Darn if that Taylor Swift doesn't know how to craft a pop tune. This is the fourth consecutive album for which she's written or co-written most, if not all, the songs, and they are a super-catchy lot. The now-22-year-old gets a rap for turning all her short-lived romances (Jake! John! One of those Jonases!) into musical fodder but, hey, if the results are this entertaining, so be it. Her songs still have that girlishness about them (her albums are like soundtracks to high-school girls' lives). But Swift can fashion nuanced works, too, like the ballad "All Too Well" - about looking back on a failed relationship - that pulses with real emotion and nostalgic lyricism.
- KRISTINA DORSEY