“Lover,” Taylor Swift’s self-proclaimed “love letter to love itself,” is an 18 song collection that explores love in all forms.
“Lover” was released on the heels of Swift’s 2017 album “reputation” – anera defined by dark imagery and Swift addressing harsh criticism from the press. Upon the release of the first single from “Lover” – a collaboration with Brendon Urie of Panic at the Discotitled “ME!” in April, it was clear that Swift was hanging up the black robes and stepping out in rainbow sequins and flowing gowns.
“Lover” was refreshing to longtime fans who found comfort in lyrics reminiscent of Swift’s older music.Swift’s 2019 “love story” is defined by the beautifully intimate details of the vending machine glow, the “thrown-out speeches,” lyrical smiles on long drives, the books on her lover’s bedside table, the “holy orange bottles” that are treating her mother’s cancer, and that “grinning like a devil” she describes within the album.
While these lines could easily be pulled from her earlier albums like “Fearless,” “Speak Now” and “Red,” the production of the album leans closer to the pop, synthesized sound of “1989” and “reputation,”yet features an eclectic mix of instrumentation. This dreamy sound is achieved with the help of producers Jack Antonoff and Joel Little, who have worked with Swift’s contemporaries in pop, such as Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding and Shawn Mendes.
The value of “Lover,” however, does not depend on the sentimental value or the clean pop sounds that match the album art. It contains an array of standout tracks.
The title track “Lover” is the ultimate tribute to Swift’s boyfriend of the last three years, British actor Joe Alwyn, whom she vows her love to despite all she has been through in past relationships. In the tear-jerking, instrumental tune that contains some of her best lyrics, Swift sings, “all’s well that ends well to end up with you,” and rests in the security that they can leave the Christmas lights up until January since Joe is not going anywhere.
“The Man” is one of the most powerful tracks on the album. Swift boldly states that if she had her same career but was a man, she would be seen as powerful to the public eye. All of her high-profile relationships would be seen as conquests. It is filled with powerful lines including, “what I was wearing, if I was rude, could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves.”
“Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” is already fan-favorite track that details a dramatic high school romance. Fans speculate that there is a double meaning to the song and the lyrics symbolize current political affairs and Swift becoming more vocal about her political views and support for the Equality Act.
In “Paper Rings,” my personal favorite song on the album, Swift uses fun illustrations to express her love and commitment to Joe Alwyn. “Paper Rings” as well as the following track “Cornelia Street” draw heart-warming parallels to lyrics from “Last Kiss” and “All Too Well,” which have been deemed two of her most heart-breaking tracks. In this album, Swift relays her former heartbreak to her current bliss
In “Soon You’ll Get Better,”’ a collaboration track with Dixie Chicks, Swift discusses a different kind of love: the love she has for her mother. She expresses her thoughts and fears as her mother, Andrea Swift, battles cancer, in an acoustic ballad that could be pulled from her earlier country albums.
The second single of the album, “You Need to Calm Down,” is Swift’s declaration as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. It has already received critical acclaim, as its star studded video won the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year.
Although “Lover” as a whole is reminiscent of Swift’s previous work, it is diverse in comparison to her other projects. Swift never shies away from current pop music tropes or trends, but never fails to put her own spin on them. As she says, “I promise that you’ll never find another like me!”
“Lover” never tries too hard to present itself as anything more than what it is. It is simply an autobiographical album about a woman on the brink of turning thirty who reflects on her life and is self-aware of the world around her as well as her place in it. It speaks of a confident woman who has finally found the love of her life after numerous failed attempts, yet, despite her failures, still loves with the reckless abandon and the old soul she had as a seventeen-year-old. “Lover” is all-around some of Swift’s best work and has a song on it that everyone can enjoy.