For the Most Part, I’m Loving Taylor Swift’s New Album

A Review


Haley Longfellow, Editorial Board

Back in the day, Taylor Swift’s music was the pinnacle of pop culture for little girls. Her charming 2006, 2008, and 2010 country albums were innocent and clever, perfect for family car rides and impromptu dancing in the living room.

In 2012, Taylor released Red, a more pop-oriented collection of songs. It struck a chord with audiences, allowing the millennial artist to transition to 1989 in 2014 and Reputation in 2017. A few weeks ago, Taylor debuted a new album: Lover.

The cover art may be dizzyingly radiant, but the theme of Lover is all too clear. It is about interpersonal connection and acceptance.

Songs such as London Boy (“he likes my American smile, like a child when our eyes meet / darling, I fancy you”) and Cornelia Street (“as if the street lights pointed in an arrow head / leading us home”) evoke imagery of blissful interactions. The same goes for the more subtle I Think He Knows and Cruel Summer. Invigorating lyrics such as (“he got my heartbeat / skipping down 16th avenue”) and (“and I snuck in through the garden gate / every night that summer just to steal my fate”) are woven in, but nonetheless beautiful.

Another theme of Taylor’s album is small victories in relationships. Bursting with adoration, Paper Rings is snappy (“I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings”), while I Forgot That You Existed celebrates the severing of toxic ties to the past. It features a spoken phrase for emphasis (“it isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference”).

It’s Nice To Have a Friend is perhaps my favorite part of Lover. Although it is a song of few words, it describes friendship in the best way; it is quaint and refreshing, mentioning “sidewalk chalk covered in snow” and “you’ve been stressed out lately, yeah, me too”. Soon You’ll Get Better (which features Dixie Chicks) is also darling. The vibe is similar to that of the duets Everything Has Changed and The Last Time from Taylor’s album Red. It is pleasant, captivating, and quite distinctive from that of many of the songs that are currently popular.

It is almost as if early 2000s kids have grown up with Taylor Swift, her albums representing stages of coming-of-age. Appropriately, the song Lover from Lover has a mature air, and the music video portrays a daydream and a happy family sharing holiday memories.

ME!, a duet with Brendan Urie, has a totally different dynamic from these sweet songs. To be frank, it is cliche and tiring, and it makes Taylor come off as a bit self-centered. Similarly, You Need to Calm Down is upbeat but catchy to a fault. It is somewhat more enjoyable than ME!, though, and the message is important. It is fortunate that the quality of these mainstream songs does not undermine the entirety of Taylor’s album. Tracks like the smooth and soulful False God make an easy recovery.

Lover is jam-packed with elements of different styles. Musically, this makes the album seem a bit incoherent, but that could coincide with its significance. Perhaps, its purpose is to echo a greater theme: the interplay of diverse individuals. With time, I think that Lover could become a Taylor Swift classic. 

Sources: People, YouTube, Genius Lyrics

Image Courtesy of Time