Real quick – if you came here because you thought I was finally done writing gushy, annoying articles about what an inspiration and truly unprecedented musical genius Taylor Swift is, you came to the wrong place. As long as my girl keeps writing chart-topping, record-breaking, soul-rejuvenating albums, I’m going to keep writing these articles to recognize them.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll state my opinion quickly: Lover is a smart, mature, revolutionary album and I think it’s some of the most inspired work Taylor’s ever written. That said, I won’t bore you with a critique of every single song; there are just a few important takeaways I have from the album that I’d like to share.
- The Old Taylor Still Can’t Come to the Phone, She’s Still Dead
There’s a popular opinion floating around that, “the old Taylor is back!” or “Lover reminds me of 1989!” and I’m here to tell you that this lady is way too smart to ever be moving backwards. I think a deeper analysis warrants quite the opposite of those things, and while yes, she’s writing love songs and wearing pastels, the old Taylor is NOT the woman we see in Lover. 1989 was an album of introspection, heartbreak, love and fantasia, where we saw Taylor question a lot of things about life and love and friendships. After a multi-year silence, she came back with a strong, dark, don’t-eff-with-me attitude, and told us through Reputation that she may still not know exactly who she is, but she knows damn sure that she’s not taking heat from anyone anymore. Hater’s gonna hate, but Taylor came to play. All that said, if you look closely at the themes and stories Taylor crafted in Lover, they’re not at all like the self-discovery motifs of 1989. She sings about maturity, real relationships, deep love, and mistakes – she sings about herself like a woman who’s truly found herself. “False God” and “Afterglow” are highly vulnerable and speak to the super relatable feeling of someone you love feeling the burden of your own insecurities; “Lover” and “I Think He Knows” discuss profound, all-consuming love; “I Forgot That You Existed” and “London Boy” are modern, mature versions of the cheeky Taylor we’ve always loved; and “The Man” and “You Need To Calm Down” tackle important political issues in a super smart way. Dang girl, that’s a lot to pack into one album – just saying.
- Thirty, Flirty and Thriving
As I mentioned, 1989 was about questions and loyalty and self-discovery, and Reputation was about Taylor figuring out her worth and responding to people who wronged her. But the Taylor in Lover can only be described as Jenna (from 13 Going on 30) would: Thirty (in 55 days), Flirty and Thriving. Taylor is at peace, in love, and assured of who she is – some may argue that the biggest difference between this album and any of her previous is that she’s found her person, but I would say it’s that she’s found herself. That silly cliche about how you can’t truly love someone until you learn to love yourself; well she’s done it, folks – and as a fan, I could not be prouder. Her journey over the last 14 years has been nothing short of inspirational, and it gives me and hundreds of thousands of others something to relate to on our own personal journeys and all the struggles they come with.
Okay, so I wasn’t going to just NOT talk about LoverFest – we’re all shook. Taylor blew us all off our socks with a world-class bop of an album, and then casually dropped a bomb on us by saying she’s touring in 2020 – BUT ONLY DOING TWO SHOWS IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Listen, Europe, I’m really happy for you. Imma let you finish. But excuse me, WHAT?! I have been to see Taylor on tour twice now, for Reputation and 1989, and fully intended on keeping that tradition alive for as long as she continues to make beautiful music for us. After the initial shock, I realized – Taylor doesn’t do anything for money, she doesn’t do anything for fame and she doesn’t do anything that anyone tells her to do if she doesn’t want to. She does what she wants because she is a self-discovered lady, and that is the reason that I love her so much. Plus, she said herself – she wants to share this music with us in a unique way that is authentic to the way that she created it, and if she says this is the way to do it then I fully believe her. She’s also casually inventing two music festivals and quietly becoming the first woman in history to open an NFL stadium. So, did I, a soon-to-be grad school graduate who has no income and no idea where she’ll be living in July 2020 spend over $1,000 on two tickets to LoverFest West? Yes. Do I have regrets? Absolutely not. If anyone wants to fund my quest to be a superfan by flying me out to LA next year, my Venmo is……