If you’re a longtime Taylor Swift fan like I am, you’ve already listened to her new album, Lover, a thousand times every day since August 23. (If not, time to get on it––you’re missing out). With this album, Taylor graced us with immediate new faves. We got bops like “I Forgot That You Existed” and “Paper Rings,” and we cannot even try to forget the ballads, such as “Lover” and “Daylight.” Lover, overall, is an amalgamation of power anthems, songs you can’t get out of your head, sad boi tunes, and songs so romantic you want them to be played at your wedding.
All my fellow “Swifties” have been arguing over which songs are skips and which song should get a single (I’m a big proponent of “The Man” getting its time in the spotlight). Yet, one song, in particular, gets hidden in the shadows of the singles, “ME!” and “You Need To Calm Down,” and precludes the final tune of the album. That song is “It’s Nice To Have A Friend.”
I can’t come up with one perfect word to describe this song. As the shortest song she’s ever released and the 17th track on an 18-song album, it can easily go unnoticed. When I listen to this song, I’m transported to a whimsical world of cotton candy clouds and butterflies-in-your-stomach love. Listening to the song feels like a dream. I know this is a big statement, but “It’s Nice To Have A Friend” might be my most favorite song ever.
The song goes through the three main stages of life––childhood, adolescence, and adulthood––and applies a story of love to each stage. I view the song in two ways. The first is that Taylor is telling the story of one person––growing up with a childhood crush who becomes your boyfriend and eventually your spouse. My other idea is that Taylor is simply going through what friendship looks like in each stage of life. During childhood, friendship means play dates; when you’re a teenager, you start looking for companionship through romance; and as an adult, you wish to marry your best friend.
I highly suggest not only listening to the song ‘til your heart’s content but also taking a peek at the lyrics. Taylor strays from the standard pop song format of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. The song has three short verses, one for each stage, with a rhyming pattern, and each is concluded with “It’s nice to have a friend.”
The first verse puts you in a childlike mindset with lyrics, such as, “School bell rings, walk me home / Sidewalk chalk covered in snow / Lost my gloves, you give me one / ‘Wanna hang out?’ Yeah, sounds like fun.”
The second verse indicates the leap in time periods. Lyrics like, “20 questions, we tell the truth / You’ve been stressed out lately, yeah, me too,” reflect the feeling of adolescent romance. The song ends after the third verse of marriage-related lyrics, such as “Church bells ring, carry me home / Rice on the ground looks like snow.”
The lyrics are beautifully crafted and well structured, but the music is what makes the song so enchanting. The plucking of a harp and the sounds of horns make the song feel romantic. “It’s Nice To Have A Friend” also features recorded choral vocals from students at Regent Park School of Music, a community school for underprivileged kids in Toronto, Canada, according to producer Frank Dukes in an Instagram post. The royalties from the sample actually go back to fund the school.