Today marks 13 days after the release of Taylor Swift’s latest album, “Lover,” and if you’re anything like ME!, you know why this day is fitting to review the singer-songwriter/queen of pop’s seventh studio album.
Swift’s previous album, “Reputation,” was all about painting the storyline of a character the media created for her; and thus, it was highlighted by tabloid-inspired themes of spite, lust and drama, with Swift showing her own vulnerability in the few “delicate” songs mixed in. On “Lover,” Swift steps out of the shadow of such heavy themes and into the daylight with a tracklist of 18 songs inspired by love itself and all the different facets of a relationship with someone special.
A combination of stripped-down, romantic songs and upbeat songs featuring synthesizer beats or brass instruments for an 80s-style production, “Lover” is practically the lovechild of Swift’s past albums “Speak Now” and “1989.” The songs, “Lover,” “The Archer” and “ME!” are especially reminiscent of such albums, not just production-wise, but lyrically as well.
The title track, “Lover,” is the ultimate wedding ballad, and perhaps the ultimate love song of the 21st century. Swift surpasses fellow singer Ed Sheeran in the first-dance song department with dreamy instrumentals and soft-spoken lyrics that bundle you up in a warm blanket, as Swift said herself in her latest Good Morning America interview.
As a sagittarius, I feel as though the song “The Archer” calls to me (in the most cheesy way possible), nevermind how small the connection is between the zodiac sign and the actual meaning. Jokes aside, “The Archer” is a very vulnerable song where Swift sings about her battles with insecurity while under scrutiny of the media. With its synth-laden production and infectious pulsing “heartbeat” running throughout the song, “The Archer” draws connections to “1989’s” “Wildest Dreams.”
Swift’s first single off the album, “ME!,” is peppy, catchy and fun, not to mention the most dance-worthy track on “Lover.” With its marching band instrumentals and lighthearted message about self-love, “ME!” feels like the older sister to “1989’s” own first single, “Shake It Off.” Brendon Urie from Panic! At the Disco only makes the duet-style song better by complimenting Swift’s vocals and giving the song the same charming energy Urie presents in his own hit single, “High Hopes.”
In “You Need to Calm Down,” Swift breaks away from romantic themes to send out an important message about equality. Her second second single off “Lover,” “You Need To Calm Down” is a masterpiece of lyrical sabotage that bashes social media trolls who reject inclusivity in the most likable, catchy way possible. Having several friends from the LGBT+ community, Swift shows she is an ally by making references to the Equality Act and GLAAD, an inclusive organization. For Swift, “You Need To Calm Down” is an important step toward equality for all.
Like “You Need To Calm Down,” “The Man” veers away from romance to cover the issue of equality, this time between males and females in the entertainment industry. This song is especially dear to Swift, as she experiences sexism all the time as a leading female in the music industry. The Man asserts itself as a song of dominance, wherein Swift declares she’d be the “alpha type” if she were a man. The song features a building rhythm and empowering lyrics that work in harmony, making it all the more inspirational to women who give it a listen.
Clever lyrics and charming imagery intertwined with a smooth, progressing production make “Cruel Summer” top my personal chart for tracks off of “Lover.” Lyrics such as, “I love you, ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard?”, Swift’s favorite on the song, establish a theme of insecurity in an intimate relationship that is so raw and real.
Another one of my favorites off the album, “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” creates an atmosphere of a classic teen drama with lyrics that set the scene of a heartbroken girl battling a toxic school atmosphere and running away from the school prom with her lover. The girl, presumably a young Swift, blocks the noise of schoolgirl rumors by “finding the one person who really sees [her] and cares,” according to Swift's description of the song on Spotify.
“Soon You’ll Get Better” is decidedly the most raw and personal Swift has gone with a song in her career. The song is about Swift going through the emotionally difficult process of dealing with her mother Andrea Swift’s cancer, which is something I can personally relate to, as I have gone through the same process before losing my own mother to cancer. For this reason, "Soon You'll Get Better" is a song I hold close to my heart.
Perhaps one of Taylor’s best album enders, “Daylight” talks about a long period of struggle between Swift and her partner, a metaphorical darkness that eventually turns into golden light in the end. Following the song is a voice memo where Swift declares, “you are what you love,” which shrouds the album a warm ray of sunshine that combats the songs of loss and anger and compliments the ones about love and joy, tying it all up in a perfect bow.
“Step into the daylight” and fall in love with Lover, a certified 10/10 in my long list of beloved albums