Today, I’m going to be breaking down Taylor Swift’s new album, “Lover.”
To be clear, I’m not the biggest Taylor Swift fan (anymore). I enjoyed her albums up until 1989 and since then, I haven’t gone out of my way to listen to her new songs.
What made me change that now are all the amazing things I’m hearing online and in person. People view this as her best album yet, the most mature and lyrically dynamic.
Unfortunately, I have to disagree. All the songs have interesting concepts behind them, whether that be in blending genres, the lyrics, or the beat.
Despite this strong base, most of the songs end up blurring together in one big emotional mess. After listening, I couldn’t tell you the names of half the songs, or even recall their choruses. Swift turns her heartfelt potential into nothing more than commercial pop, which is especially disappointing because she’s proven she can do better.
To write this review in the most balanced way possible, I went back and fully listened to “1989” and “Reputation.” I will be comparing “Lover” to these past albums to articulate exactly why this album was a sore letdown for me and why I believe it is her worst album to date.
I Forgot That You Existed: this song sets the standard of opening with an interesting chord riff and beat, something entirely unique to Swift. That’s where my praise ends. The point of this song is vague, strangely so for such a specific concept. And I’m going to say it now, I’m tired of Swift jumping out of the music to add something in an exasperated voice. She’s done it one too many times for it to still be entertaining.
Cruel Summer: another very cool opening. “Devils roll their dice, angels roll their eyes” is my favorite line from this entire album. Though, Swift has also exhausted the devil/angel trope .. When this song is not in its chorus, it’s actually an interesting listen. What ruins it is the breezy, high pitched chorus repeated throughout this album. Maybe it would be fine if it were only in a couple songs, but it comes up in nearly all of them.
Lover: the only song in this album I absolutely adored. I wish the whole album followed in this vein. It reminds me of Swift’s country days in the most perfect way. I haven’t heard these raw, stripped down emotions in her albums for a long time. While I don’t like the airy chorus in the other songs, it works perfectly here.
The Man: great sentiment, especially since Swift has a legion of young female fans. I don’t know what to say about this song other than that it sounds so familiar to other songs she’s written, making it unmemorable.
The Archer: there’s nothing positive I can say about this one. It was so repetitive and boring I found it difficult to sit through in full. The main problem with this album is how there’s no set style for Swift to work with, as she’s established for her albums in the past. This song could’ve just as easily been in “1989.” What’s supposed to make this album stand out to me?
I Think He Knows: simply too repetitive. It barely stands out from “I Forgot That You Existed” or “Cruel Summer.”
Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince: there was so much potential here, which blew up as soon as the chorus hit. I don’t know what happened to Swift. Usually her choruses are usually so strong. I expected more for a song with an innovative subject matter. I’m used to each song in Swift’s albums expanding on the emotional range presented. By the end, you feel like you’ve gone on a journey. In contrast, this album’s songs stagnate, while waiting for one decent song to save them.
Paper Rings: in any other Taylor Swift album, I think this would be one of my favorite songs. However, because I’ve heard Swift express this same sentiment to death in only the first eight songs of this album, it has no impact.
Cornelia Street: in what way is this unique from anything Swift has done before? Some repetitiveness is expected and even encouraged to create a cohesive album. This crosses the line into running out of ideas.
Death By A Thousand Cuts: this song is definitely not the worst. However, that doesn’t mean it’s memorable. The one thing I’ll say in it’s favor is that I like how it opens immediately with the chorus. It provides some contrast to the previous songs.
London Boy: I like how Swift plays with contrasts and traditional British words vs. American ones. It’s the level of songwriting cleverness I expect from her. The problem I have is how the whole thing sounds overly synthesized, which strips away the joy she’s trying to express.
Soon You’ll Get Better: this is the best song after “Lover.” It’s deeply emotional to where I can feel Swift’s sadness come through the lyrics. Alas, like so many songs on “Lover,” this sadly feels too long, despite being barely over 3 minutes.
False God: this has the best opening out of all the songs, yet by immediately switching into the “1989” style, robs all potential individuality.
You Need To Calm Down: Swift already spent most of “Reputation” complaining about her haters. Now the message is just getting old. The beat for this song is truly fantastic, so it upsets me she would waste it on a tired subject matter.
Afterglow: utterly unremarkable.
ME!: This song has irritated me to no end over the months since it came out. I understand it’s about self-love, which is positive and all that. The saccharine presentation and painfully bubbly chorus are what put me on edge.
It’s Nice To Have A Friend: not jam-packing this song with lyrics is what makes this song compelling. The musical interludes without lyrics are pretty and stylistic. The lyrics, on the other hand, lack any substance.
Daylight: I actually like this clean, bright style. If I’m being honest, the lyrics here weren’t the worst. What drove me crazy was the amount of times Swift repeats the word “daylight.” The spoken piece at the end is out of place, meant for a more profound song.