So it should not be a secret to anyone in my life that I am a diehard Taylor Swift fan. I heard the song “Teardrops on My Guitar” when I was 15 and the rest was history. The last 13 years with Taylor’s music have been a journey, leading up to the release of her latest album Lover which came out on Friday.
I will admit, I’ve been a bit annoyed with Taylor’s past couple album rollouts because she tends to release underwhelming (to me) singles in order to get attention from the general public (an audience I don’t think she really cared about until her wildly successful album 1989). The first single from Lover (ME!) straight up annoyed me while the second single (You Need to Calm Down) was cute but didn’t necessarily show off the writing she is capable of. Needless to say, I was a little nervous for Lover but fortunately the album exceeded my expectations! And now just for fun I’m going to do a track-by-track review of what may be my favorite album of hers ever.
- I Forgot That You Existed– While not a masterpeice by any means, this is a cute and fun way to begin the album. I think anyone who has gone through a bad breakup can relate to this song about waking up one day and just being over it. This is a catchy one- I find myself getting it stuck in my head often.
- Cruel Summer- I really don’t understand why this wasn’t a single. I think it would have been really successful on the radio! This isn’t my absolutely favorite song on the album but it is really fun and I can see it growing on me.
- Lover– I was a little disappointed when Taylor released this as the third single. It’s a cute love song but I dunno…it almost feels like a parody of one? Or something that someone who has never been in love wrote about what it feels like? I know that Taylor intended neither of those things. However, I bought the deluxe version of the CD from Target and the very last track is Taylor explaining about how she wrote the song and letting us hear the recording from when she initially played it for Jack Antonoff. She plays it for him on the piano instead of the guitar and let me tell you, it changes the entire vibe of the song. It sounds so much more sincere and I like it 10 times more. However, in the recording she explains to him that she definitely doesn’t want it to be on piano- she wants it to have a retro guitar sound. I think that was a bad choice overall and much would have preferred the piano version. Too bad I’m not one of Taylor’s producers. I would recommend buying the deluxe version just for that recording alone.
- The Man– Damn, this is a power anthem. I also think that Taylor totally could have released this as the first or second single. It’s catchy and well-produced but also has a strong message that would have resonated with a lot of people.
- The Archer– This is really the only song that Taylor released before the album that I liked. Simple production and melody, classic Taylor lyrics, and it gets stuck in my head ALL the time. Very self-aware and reflective.
- I Think He Knows– This song is the CUTEST. It’s so coy, sexy, and playful. Another song that totally could have been released as a single. I feel like once this song starts, it’s kind of a good intro to some sounds you hear throughout the rest of the album.
- Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince– I feel like from what I’ve read on Reddit and fan sites, this seems to be a big fan favorite. I’m not completely sold on it yet. It definitely has a political meaning behind it and the lyrics are very layered but sonically it’s just a little boring, especially with so many upbeat and fun songs on the album. Another one that will have to grow on me.
- Paper Rings– This reminds me of old school Avril and I LOVE IT. I’ve always been a big pop-rock girl and I could totally see Taylor delivering a whole album with this sound in the future. Most specifically, this song reminds me of “If You’re Wondering If I Want You To (I Want You To)” by Weezer both sound and lyric-wise. Such a cute little bop.
- Cornelia Street– This is a such a mature, beautiful song and a testament to my strong belief that Taylor delivers her best output when she works alone as a writer. Someone said that this is the grown up version of “All Too Well” (from RED) and I can kinda see it! Except I interpret it to have a much happier ending.
- Death by a Thousand Cuts– I’m still figuring out how I feel about this song. I would definitely say that it’s one of the more experimental songs that Taylor has ever written sound-wise. I think I mainly feel like it’s out of place in an album that’s all about finding true love! To have a breakup song right in the middle just feels weird. I think this could have been better on Reputation.
- London Boy– Cheesy as it sounds, this has been my favorite song on the album since first listen. It is not groundbreaking or insightful at all but it is soooo fun to listen to. And it really feels like she’s coming out and saying, “This is who I officially love- take it or leave it.” It has great sing along quality and I look forward to shouting out the lyrics when she goes on tour.
- Soon You’ll Get Better– Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Maybe the most sincerely sad and melancholy song Taylor has ever written? I love the simplicity of this one. She relays so much fear and uncertainty in so few words. I have teared up a few times listening to it.
- False God– This song is REALLY sexy and has such a unique sound for Taylor. It’s definitely a “bedroom jam”. I’m just not really sure I understand what False God means in the context of the song?? I like the religion metaphor but I’m not certain that it works completely.
- You Need to Calm Down– Again, a cute song. I understand the controversy around it from the left but I do think Taylor made it with the utmost sincerity and the fact that she got so many big names around her to participate in the music video speaks volumes too. Not the most well-written song ever but a certified bop.
- Afterglow– This is not my favorite song off the album but it’s definitely good and relate-able as someone in a long term relationship. I think Taylor’s message here is really mature- “Sometimes I start the arguments we get into and I own that. It’s completely my fault. But I’m invested in you and I want to work through it.”
- ME!– The only song on the album I really do not like. I don’t understand why it exists. I don’t understand why it was recorded. I don’t understand why Taylor and her team were like, “Hey, not only should we create this song but let’s make it the lead single from the new album and annoy people to death with it!”. I just do not think this song did Taylor any favors in getting the GP to like her and I know it let down a huge portion of her fans. Not the best career move and it doesn’t even really fit in with the album in my opinion.
- It’s Nice to Have a Friend– Another really experimental sound for Taylor. It kinda serves as a cute little interlude. It’s 3 verses- the first is about having a friend as a kid, the second is about having a friend as a young adult, and the third is basically about eventually marrying that friend. However, I kind of interpret it as each verse representing 3 different friends throughout life (because let’s be real- how often do you marry someone you knew from childhood?). This song is peaceful and calming. I really like it.
- Daylight– More proof that Taylor writes best alone. I think this is probably my favorite album closer of hers. The lyric, “I once believed love would be burning red but it’s golden in daylight”- whoa. I love Taylor’s callbacks to her previous work. This is so cleansing, reflective, and well-produced. Just a truly lovely song.
I hope this peaked your interest and will make you listen to the new album (no I do not work for Taylor or get a kickback for this- I wish! I just love her and her music). Off to listen to the album for the 10th time…
Until next time,