and a pop version of "Teardrops on My Guitar". A karaoke version of Taylor Swift was released on January 27, 2009, containing the first fourteen tracks from the album on both CD+G and DVD.
On the week ending November 11, 2006, Taylor Swift debuted at number nineteen on the Billboard 200 due to sales of 40,000 copies. It reached its highest sales week on the week ending January 5, 2008 with 187,000 copies sold. After sixty-three weeks on the Billboard 200, on the week ending January 19, 2008, the album reached its charting peak at number five due to sales of 47,000 copies. Taylor Swift marked the longest stay on the Billboard 200 by any album released in the decade. So far the album has stayed on the chart for 277 weeks. The album topped Billboard's Top Country Albums Chart for twenty-four non-consecutive weeks. On the week ending August 2, 2008, Swift's EP Beautiful Eyes replaced Taylor Swift as the chart's number one album. With Taylor Swift charting at number two, Swift became the first artist to hold the first two positions on Top Country Albums since LeAnn Rimes charted in 1997 with Blue (1996) and Unchained Melody: The Early Years (1997). On February 17, 2014, the album was certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for the shipment and sales of 5,000,000 copies. As of July 2015, the album has sold 5.52 million copies in the United States.
After six years of its release, Taylor Swift made debuted at number thirty-eight on the New Zealand Albums Chart. Taylor Swift peaked at number fourteen on the Canadian Albums Chart and at number-one on the Canadian Country Albums Chart. Taylor Swift was certified platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for the shipment of 80,000 copies. In Australia, Taylor Swift peaked at number thirty-three on the main chart and at number three on the country-genre chart. On the week ending September 5, 2009, it entered the UK Albums Chart at number eighty-eight; the following week, it reached its peak at number eighty-one. The album is certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of more than 100,000 copies.
Taylor Swift received positive reviews from contemporary critics. Jeff Tamarkin of AllMusic Swift as "a fresh, still girlish voice, full of hope and naïveté, but it's also a confident and mature one". He said her "talent to be reckoned" was portrayed through the songs "Tim McGraw", "The Outside", and "Mary's Song (Oh My My My)". Tamarkin criticized producer Nathan Chapman for applying "a gloss that not all [songs] really require and in some cases would do better to shed". Rick Bell of Country Standard Time gave a positive review, saying that Swift had "smart songwriting" and that "her deeply personal, self-penned songs, particularly 'The Outside' and 'Our Song'" were "stirring." He compared her sound to Cyndi Thomson and Hilary Duff. Chris Neal of Country Weekly said that Swift "demonstrat[es] an honesty, intelligence and idealism with which listeners of any age will be able to connect" and added that "the more thoughtful material suggests a talent poised to last well past high school." Ken Rosenbaum of The Toledo Blade wrote Swift "deftly handles lyrics and subjects in that shadowy area between teenager and womanhood."
|1. Tim McGraw||3:54|
|2. Picture to Burn||2:55|
|3. Teardrops on My Guitar||3:35|
|4. A Place in This World||3:22|
|5. Cold as You||4:01|
|6. The Outside||3:29|
|7. Tied Together with a Smile||4:11|
|8. Stay Beautiful||3:58|
|9. Should've Said No||4:04|
|10. Mary's Song (Oh My My My)||3:35|
|11. Our Song||
|Digital Download Bonus Track|
|12. I'd Lie||3:40|
Deluxe Edition (Bonus Tracks)
|12. I'm Only Me When I'm with You||3:35|
|14. A Perfectly Good Heart||3:42|
|15. Taylor Swift's 1st Phone Call with Tim McGraw||4:44|
Deluxe Edition DVD
|1. Tim McGraw (music video)|
|2. Tim McGraw (Live at Grand Ole OPry)|
|3. Tim McGraw (Live at Yahoo! Music and Interview)|
|4. Teardrops On My Guitar (music video)|
|5. Teardrops On My Guitar (behind the scenes)|
|6. Our Song (music video)|
|7. Our Song (behind the scenes)|
|8. A Place In This World (GAC Short Cut series)|
|9. Picture To Burn (music video)|
|10. Taylor's Home Movie|