If a rock is what you have been living under for the past week, you may not know. However, if you are any regular human with an internet connection, you would have likely seen that Taylor Swift released her new album ‘Lover’, possessing 18 songs about the concept of love and all its various and beautiful forms. As a massive fan of Taylor and her music I was excited to hear the new songs but was worried considering the first two singles released ‘ME!’ and ‘You Need To Calm Down’ both came across quite lyrically amateur. Thankfully, all my doubts were proven wrong, as I simply cannot get enough of this new music! It’s a new, transformative era of Taylor Swift. One that has came about through maturity and as a result of the trials and tribulations undergone by Taylor, both privately and publicly in recent years. The collection of songs is romantic AF, so be warned! There are many stories of love told throughout this album that are relevant to Taylor’s life (obviously) but also to normal everyday people. The stories told through this album transcend in relevance and as a whole, make a big impact on the category of love songs.
I have decided that I would do a complete review of this album since I have been anticipating it for so long and because the release of Taylor Swift’s albums is often cult-like in analysis, theories and discussion over social media – so why not have my own input through this blog post! I know with some of my posts I reference celebrities by their last names (as it is traditional to do so) but I will be referring to Taylor Swift as Taylor throughout this post (it feels more personal that way). I should also STRESS than the song reviews are IN THE ALBUM ORDER (not in order of favour). I do not think it is really necessarily for me to choose and order my favourite songs from 1-18. I hope you enjoy my discussion and review, and also I hope you too can enjoy the album as much as I did!
1. I Forgot You Existed – 4.5/5
The first song on ‘Lover’ which is, in my opinion, a GREAT start. It is one of my favourites on the album actually. It is lighthearted, because it portrays her move from her former album ‘Reputation’ where she had a clear message of disapproval towards the hate. I Forgot That You Existed is where she shows a newfound maturity and peace with herself and the people who have wronged her in the past. No more ‘bad blood’ essentially exists anymore. Taylor has grown and this song demonstrates that perfectly, particularly in the line
“It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference”
In other words, it would have been a great single! There are quite a few people trying to decipher shady lines and references to former boyfriend Calvin Harris? However, honestly I really do not think any intention for shade was there when Taylor wrote this song. Such negative thoughts are not worth Taylor’s time anymore and thankfully. She is happier, brighter and flourishing – and on that note, let’s get further into the album!
2. Cruel Summer – 4.5/5
Cruel Summer is the bop we did not know we needed. It is a perfect pop song that isn’t overbearing but perfectly balances elevating lyrics with entrancing vocals. The electronic pop sounds that resound throughout this song really embody Taylor’s style and really compliment her voice. Big thumbs up to Cruel Summer!
3. Lover – 5/5
The final single released before the album and my favourite of the three. ‘Lover’ has some of the best lyrics on the album and is one of the most heartfelt and happy songs about love that Taylor has created in recent years. It portrays love in its purest form and is likely a tribute to Joe Alwyn, Taylor’s current boyfriend. However, this song transcends just Taylor’s own experience with love and is meant to be a tribute to love as a whole. The day after it was released there was a wedding video posted to Twitter where a couple was dancing to the song – and it was beautiful. As always, Taylor shines through in the bridges of her songs;
“Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand?
With every guitar string scar on my hand
I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover”
This song is pure, cuddly romance. So if you are not about that, then you most likely won’t be a ‘lover’ of this song (someone please stop me!)
4. The Man – 5/5
This is the most fierce we see Taylor on this album in my opinion. A very relevant and very well written song indeed. It points out any disparities in the perception of success for men and women, with particular focus on the way we view the conquests of men and how they are viewed very differently to those of their females counterparts. Taylor has vowed to be more vocal with her political stances in the next US election and henceforth in general. Considering the power she holds with her platform, there is a lot of good that could come from Taylor using her voice to speak on social and political issues facing our society today. She has also been outspoken recently on issues such as the Equality Act in the USA, with ‘You Need To Calm Down’ dedicated to the LGBT community and the Act. In addition, The Man showcases her feminism and consistent push for equality in all forms, particularly on the basis of gender. In the song she sings;
When everyone believes you
What’s that like?
