Taylor Swift’s next chapter finds its focus in true love, feminism and happiness.
Emerging from the secretive and secure reputation, Taylor Swift’s next step in her ever-growing repertoire finds its footing in pure optimism. And, of course, love.
Swift’s longest record to date, Lover, is an 18 track pop paradise. Rather than the harsh synths and mysterious sounds of her last record, Lover moves her music to a dreamier, whimsical place. Although it may not be as cohesive as her previous efforts, it provides the perfect snapshot of where Swift is in her life: lovestruck and truly happy.
The most important aspect of this record, amidst the recent music ownership scandal, is that it is the first record Swift herself owns. (You go, girl!)
This next chapter is packed with romantic odes to her current lover (I couldn’t help myself), flashbacks to high school along with pro-feminist and pro-LGBTQ+ anthems. The evolution of Taylor Swift as an artist has truly been a rewarding one. She no longer avoids the controversy; she simply – and openly – disregards it. Her last record even showed her embracing it. So, what does this all have to do with Lover? Well, sort of everything.
In her seventh studio effort, she begins on a note of indifference in the electronic pop opener “I Forgot You Existed.” It’s in the vein of reputation, but less gritty. This is more a note of being free to not being weighed down by negative energy. It simply shows she’s done with living in someone’s shade.
Album highlight and guaranteed future single “Cruel Summer” brings the album to its knees on the second song. The Jack Antonoff and Anne Clark (St. Vincent) assisted track is an unadulterated, euphoric rush. She literally screams in one of her bridges to date,
“For whatever it’s worth, I love you / Ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard?”
Other notable tracks on Lover include the cheeky “London Boy,” one of the best British-inspired jams that just happens to have Idris Elba in its opening seconds.
“I Think He Knows,” shows Swift at her best: having fun and in the middle of an adventurous romance. It is the guaranteed “cut-a-rug” track on the LP.
However, “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” takes Miss Swift back to high school. The ballad brings an impassioned Taylor to sing about school politics on top of a breathtaking romance.
The cheers and dramatics play to Taylor’s strength – who doesn’t love her theatrics? It is one of the reasons as to why Speak Now and Red make for some of her best works to date. She truly embraces and expresses every emotion at its fullest.
Now, speaking of politics, it is important to note how vocal the musician has been about political activism. (Thank god!) After swaying younger voters to register and informing viewers during the “You Need to Calm Down” video about the Equality Act petition, it was a question of whether or not she would bring it up in her new album. And the answer is … hell YES.
In her second single “You Need to Calm Down,” Swift publicly promotes LGBTQ+ messaging with an all-star LGBTQ+ cast. To top it all off, her song “The Man” discusses the harmful impact of gender inequality – especially in the work environment. She croons,
“If I out flashing my dollars/ I’d be a bitch, not a baller/ They’d paint me out to be bad/ So, it’s okay that I’m mad.”
Despite these empowering anthems, the sweet spot of this album falls in its ballads. Outside of “Americana,” title track “Lover” showcases her vocals and romanticism at its true peak. Trust me, it is sure to be the wedding song for the next generation. It shows Swift finding the one. Not just a crush or a relationship guaranteed to end. This is for Mr. Charming. And it is incredible to see Swift finding happiness after the neverending media blitz surrounding her previous relationships.
Outlier tracks, such as “The Archer,” the Dixie Chicks-assisted “Soon You’ll Get Better” and “Afterglow” help reign in the old Swift at her finest – being vulnerable through her gutwrenching transparency.
Some of the weaker links on Lover fall to “It’s Nice to Have Friend” and “Death by a Thousand Cuts.” These are not necessarily bad tracks, they are just not as sonically placed in the record as desired.
But, this album’s top five will definitely change frequently – especially among diehard Swifties. However, the messages are still succinct. For an album filled with 18 tracks, it doesn’t drag or feel too stuffy. This makes Lover one of her career highlights.
Lover is a dreamy, new entry into the Swift-mosphere. Its roots are founded in savoring every inch of real love, empowerment and not living in other people’s shade. She has grown so much since the “Teardrops on My Guitar” days and we’re all waiting with bated breath to see what will be on her mind – and life – next.