Why Taylor Swift’s "Lover" Is Her Best Album Yet

From the bouncy cheer of “Paper Rings” to the quiet sorrow of “Soon You’ll Get Better”, Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album, "Lover", is her longest and most personal album yet at the best point of her cumulative career. Debuting at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart, "Lover" sold 867,000 album units in the U.S. within one week after its release, crowning Swift as the first female artist in history to sell more than 500,000 albums in a single week. Learning from the ups and downs of her previous six albums–each characterized as an “era” of her life–Swift carefully crafted the most monumental album of her career.

It’s impossible to talk about "Lover" without talking about the success of her polar-opposite sixth studio album, "Reputation". Characterized by darkness and an almost industrial tone, Swift created a bitter alter-ego as a way to rebuild from three years of darkness and hiding from the spotlight. "Reputation" was Swift’s new beginning, paving the way for Swift to transform anew and be unapologetically herself on "Lover". During the "Reputation" era, Swift continued to hide from the public eye, solely presenting herself on her own turf. Other than mysteriously dropping singles and letting a select group of fans into several of her homes for her famous “secret sessions”, it wasn’t until the "Reputation" Stadium Tour that Swift let anyone in on the details of her creative process. Even then, those details were shared with those who really wanted to listen, her dedicated fans. In this era, Swift set the precedent to be portrayed how she wants to be portrayed, slowly making her way back into the public eye on her own terms.

Using her vulnerability to her advantage, "Lover" is probably her most personal album yet. Swift decides what to share and when to share it, one of the multiple things she’s learned after many years in the spotlight during the seemingly unparalleled success of "Red" and "1989". In a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine’s Brian Hiatt–who she's got into two car crashes with–she compares herself to a fox, saying. “I used to be like a golden retriever, just walking up to everybody, like, wagging my tail. ‘Sure, yeah, of course! What do you want to know? What do you need?’ Now, I guess, I have to be a little bit more like a fox.” Following backlash from her lack of political engagement or the mere existence of her “girl squad”, Swift learned to take a step back from the spotlight (how can we forget the time she left her apartment in a suitcase) and pick and choose her battles, as well as what she wants to share with her fans. Leaving fans speculating about her relationship with now confirmed boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, for three years, Swift shares about her relationship in vivid detail on "Lover" in tracks like “London Boy” and “I Think He Knows.” 

The maturity gained in these past few years are the key ingredient that Swift was missing in the past. "Red" and "1989" handed her incomparable success that, quite frankly, she did not know how to deal with. After failing to win the Album of The Year Grammy award for her wildly successful fourth studio album, "Red", Swift fought back and released her chart-topping, Grammy-winning, first official pop album, "1989". During that era, Swift was music’s leading lady, the face of every magazine and talk show. Characterized by red lips and tight little skirts, that era defined the early 2010’s. Producing successful album after successful album, Swift quickly crumpled under the heat of the spotlight, forcing her into the aforementioned private life. Swift rose from the ashes following almost three years of notable silence and the continued backlash. That gained maturity and perspective allowed Swift to produce the most monumental album of her career, "Lover".

"Old" Taylor Swift–to quote the iconic line from the "Reputation" album, “Look What You Made Me Do”, is not completely gone. Channeling "Speak Now" in the peppy (and my personal favorite off the album) “Paper Rings,” or the songs similar to the "1989" album like “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince,” "Old" Taylor Swift is far from gone, but rather a stepping stone towards a height in her career. Trust me, "Speak Now" will forever hold a special place in my heart, but the commercial success of "Lover" combined with Swift’s genius and newfound maturity as a business and music powerhouse makes it her best album yet–and she shows no signs of stopping.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Images: 1, 2, 3