On Friday, August 23, Taylor Swift finally released her long-awaited album Lover. The album contains eighteen tracks including three songs she released previously this year. One of the reasons I like Lover as a whole is because while a lot of songs seem reminiscent of previous eras of her music, there are just as many songs that feel like a fresh new sound. The tone of the album shifts from smooth, sad pop like in “Lover” to upbeat summer jams like “You Need to Calm Down.” Swift leaned heavily into her “crazy girl” reputation for some of these songs, and it made some of them sort of hilariously extra. This album also features some social commentary about homophobia, sexism, and other relevant social issues.
Some songs I don’t have much to say about like “Cruel Summer” and “The Archer” other than they’re pretty good jams. They also remind me a lot of Swift’s 1989 era of music. “Lover” stands out from the rest of the album because the sound is more reminiscent of an old 50s song like “Sixteen Candles.” While the song’s sound is distinct from the rest of the album, it’s the perfect song to name the album after because it encompasses the main theme of most of the songs.
“The Man” is one of my absolute favorites on this album because not only is it a bop, but it calls out the imbalance between standards for women and men in the media. In an interview she did with Vogue earlier this August, Swift says she wanted to write a song that “plays with the idea of perception.” According to Swift, she wondered whether “if [she] had made all the same choices, all the same mistakes, all the same accomplishments, how would it read?”
She continues on to say men get far less flack for things like serial dating and using their platform to voice their opinions. Another criticism she has is that people don’t question how much of men’s success is deserved the way they do for women. Quickly after making the switch from country to pop, Taylor Swift earned a sort of “crazy girl” reputation. That reputation came from criticism that all of her songs were about breakups (never mind the fact that most pop songs revolve around the same themes.) Swift confronts listeners with the idea that the way men and women are perceived differently for the same behaviors is indicative of sexism in the entertainment industry. She adopts a tone of defiance and frustration at perceptions like that still being so rampant in our culture.
“Death By A Thousand Cuts” is one of the songs on the album with a more upbeat tone especially when compared to songs like “The Archer.” Its tone contrasts with the rather melancholic lyrics. Throughout my listening to Lover, I found myself being impressed with Taylor Swift’s lyric writing capabilities. Each song tells a story with such general themes that anyone who listens to them can relate to them. For example, “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” speaks of the universal comfort that hanging out with friends can provide. Swift excels at writing about simple life experiences that are common but connected to deep emotions at the same time.
“Soon You’ll Get Better” is the only song on the album that reminds me most of what I consider classic Taylor Swift. The reason I say that is because it’s more country-sounding song she’s made since she made the switch to pop. Swift collaborated with the Dixie Chicks on this deeply emotional track about her mother’s battle with cancer.
I might be a bit biased in my evaluation, but “You Need to Calm Down” was by far my favorite song on the album. Swift had released the song and music video in June during Pride Month, the perfect time to release a song poking fun at homophobes.
Even though Swift released her song “ME!” months ago, I had somehow escaped listening to it until now. To be completely honest I avoided this song for so long because I was scared of what I had heard about it. From what I heard, it didn’t seem like everyone was a big fan of the song. After finally listening to it, I can say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Besides just being so unbearably pop, Brendan Urie and Taylor Swift are both incredibly talented artists with great voices. I’m mostly neutral towards it with my main criticism being that I feel like it was your typical pop motivational nonsense, but not the worst song ever.
What makes Taylor Swift special to me, besides the fact that I’ve been listening to her music since I was seven, is that each album she releases feels like a rebirth. Each era of Swift’s music takes on a new sound and follows different themes. Because she’s not static in her style, Swifties anticipation for each new album centers on the question “what will she do next?” Lover is a strong album because it unites several of her past eras of music as well as setting the tone for her future work. Even if you’re not a fan of Taylor Swift necessarily, I guarantee you’ll find at least one or two songs on the album that’ll suit your fancy.