Taylor Swift Returns To Past Glory With “Lover”

Natalie Dest, Managing Editor

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After the disaster era of “Reputation,” Taylor Swift rises once again to claim her throne as the music industry’s leading pop sensation with the release of her seventh studio album, “Lover.”

Walking in the footsteps of her most lyrically and musically gifted pop-album “1989,” “Lover” reaches new heights of musical liberation leading the way for Swift’s newest era, almost as “Reputation” never even existed.

Released Aug. 23, Swift’s latest declaration of musical ambition is heavily inspired by dreamy 80’s music and romantic freedom. Rolling Stone is calling it her “most epic album” yet, one of uncharted territory.

With a growing number of 18 tracks, “Lover” commences with a track entitled “I Forgot That You Existed,” a post-trap house acknowledgment of “indifference” to her haters. A great sentiment to kick off the album, “Forgot” inspires inner peace with the use of a simple beat of a piano, straying away from her previous album’s feistier hip-hop flourishes.

Following track “Cruel Summer” takes inspiration from an 80’s pop anthem, including the iconic staple use of synths. Written with Jack Antonoff and Annie Clark, Swift tells a simple tale of taunted love in just three short minutes. Singing the lyrics, “It’s cool, that’s what I tell ’em, no rules / In breakable heaven but, It’s a cruel summer with you,” this upbeat potential single is addicting to the ear.

Title track “Lover,” lands as both the third track and third single off the seventh album. Serving as the album’s lead ballad, the track is highly vulnerable and honest with a laid-back aesthetic. With the slow tempo of acoustic guitar matched with drums and a single tambourine, the lyrics seem inspired as if they were taken from wedding vows.

Swift takes a quick break from the romance with track “The Man,” an anthem tackling sexism and double standards against women. Behind the lead of an electronic uptempo beat, Swift sings, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man / And I’m so sick of them coming at me again, ’cause if I was a man then I’d be the man.”

Following “The Man” is “The Archer,” a track lead by a sugary-sweet synth reverb in the background. Instead of building to an ecstatic beat drop, the track stays consistent and ends up slowly dissolving. However, the lyrics make up for the lack in buildup, as Swift sings “I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost, the room is on fire, invisible smoke / And all of my heroes die all alone, help me hold onto you.”

“Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” could have been a potential “1989” hit, a track that shows the familiarity of Swift’s lyrical genius. Arguably one of her best pop anthems on “Lover,” “Heartbreak Prince” is a deceptively layered tune that opens on the scene of a high-school romance, completed with a chorus of call-and-response echoes.

The song’s story opens with the lyrics, “You know I adore you, I’m crazier for you, then I was at sixteen, lost in a film scene / Waving homecoming queens, marching band playing, I’m lost in the lights.”

Following is “Cornelia Street,” a song that gets its title from a street in the West Village where Swift once rented an apartment.

“It’s about the things that took place, the memories that were made on the street,” Swift said on the Elvis Duran Show. The 29-year-old confessed this song to be one of her favorites and notes that she wrote it alone.

“Death By A Thousand Cuts” takes a special place on the album due to its inspiration behind the film “Someone Great,” a movie about a woman who ends a long-term relationship before she moves across the country.

The song’s electric guitar melody is perfectly matched with only Swift’s voice and a subtle beat. The beginning of the song is simple with just vocals, leading up to a constant piano melody paired with a single violin in the background.

A notable collaboration with the Dixie Chicks follows next on the track “Soon You’ll Get Better.” One of the albums rather sadder ballads, Swift wrote this song about her mother’s battle with cancer, which has been ongoing for a number of years.

With a simple acoustic guitar, banjo and background vocals from the Dixie Chicks, Swift revealed that it was “a family decision” to put this song on the record, calling it “something that I am so proud of.”

Number one single on the iTunes chart “You Need To Calm Down,” finally lands at track number 12. Being one of the top summer anthems of 2019, the second single off of “Lover” was released just in time for Pride Month in June.

The single speaks directly to the homophobic individuals who go against the LGBTQ+ community, specifically when Swift sings, “You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace and control your urges to scream about all the people you hate / ‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay.”

“Lover’s” first single follows shortly after, being another number one single entitled “Me!” featuring Panic! At The Disco’s frontman Brendon Urie. With a leading drum line and trumpet, this single serves as an anthem for those who need a confidence boost.

Both Swift and Urie in unison sing, “You can’t spell “awesome” without “me”, You’re the only one of you, baby, that’s the fun of you / And I promise that nobody’s gonna love you like me-e-e.”

Concluding the album is “Daylight,” one of “Lover’s” dreamiest tracks. Leading the album to a close, “Daylight” is a slow-paced track that rests upon a drum machine, while Swift reflects upon her past relationships, as well as her current one. She sings about stepping out of the “dark night” and into the “daylight.”

It’s the vulnerability, diverse instrumentation and pop mechanisms that make “Lover” shine in its own light compared to her previous 2017 release, “Reputation.” Defining moments of romance and self-love have helped Swift create her newest pop-fueled machine, an era finally worth supporting.