Lover | Review
by Julie Toft Carlsen
‘There will be no explanation, there will just be Reputation’ was Taylor Swift’s mantra for her last album, Reputation, with heavier beats conveying the artist’s will to be a darker album, unapologetically exploring darker themes.
Lover, her seventh studio album, opens with the song ‘I Forgot That You Existed’, an upbeat and playful track about the relief you feel when you come out of an all-consuming conflict. This instantly marks a tonal shift between Reputation and Lover. Here she’s making a statement about how she’s distanced herself from the anger of her previous record, being even able to find amusement in the situation.
Throughout the album there are several callbacks to Swift’s previous records: ‘Paper Rings’ blends a fun pop beat with more folk-y tones, reminiscent of her early work; ‘False God’ has the dreaminess of 1989, and in the chorus of ‘The Archer’ the lyrics links back to songs like ‘Stay Stay Stay’ and ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’ (miss Swift might have some abandonment issues). Multiple songs also use lyrics taken directly from previous tracks, such as ‘Daylight’, which repeats the heavily featured ‘burning red’ from Red.
The two lead singles, bubblegum pop songs ‘Me!’ and ‘You Need To Calm Down’, might overshadow some of the heavier and impactful songs on the album. Playing the record forward, ‘Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince’ uses a classic trope of the high school lovers to comment on the state of American politics, while ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ is a raw and emotional ballad to Swift’s mum as she underwent cancer treatment.
"With every new album, Taylor Swift undergoes a rebranding. 1989 sought to break from her country roots and Reputation was a dramatic change after the excitement of 1989. Lover, however, presents a woman who has been through the ringer of public scrutiny since her teens and has come out more confident and sure of herself than ever."
In ‘The Man’, Swift expresses her frustrations over the relentless scrutiny she receives from the media, by commenting on the highly gendered language we use everyday.
My personal favourite track, though, is ‘It’s Nice To Have A Friend’: the haunting choir, the simple melody, and Swift’s innocent lyrics all come together to make a stand-out track towards the end of the record.
With every new album, Taylor Swift undergoes a rebranding. 1989 sought to break from her country roots and Reputation was a dramatic change after the excitement of 1989. Lover, however, presents a woman who has been through the ringer of public scrutiny since her teens and has come out more confident and sure of herself than ever, as well as an artist who embraces their previous work and continues to play with their songwriting, shifting between pop radio hits, social commentary, and deep soulful ballads.