Subtle shade to her past but also a very relevant point to make in regards to #metoo and other movements where individual truth plays a major role. Either way, I urge anyone who does like the song to carefully listen to the lyrics because they make a very strong point, which is the exact reason it is one of my top 3 favourites on the album. To conclude my thoughts on this jam-packed song, the line that is going viral on Twitter at the moment is;
“And they would toast to me, oh, let the players play
I’d be just like Leo in Saint-Tropez”
To anyone who isn’t aware – this is a reference to Leonardo DiCaprio and his vacationing with his many considerably younger girlfriends, and its inability to damage his status as an actor. Whilst Taylor has consistently been dragged through the mud for her relationships, simply because she dares to vent about them through the art form she is ultimately very talented in! Take notes; Ones relationships and sexual activities should NEVER define that person or make them any less respectable!
5. The Archer – 4/5
The Archer is a song which depicts the attacks, defeats, highs and lows of Taylor’s recent years.
“I’ve been the archer
I’ve been the prey”
She refers to the twisted portrayals she has been given in the media in recent years and by various people who have attempted to discredit her. The song is not written or performed in spite or in the hope of vengeance – like Reputation seemed to be. Instead it’s written as a slow soft song that acknowledges the situation, but does not engage. The song itself is more flat than the rest but its lyrics allow it to still pack a punch and not feel forgotten among the many great songs held on this album!
6. I Think He Knows – 3/5
Unfortunately, there are bound to be some songs on the album that do not jump out at me – and I Think He Knows is one of those. The song just did not feel like it had the same level of substance as the other songs on Lover. It is more of a fluffy, fun song about crushes but it didn’t do much more than that for me. I think the main aspect that did not really make me jump for joy was the over edited chorus. This has occurred in a few of her songs in her three most recent albums (most prominently on Reputation). It is not a bad song, in fact, I still have fun listening to it – but for me it didn’t showcase anything new or exciting.
7. Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince – 5/5
Another top three favourite for me! This song brings me back to Reputation, as it sounds similar to ‘So It Goes.’ While So It Goes was not a massive fan favourite on Reputation, I actually really loved it. It was definitely not one of my favourites but it was certainly not my least favourite! Miss Americana is sort of a confusing one as it doesn’t necessarily have a defined meaning that we know about yet. However, from what I have gathered from some secret session-goers and articles analysing the song, it is symbolic of a break away from the typical patriotic elements of American culture. Since the days of Fearless and Speak Now, themes of high school proms, football, homecoming etc, have been major areas that defined those eras in Taylor’s Career. This song is almost satirical towards that part of American Culture. One individual who attended the Lover secret sessions wrote that Taylor mentioned that there is a reason she no longer hosts fourth of July parties and why she does not participate in the patriotic acts she once did. This song is multi-layered and incredibly interesting – both to listen too and decipher. I am excited to delve deeper into the analysis of this song in the coming weeks, as I read more about it.
8. Paper Rings – 4/5
Paper Rings is a lighthearted tune that is perfect for a car jam out or a bedroom dance party. It is a positive and catchy song with great lyrics and shows Taylor at her most happy and excited state. It is another great pop song and really just shines a light on exactly what this era in the Taylor Swift catalogue is all about. Uplifting, upbeat and meaningful, make Paper Rings a sure-win for pop this year!
9. Cornelia Street – 5/5
Cornelia Street is quite possibly my favourite on the album… do NOT quote me on that because I truely love so many songs! It just felt like Taylor knew I disliked ‘Dress’ on Reputation and decided to give me the Chanel version. It also brought me back to my favourite album Red, with similar sounds returning on this song… kind of. It is basically conveying the emotions and attachment to places and how they can bring back specific memories of specific times with specific people. However, they may not always be memories of joy, but also pain. It is a stunning song, with a beautiful synth base.
“And I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends
I’d never walk Cornelia Street again”
10. Death By A Thousand Cuts – 4.5/5
Death By A Thousand Cuts is probably my favourite song title in the album! It also happens to be a favourite for me in lyrical terms too. It is ultimately quite a sad song, but the piano and iridescent sounds make this song more upbeat than the lyrics alone, would suggest it to be. Just a heads up to Taylor; I would LOVE to hear an acoustic version on the piano of this song, please!
“My heart, my hips, my body, my love
Trying to find a part of me that you didn’t touch
Gave up on me like I was a bad drug”
The song is ultimately about Taylor leaning to live and move on without someone in her life. It is a theme that most people can relate to in some way or another. She questions how she can move on when the remnants of their love is still visible everywhere around her, including within herself.
