“Lover” - Taylor Swift at Her Best

On August 23rd, 2019, Taylor Swift released her highly anticipated seventh studio album. In under a week it reached #1 on the Billboard 200 and sold 679,000 copies. This album is a major moment in Swift’s career; this is her first album under Universal Music Group, with all of the creative rights belonging to her. This is a concept that Swift has pushed for years, not only in the wake of the sale of her master’s collection to Scooter Braun, a man who she claims has bullied her throughout her career. More than just a seventh album, this album is a marker of freedom for Taylor Swift.

 

I’ll admit that I had low expectations for this album. I’ve loved Taylor Swift for years, but the lead singles (“ME! feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco” and “You Need to Calm Down”) were, frankly, not good, and I was so scared that she’d lost her touch. I was relieved to realize that couldn’t be farther from the truth; when I heard this album, I was absolutely blown away. Aside from the mediocre singles, Swift’s songwriting absolutely soars on Lover and the production is new and exciting and unlike anything we’ve ever heard from her.

 

This album is a celebration of love, as Swift intended it to be. In songs like “I Think He Knows” and “Paper Rings,” she sings about the kind of love that deserves to be screamed from the rooftops, while in “Lover,” the title track, and “Daylight,” she sings about a kind of love so deep and so real it gives me chills. In others still, like “Cornelia Street” and “Death by a Thousand Cuts,” she sings about the fear and longing associated with real love. Swift approaches each and every one of the songs on Lover with purpose and intention; she knew exactly what she wanted to do, and so she did it.

 

Taylor Swift also, as always, has proved not only a deep knowledge of her craft, but also a deep love for it. She had a hand in the writing and production of every single song on this eighteen-track album, yet no two sound alike. This is no small feat, and for it to be done so confidently and lovingly is telling of the love that Taylor Swift has for her music, as well as the fans that she makes it for.

 

In addition to Swift, we have a production team filled with new names and familiar faces. The two standouts here are Jack Antonoff and Joel Little. Jack Antonoff has lent his talents to Taylor Swift’s music before, of course, having had his hands all over her 2014 album, 1989, as well as much of the second half of reputation. On Lover, most notably, he co-wrote and co-produced track five, “The Archer,” which was released ahead of the rest of the album. Joel Little, known for working with Lorde, Khalid, Tove Lo, and Broods, also had a hand in several tracks on Lover, including the two lead singles. While I didn’t love these first two singles, Little was also part of the creative team for track four, “The Man,” one of the high points of the first half of Lover. 

 

All in all, this album feels warm, bright, and welcome after the darkness of the reputation era. It’s evident that Taylor Swift is in a better place than she was, and I applaud her for all the work that must’ve taken. I also want to applaud this album as a piece of art, a cultural moment in the conversation of artist ownership, and a milestone, not only in Taylor Swift’s career, but also in her life.