For fans desperate for Taylor Swift to make the return to soft love songs and deeply personal, intricately clever lyrics, Lover won’t disappoint.
If Reputation’s dark cover and cynical lyrics were a night lit with lonely city lights, “Lover” is the sweet calm of daybreak in a wide-open field, utterly free and warm. From the subtle beauty of “The Archer” to the summertime electricity of “Cruel Summer,” the many sounds of this album come together to form one single feeling: love.
By the time the final song comes to its haunting close, listeners will have ventured on what seems to be a trip through Swift’s deepest, most sincere feelings. It’s a level of vulnerability her previous albums haven’t reached, and after the darkness of her previous album Reputation, the hopeful innocence is a breath of fresh air.
The album starts off with “I Forgot That You Existed,” a fun intro song that gets the album off to a light and empowered start. “Cruel Summer” comes next, with a sound that feels like riding in a car with all of your friends, windows down, music blaring and the sense of electric joy summer nights bring. The album’s namesake song, “Lover,” comes in third, introducing the “timeless and confessional” feel Swift says she wants represented throughout the album.
Songs like ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ are one of the many reasons why Swift is known as such an excellent songwriter. Featuring the Dixie Chicks, the song tackles a topic Swift hasn’t addressed since a 2015 Tumblr post — her mom’s battle with cancer. The song features a simple melody and a gently plucked guitar paired with heart-wrenching lyrics about the potential of losing a loved one. This song serves as a message for anyone who has had to share the experience of losing someone to cancer in any form.
Prior to the album’s release, Swift dropped the track “You Need to Calm Down.” She faced immediate backlash for the song after hordes of disapproving listeners took to Twitter, accusing her of attempting to monetize the LGBTQ+ experience. It’s important to note that these critiques came in the wake of America’s general anger at companies attempting to capitalize off of Pride month. I disagree with this ideology for a few reasons, the foremost being that, well, this is what everyone wanted. Swift, as one of the most famous artists in the world, is using her platform to empower and support members of the LGBTQ+ community. Besides, the political state of the world is a theme throughout the album, with songs like “The Man” and “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” discussing issues like feminism and the general chaos of the world.
The only thing I hate about this album is the extremely unfortunate song ME! The song is just not good. Not only do Brendon Urie and Swift’s voices mix in a way that compliments neither one of them, but the lyrics are juvenile and the song has a very disjointed flow. Urie’s feature was a nice experiment, but it didn’t work and the song is an overall blemish on an otherwise stunning album.
“Death By a Thousand Cuts” is one of the darkest songs on the album, but it’s so cleverly disguised as an upbeat, poppy tune that you might not know it at first. The opposite of this happens in “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince.” Instead deeply heart-breaking lyrics overpowering a sunny tune, this song’s exquisitely crafted melody strips the would-be cringe title and lyrics of their natural awkwardness and leave a great song about wanting to escape the world’s chaos with your significant other.
This album feels freeing. You can hear Swift’s joy as she sings about Joe Alwyn, her longtime boyfriend. It’s a new chapter and it feels good to hear positive words coming from her, especially with all the lighthearted beats and funky synth-pop vibes. She’s allowing herself to be vulnerable in a way that we haven’t really seen before. Lover echoes some of the things that her second and arguably best album Fearless excelled at. I think what really sells the whole album for me is the production. Jack Antonoff, a well-known producer in the music industry, leaves his mark on nearly every song. It’s a cohesive body of work, start to finish, and Swift’s obsessively loyal fans are sure to send their favorite songs to the top of every chart.
Lover’s songs ranked from flawless to okay:
- I Think He Knows
- Soon You’ll Get Better
- Cornelia Street
- The Archer
- Cruel Summer
- Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince
- The Man
- Paper Rings
- Death By A Thousand Cuts
- You Need To Calm Down
- London Boy
- False God
- It’s Nice To Have A Friend
- I Forgot That You Existed
- ME! (feat. Brandon Urie)