Following the release of her brilliant reputation, Taylor Swift has delivered her seventh lyrical masterpiece. Lover addresses security and warmth in the title track, anxiety in “The Archer” and “Cornelia Street”, LGBTQ+ rights in “You Need to Calm Down” and confidence in “ME!” (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco) and “I Think He Knows.” The brilliant lyricism and unapologetic femininity are the maven at her most authentic. Even those who believe she has produced better work (RED not winning Album of the Year still hurts) cannot deny that Swift’s ability to write a perfect pop song is practically supernatural. Analytical and sharp fans will notice references, both lyrically and sonically, to her previous works as a way of thanking us for listening for 13 years (you’re welcome, Taylor). Lover’s collaborations, both vocal and lyrical, include Annie Clark (better known as St. Vincent), Joel Little, Jack Antonoff of Bleachers, Dixie Chicks and Brendon Urie. Meeting universal acclaim as well as unbelievably high sales, Lover is also the first album of which Swift owns the master recordings. But without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the album.
The official end of the reputation era. Swift sings about the better alternative to swearing vengeance; now, it’s simply time to shrug and not care anymore. The snaps and upbeat nature make for an energetic three minutes. Favorite lyrics:
“Your name on my lips, tongue-tied
Free rent living in my mind.”
2. Cruel Summer
The sonic version of feeling so full of emotion that you could explode, and explode it does in the bridge.
“I’m drunk in the back of the car
And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar…
And I scream for whatever it’s worth
‘I love you, ain’t that the worst thing you’ve ever heard?’”
Reminiscent of “Sad Beautiful Tragic” from RED in tempo and minimalism, only this time, it’s just beautiful…and guaranteed to be the first dance song at weddings for years.
“My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue
All’s well that ends well to end up with you.”
(Gif by TaylorSwift via Tenor)
4. The Man
Swift calls out the insane hypocrisy over how differently her decisions and personal life would be discussed if she were Mr. Swift instead. The beat drop after the moment of silence in the chorus makes the song soar.
“I’m so sick of running as fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.”
5. The Archer
In this song, Swift admits her worst fear: dying alone like her heroes. The lyrics and soaring vocals sound like 1989 while the lyrics are reminiscent of reputation.
“I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost
The room is on fire, invisible smoke.”
An electrifying, sassy ode to a man with “quiet confidence,” as Swift puts it. I predict thousands of videos with choreographed dances are being made as I type this.
“He got my heartbeat
Skipping down 16th Avenue.”
In a clever metaphor, Swift compares the current political climate and “cancel culture” to high school popularity amidst shouting vocals.
“The whole school is rolling fake dice
You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”
8. Paper Rings
If Ingrid Michaelson collaborated with Paramore, the result would be something like this. The fast vocals, guitar and drums make the sound, dare I say it, almost pop-punk.
“I hate accidents
Except when we went from friends to this.”
(Photo by Serena Swiftie via Pinterest)
The pulsating beat makes you want to dance, and the lyrics make you want to cry. Swifties have dubbed this track the “All Too Well” of Lover.
“I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends
I would never walk Cornelia Street again
That’s the kind of heartbreak time could never mend.”
The “my, my, my” that bounces from ear to ear in the intro is one of the most impressive production moments on the album. Swift has said the song was inspired by the movie Someone Great which is about the ending of a long-term relationship.
“You said it was a great love, one for the ages
If the story’s over, why am I still writing pages?”
11. London Boy
This tells the story of Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn traipsing through his hometown.
“They say ‘home is where the heart is’
But that’s not where mine lives.”
This is the most minimally produced and vulnerable track on the album, played on acoustic guitar and sung with angelic harmonies. Here, Swift draws from her own experience about how it feels to watch your parent struggle with cancer. You will need tissues.
“What am I supposed to do
If there’s no you?”
13. False God
I never thought I’d hear saxophone on a Taylor Swift album, but it works!
“I can’t talk to you when you’re like this
Staring out the window like I’m not your favorite town
I’m New York City.”
Only Taylor Swift could call out internet trolls, homophobes and misogynists in just under three minutes without losing her exuberance.
“Shade never made anybody less gay!”
(Gif by Taylor Swift via Giphy)
You can almost hear Taylor running down the stairs to apologize and her partner’s acceptance. Her vocals make the vulnerability bleed through each word.
“Fighting with a true love
Is like boxing with no gloves.”
When I tell you I screeched upon learning that Urie and Swift were collaborating, believe me, I screeched. Swift said she wrote the song to be an earworm that would hopefully make people feel more confident with themselves.
“And when we had that fight out in the rain
You ran after me and called my name.”
(Gif by Taylor Swift via Giphy)
With a haunting melody and sparse vocals, it’s the most unique track; it’s the only part of the album that feels sonically out of place.
“Call my bluff, call you babe
Have my back every day.”
A beautiful ending to an expansive, meticulous album. Fun fact: “Daylight” was apparently the working title for Lover. Both, in my opinion, are appropriate names.
“And I can still see it all in my head
Back and forth, from New York, sleeping in your bed
I once believed love would be burning red
But it’s golden like daylight.”