Two years removed from her last album, Reputation, and 13 years removed from her debut, the prolific Taylor Swift is back with her seventh commercial release entitled Lover. As an ode to love in all its messy forms, the album shines as a butter smooth, euphorically care-free reflection on her love for life.
With this release, it feels like Swift has finally found the confidence in her sound and voice she has struggled with since switching from a young country artist to a legitimate pop superstar. Unlike her album 1989, Lover seems less like an album that chases the trendiest sounds. Although 1989 has a bit of Taylor Swift’s signature songwriting, the album wore its indie-pop influences on its sleeve drawing from artists like the 1975, Lorde and producer Jack Antinoff’s band Bleachers.
In contrast, Lover has more a unique Taylor Swift imprint while still maintaining the sleek aesthetic of mid-2010’s indie-pop. Lover is also a return to form for Taylor Swift when compared to the melodramatic mess of the album Reputation. The unbearable moodiness of her last album is nowhere to be found on this one.
“The Man” stands out as a high point on the record. The song is a feminist anthem at its core but unlike many other top-40 songs on similar topics, it comes off as reflective and questioning instead of preachy. I appreciate how Swift reflects upon and deconstructs the double standards that women face. Despite its reflective tone, the song still has the abrasive energy of a huntress in the woods looking for her kill. The song’s mantra, “I’m so sick of running as fast I can, wondering if I’d get there faster if I was a man” perfectly captures the feeling that many women and minorities have while going through life.
“False God” is a slower yet equally beautiful jam. The punchy drums cut through the soft synth atmosphere and the sexy saxophone riffs all while Ms. Swift’s voice floats effortlessly on top. The wordplay is poignant as Swift equates love to a false religion. The line “make confessions, and we’re begging for forgiveness / got the wine for you” is an example of the ingenious lines sprinkled throughout the record.
Another one of my favorite songs was “ME!” featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco fame. The song is bright and fun as it features soaring harmonies and an energetic snare drum groove. It also has my favorite line on the entire record as Urie says, “you can’t spell AWESOME without ME!” The lyric is absolutely hilarious and made me laugh out loud while I was listening to it for the first time.
Other highlights included “Cruel Summer,” “Paper Rings” and “London Boy.”
The one thing that really holds Lover back from being undisputedly her best work or one of the most essential albums of the decade is its long hour-and-six-minute run time. This album could easily be cut down to about 43 minutes of the best songs. The songs “Archer,” “I Think He Knows,” “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” “Afterglow,” and “Daylight” could all be cut and the album would be better for it. It’s not that these songs are inherently awful, but they are redundant and boring. I don’t think that Taylor Swift is versatile enough to warrant such a long run time.
In short, Lover is a shimmeringly fun, but long-winded album with sharp lyricism and songwriting that represent some of Taylor Swift’s best work. The album is perfect for long car rides or chilling in your dorm room with friends. So grab that guy you’ve been crushing over and a few gallons of gas and plan a spontaneous road trip to Columbus soundtracked to Taylor Swift’s newest album.
By Joseph Cotton | Staff Writer