"Fearless" is the second studio album by Taylor. The album was released on November 11, 2008, by Big Machine Records. As with her first album, "Taylor
Swift", Taylor wrote or co-wrote all thirteen tracks on "Fearless". Most of the songs were written as she promoted her first album as the opening act for numerous country
artists. Taylor also made her debut as a record producer, co-producing all songs on the album with Nathan Chapman
Five singles were released from "Fearless". The first single, "Love Story" was a crossover hit that became one of the best-selling singles of all time internationally and was
once the best-selling country song of all time. The succeeding single, "White Horse", also performed well in the US. "You Belong With Me" was an international success, becoming Taylor's second
best-selling single and her highest position on the US Billboard Hot 100 at the time. "Fifteen" and "Fearless" followed with both achieving a platinum certification from
the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
"Fearless" is an international breakthrough and huge commercial success for Taylor. It debuted at No. 1 in the United States, and later became the best-selling album of 2009, selling over
3.2 million copies. It gave Taylor, 18 at the time, the distinction of being the youngest artist in history to have the year's best-selling album. "Fearless" topped the charts in Canada and
New Zealand and achieved multi-platinum status in six countries. On December 11, 2017, "Fearless" became only the 121st album in music history to achieve a diamond certificationin the
United States, having sold over 10,000,000 copies in America.
Worldwide, the album has sold 16,6 million copies as of December 2018.
"Fearless" is also the most awarded album in the history of country music, winning "Album of the Year" at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, American Music Awards of 2009, Country
Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards.
Prior to stardom, Taylor received a publishing contract with Sony/ATV Music. Over the course of that period, she composed over 250 songs solely or collaborating with other songwriters,
mostly with Liz Rose or Robert Ellis Orrall, and refused to hand them away to already established acts with intentions of someday singing them herself. When later signed to Big
Machine Records, Taylor compiled her eponymous debut album of material written during her publishing contract, and expected to do the
same for her second album. She said, "I've been very selfish about my songs. I had this dream of this project ["Taylor Swift"] coming out for so many years now that I just stockpiled. I'm so happy that I did
because now we have a second album full of songs and a third album full of songs, and I don't have to lift a finger."
However, when embarking on her first and second tour as opening act for Rascal Flatts and George Strait, respectively, Taylor continued to compose
numerous songs. "I’ve written a lot of songs by myself lately, especially since I’ve been alone so much on the road," she said. "I do love writing on the road -- I usually write at the
concert venue. I’ll find a quiet place in some room at the venue, like the locker room." As a result of writing subsequent to touring, Taylor self-penned most of the material. "I've written like
eight songs for the second album by myself. If you're in Arkansas, who's there to write with?" During vacation days from touring, she collaborated with Rose, musician John Rich, and
singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat.
In the writing process, Taylor was heavily influenced by Sheryl Crow's candidness and truthful, yet vulnerable storytelling, and Brad Paisley's, who she opened for, touching, yet humorous
nature. She sought to prolong with centering romantic love the theme of the album. Primarily, she did not want to alienate her fans with songs about life on the road, for she could never relate
to songs of the sort when younger. She continued, "I really try to write more about what I feel and guys and love because that’s what fascinates me more than anything else -- love and what
it does to us and how we treat people and how they treat us. So pretty much every song on the album has a face that I associate with it."
Despite her revelation of not having kissed a male in two years, Taylor said the album was not wrung dry of such inspiration because she still underwent breakups and felt its core emotions.
Adding it did not "take much [for her] to get that sort of emotion out in a song", she explained physical intimacy did not have to resort to kissing to feel disappointment, frustration, or
heartbreak. Despite having written numerous new songs, she decided to also include previously written tracks, believing there were stories she did not have the opportunity to put out with
"Taylor Swift", and still desired to.
Having grouped over 75 songs, recording with Nathan Chapman, who produced all but one song on "Taylor Swift", commenced soon after having completed touring with Strait; in the
process, Taylor made her record producing debut. Thereon, her and Chapman recorded and cut an abundance of songs to keep the best material on the album. Thirteen tracks were
intended out of Taylor's fondness for the number; she attributes it to be her lucky number. To aid in choosing the songs, she performed various new tracks -- "Permanent Marker",
"Missing You", "I'd Lie", "Sparks Fly", and "Fearless" -- at the Gold Country Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 29 and May 30, 2007; only the latter song was chosen for the album ("Sparks
Fly" appeared on 2010's "Speak Now"). By January 2008, Taylor had recorded approximately half of the songs that would remain on the final cut
of "Fearless". The remainder of the songs came in the last two recording sessions: one held in March 2008, the other held sometime in the summer of 2008. When asked to describe to album, she
commented, "It’s the same kind of album I made (in 2006) -- just two years older. Sound-wise, it’s the kind of songs I like to write, which are country songs, but I guess because of the
subject matter and because of some of the melodies I love to use, I guess they have crossover appeal."
TITLE PACKAGING AND RELEASE
After completing the album's first track, Taylor deeply deliberated her personal definition of the word "fearless". She then started contemplating the word to title the album, and to assure she
was making the correct decision, applied to every song on the album. Finding a fearless element to the themes and messages behind the songs, Taylor decided to title the album "Fearless". On
the liner notes, she further explained the album title:
“This album is called 'Fearless', and I guess I'd like to clarify why we chose that as the title. To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless
is having fears, Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. Fearless is falling madly in love again, even though you've
been hurt before. Fearless is walking into your freshman year of high school at fifteen. Fearless is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again... even though every time
you've tried before, you've lost. It's Fearless to have faith that someday things will change. Fearless is having the courage to say goodbye to someone who only hurts you, even though can't
breathe without them. I think it's Fearless to fall for your best friend, even though he's in love with someone else. And when someone apologizes to you enough times for things they'll never stop
doing, I think it's Fearless to stop believing them. It's Fearless to say "you're NOT sorry". I think loving someone despite what people think is Fearless. I think allowing yourself to cry on the
bathroom floor is Fearless. Letting go is Fearless. Then, moving on and being alright... That's Fearless too. But no matter what love throws at you, you have to believe in it. You have to believe
in love stories and prince charmings and happily ever after. That's why I write these songs. Because I think love is Fearless.”
-- Taylor Swift
As with "Taylor Swift", Taylor was very involved with the album packaging. The album's images were photographed by Joseph Anthony Barker, Ash Newell and Sheryl Niels while the cover and
graphic designs were executed by Leen Ann Ramey for Ramey Design. "Fearless" was released on November 11, 2008 in the United States and Canada, and on November 15, 2008 in Australia. The album
was then re-released on February 27, 2009 in Australia as a limited edition with bonus tracks originally from "Taylor Swift" and a new artwork. An international edition was released March 2, 2009
in Spain, and numerous countries followed in the consequent weeks.
In 2019, Rolling Stone Magazine wrote: "In retrospect, it’s pretty incredible that an institution as stodgy as the then-Recording Academy were able to see 20-year-old
Taylor for who she already was: one of the most important singer-songwriters of her generation. Following her pop crossover, 'Fearless' tends to get overlooked a little in terms of the great leap
forward it represented at the time. But it brought country into the bedrooms of teen girls who might’ve rocked out to Avril Lavigne and Michelle Branch earlier in the decade, and showcased not
only the pop chops that would get bigger but the storytelling instincts that would get better -- in the same smash hit songs, no less."