It’s been two years since Taylor Swift dropped her last album, reputation. Two years since the infamous lines “she’s dead,” rang through people’s radios and headphones as Taylor claimed to be reinventing herself into an entirely new kind of Taylor.
Now, it seems, we’re getting an entirely new Taylor in her newest album, Lover.
Where reputation was harsh lines and heavy bass, Lover is soft and gentle. It’s filled with warmth and happiness and life and songs so soft it’s like your favourite blanket. It’s an album that feels like it’s all about love, and it’s hands down one of my favourite Taylor Swift albums to date.
Track 1, “I Forgot That You Existed,” starts the album with a veritable pop. It’s a boppy song with brash, honest lyrics to an upbeat, delightful melody. Its bright tune and candid lines set the tone and pave the way for the rest of the album.
Track 2, “Cruel Summer,” is another bop: perfect for dancing, or singing in the car with your friends.
“Lover,” is probably one of my favourite tracks in this album, with Taylor crooning softly about all the reasons she holds her lover close to her heart. It’s warm, it’s heartfelt, and it feels like she’s baring her heart during the chorus as she proclaims “you’re my, my, my lover.”
“The Man,” is one of Taylor’s first blatantly political songs in the album, calling out how she — and other women, let’s be real — is treated in regards to her success, and how she’d be treated were she a man. It’s fast paced, and brutally honest as she sings about her exhaustion. I think it’s something a lot of us can relate to. It’s also a lot of fun to sing to.
Track 5, “The Archer,” contrasts sharply with the previous few songs. It’s slow, it’s soft, it’s melancholic as Taylor asks “who could ever leave me, darling? / But who could stay.” And with lyrics like “and all of my heroes die all alone,” and “‘Cause all of my enemies started out friends,” how can it be anything but a classic Taylor Swift song?
“I Think He Knows,” the sixth track, is almost dissonant in comparison to “The Archer.” It opens with a fast-tempo beat and doesn’t stumble for a single second as Taylor sings a song that’s both sultry and brimming with pure joy. It’s a head-bopper, I cannot lie.
Track 7, “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” is bittersweet, it’s heart-wrenching, and I can’t even put my finger on why. She sings about her “heartbreak prince,” someone who’s her whole world, someone who she’s fighting with as she struggles beneath the public eye. “American stories/ Burning before me/ I’m feeling helpless/ The damsels are depressed/ Boys will be boys then/ where are the wise men?/ Darling I’m scared,” is just a slice of the kind of lines hiding in Taylor’s seventh track, and they sound vulnerable. Close to breaking. It makes my heart ache, and it’s a delight to listen to.
Track 8, “Paper Rings,” is hands-down my favourite Taylor Swift song. Probably ever. “Shake It Off,” who? What’s an “Our Song”? I don’t know what you’re talking about, this is the Taylor Swift song closest to my heart. It’s fast, it’s upbeat, it’s pure happiness and sunshine right from the very first note. The merry crash of a tambourine dances in the bass of the song, mirroring the fast pace of the song as Taylor opens it with a line about the very first time she met someone she loves. She sounds like she’s smiling while she’s singing this one, and I can’t help smiling when I sing along, too. In the chorus, she carols about how she likes “shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings … Darling you’re the one I want, and / I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this … Darling you’re the one I want.” It’s good, it’s wonderful, it’s the best parts of being in love. And I am absolutely in love with this song.
“Cornelia Street,” the next song, slows the pace down. It’s sincere and soft. It feels like the beginning of a new life, how living with her lover has changed her, and howmuch she loves living with him. I think it’s about how confusing life is sometimes and struggling to live with someone you love, but how much it means to her anyways. Maybe I’m reading too much into the lyrics and the melody. Maybe everyone should go listen to it and let me know what they think. It’s a beautiful song, and it’s definitely one of her best.
“Death By A Thousand Cuts,” is another slower song, but no less beautiful than the rest. It’s got a stunning piano trill that repeats throughout the entire song and makes my heart ache. The whole song makes my heart ache as she sings about a love long ended. When the final lines in the song are “I take the long way home / I ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright/ they say ‘I don’t know’,” how can your heart do anything but ache?
Track 11, “London Boy,” is likely a song about her latest beau, and it’s both an absolute bop, and a certified Good Song for Dancing To. She mentions more than a few things directly related to Britain, from high tea to rugby, and sings about how it always seems so gray in London. Not that the London rain dampers the joy that spills from this song. She sounds happy, and listening to it makes me pretty happy too.
Track 12, “Soon You’ll Get Better,” harkens back to an older Taylor: a Taylor that could make your heart break with one twang of her guitar. It reminds me of “Ronan,” of “Never Grow Up,” the way I feel like crying as the ballad slowly progresses. A Taylor song not for the faint of heart.
Track 13, “False God,” is warm and slow and sultry. It’s love based on blind faith, it’s hoping for the absolute best even in the midst of tension and fights. The instrumental additions to this song, from the steady beat of the drum to the saxophone playing in the background of the chorus, add an extra layer to this song that makes it absolutely stunning.
“You Need to Calm Down,” is another of Taylor’s blatantly political songs, and it’s pretty awesome. The no-hate anthem is both catchy ,gets to the point pretty quick, and it’s definitely a fun song to dance to.
Track 15, “Afterglow,” is Taylor begging for forgiveness. She’s asking for a second chance and apologizing for hurting someone she loves dearly. It’s a song that’s honest and intimate and breathtaking. Definitely worth it to give this one a listen.
“ME!” was the first song from Taylor’s new album to be released into the world and it’s stunning. It’s fun, it’s colourful and it’s so much fun to sing to. It’s a wonderful self-affirming song, with Taylor proudly proclaiming that there’s no one like her — she’s one of a kind.
Track 17, “It’s Nice To Have A Friend,” feels like a throwback to her previous albums. It’s quiet and calm, with a soft, sweet chorus. It reminds me of the song “Oh My, My, My,” from her first album. It’s children becoming friends, and friends becoming lovers. The marimba in the background adds a special layer to it, an almost pure, childish element. It’s soft, beautiful, and one of my favourites.
Last but not least, we arrive at the final song on the album, “Daylight.” This song is a culmination of everything she’s sung about in the album. It reminds me of the first rays of sunlight in the morning, of the first hint of warmth in the air. I couldn’t think of a better song to end an album to than this one, the way she sings about light, love and letting go of hate. The final lines of the song hit close to my heart, and I think they’re some of the best she’s ever written:
“I wanna be defined by the things that I love / Not the things I hate / Not the things I’m afraid of, I’m afraid of / Or the things that haunt me in the middle of the night/ I, I just think that / You are what you love.”
This album is a love letter, it’s warm summer days, it’s being in love. It’s about stepping away from darkness, being honest and moving forward. It’s bright, happy and heartbreaking at the same time — all the things that make an absolutely perfect Taylor Swift album. It’s unquestionably one of my favourite albums to date, and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.
15/10, beautiful music, beautiful lyrics. I highly recommend.