11. London Boy – 3.5/5
London Boy is a fan favourite by the looks of things on Twitter. Although, I am not the song’s biggest fan. However, I do still love the song for nostalgic purposes;
“And now I love high tea, stories from Uni, and the West End”
“They say home is where the heart is, but God, I love the English,”
Do not get me wrong, its such a fun song and a great tribute to English culture and the warm things that make my birth country such a beautiful place. But it’s a tribute to London and Joe Alwyn and I don’t believe it gets much deeper than that. Nice song, great execution – but just not one of my personal favourites. I also like to believe in my head that it could have been about about Harry Styles once upon a time (but that’s another story).
12. Soon You’ll Get Better – 4.5/5
I don’t have much to say about this song other than just listen to it! With a feature from Dixie Chicks and a return to country roots, it really soothes the soul and can easily get the tears rolling. The song is actually about Taylor’s mum Andrea Swift (momma swift) and her battle with cancer. It is heartbreaking and restorative at the same time. You can hear the heartbreak in her voice with every line.
13. False God – 4/5
False God is another song in the top tier of the album! It is a sensual and sophisticated song that differs from the others on the album. I am a particularly big fan of the saxophone riff at the beginning of the song too.
“I know heaven’s a thing
I go there when you touch me, honey, hell is when I fight with you”
There is religious allusions everywhere you look and references to religion and spirituality as representative of love. A unique song and a great addition to the album!
14. You Need To Calm Down – 3/5
The second single released for Lover was You Need To Calm Down. Basically at the time, I loved the song – still do like it. However, it is hard to think of it as anything more than playful lyrics with an important backing message (especially when the other songs that did not get single releases have blown me away). I think it makes a great point and the music video is really fun but lyrically it is quite immature. Again though, it will be an amazing live experience on tour! My favourite lyrics will forever be;
“Say it in the street, that’s a knock-out
But you say it in a Tweet, that’s a cop-out”
15. Afterglow – 4.5/5
Afterglow was probably my favourite song on my first listen to the album. I think it is the slow bass and beautiful sounds that make this song so beautiful. It is still one of my top favourites on the album and I think that this particular song will continue to hold a place in my heart. There is something refreshing that I felt listening to Afterglow, which is likely the fact that it is a direct apology on Taylor’s behalf, as she takes responsibility for a failed relationship/love.
“Why’d I have to break what I love so much?
It’s on your face, and I’m to blame, I need to say”
“I’m the one who burned us down
But it’s not what I meant
I’m sorry that I hurt you”
Taylor admits to being the cause of the downfall in a relationship, as she pulls apart aspects of herself and her actions that caused this downfall. It is a cathartic song and a really beautiful heartfelt ballad that compliments the album perfectly.
16. ME! – 3/5
Why oh why was ‘Me’ released as the lead single? A question we may never truely know or understand the answer too. Unfortunately, Me is probably my least favourite song on the album. It is written in very basic form and is probably one of Taylor’s most limited for interesting analysis. However, it comes across as a great Summer tune with very catchy lyrics and is likely the reason it was chosen to lead the album. Nonetheless, Brendon Urie is great and while this song may not be my favourite recorded song, I can guarantee that it will be one of Taylor’s best when performing it on tour for this album! The light show, colours and loud sounds will make for a stellar viewing experience. It is weird though, the cringe-worthy line “hey kids, spelling is fun” which is yelled prior to bridge in the song, has been removed in the albums completed version and it does feel as if the song is incomplete without it for me (even though I do not like the line itself).
17. It’s Nice To Have A Friend – 3.5/5
Although I didn’t give this song the highest rating I actually very much enjoy listening to Its Nice To Have a Friend. The story arc that it embodies about a childhood couple who eventually get married is really beautiful. It’s a well written song about first love and demonstrates true love at first sight, authentically.
“School bell rings, walk me home”
“Church bells ring, carry me home”
18. Daylight – 5/5
Someone on Twitter said that Daylight is one of the best songs Taylor has written and I honestly agree. This song actually makes emotional every time I listen to it. It resounds the new Lover era. It acknowledges the previous eras but also moves on to the more mature version of herself that she is now. The song is a soft and slow, but the lyrics are perfectly suited to the message being conveyed. It ends the album; not with a bang, not with a wimpier but with a the sound of a new dawn in Taylor’s life, music, relationships and pop music.
“I’ve been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night
(Now I’m wide awake)
And now I see daylight”
To me, Daylight is definitely the most transcendent and transformative song on Lover. A perfect way to end a beautiful and thoughtful album.