The teen pop icon Taylor Swift has been in the music scene since 2006, when she moved to Tennessee to start a career in country music at the young age of 16. The slender, tall, blonde beauty connected with every teenage girl with her extremely personal and narrative songs. The American singer-songwriter has never shied away from baring her heart and soul in her music and that has constantly worked for her. The running joke of Tay having material for new music every time she goes through a break-up is not unfounded but it has given the world an insight of her feelings that we rarely get with someone so famous. She embraced the public eye and let the world see her grow up with ‘Fifteen’ and ‘22’, wore her heart on her sleeve with romantic hits like ‘Love Story’, ‘Mine’, and ‘You Belong with Me’, and delved into her pain with ‘Red’, ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’, and ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’. She even played on her boyfriend-jumping reputation with ‘Blank Space’. She has paved the way for newer singers like Ariana, Billie, and Halsey to effortlessly be themselves despite the tabloids and continues to lead that path ‘Fearless’ly. Her transition from country, to mainstream pop, and now to a more deconstructed, mellow, and liberated sound has been smooth and her most recent, some would argue, most epic album Lover gives us a peek into Taylor’s immense capability. With a whopping 18 tracks, the album explores several sides of the singer’s persona.
While ‘I Forgot That You Existed’ might seem like it’s directed toward an ex, she seems to throw this one at the haters and we’re glad to see the ‘Shake It Off’ Swift is still here. ‘Cruel Summer,’ tells us the story of a painful relationship where the “devils roll the dice” instead of the gods. The title track ‘Lover’ is pretty much exactly about what its name says. Taylor’s outlook towards love seems more mature and permanent than in her earlier love songs. And we can’t deny the almost Lana-esque vibe coupled with the absolute adoration in her voice, makes us want to have a lover just to sing them this song! While ‘The Man’ is empowering and gives us a rare and tiny peek at Taylor’s struggle as a woman in the industry, ‘The Archer’ lets us see her insecurities in a relationship. ‘I Think He Knows’ and ‘Miss America & The Heartbreak Prince’ are classic throwback Tay-Tay songs we have all grown to love. Followed by ‘Paper Rings,’ a fun 80s pop-rock bop that you can’t help but tap your feet to and possibly break into a funky dance do within the four walls of your room. Interestingly, ‘Cornelia Street’ is inspired by an actual apartment she briefly rented, a Greenwich Village home. She keeps repeating how it would be impossible for her to ever walk on Cornelia Street if her lover left her because of the memories they shared and the next song, ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’ seems like a natural continuation where she says, “the only thing we share is this, a small town”.
‘London Boy’ shows us how much Taylor is like us as she can’t quite resist a British accent either! The intensely emotional lyrics of ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ gives us another glimpse, after ‘The Best Day’, into her close relationship with her mother as she croons out the chorus that reflects her mom’s battle with cancer and strikes a chord in our hearts. ‘False God’ and ‘You Need to Calm Down’ are catchy tunes that describe two very different situations but have the same potential to be a radio hit. While ‘Afterglow’ is a slow tempo, relatable track; her collaboration with the singing champ, Brendon Urie whose voice and quirky personality add to the vibe of the song, ‘ME!’ is an upbeat self-deprecating, yet self-obsessive, very Taylor-like track. The penultimate song, ‘It’s Nice to Have A Friend’ has a simple single piano note undertone and tells the classic rom-com story of 'friend to boyfriend to husband' and the album ends with ‘Daylight’, an apt song for an album titled Lover. A chill song about finding love through all odds and the golden light it throws on your entire life. She ends the album with a voice recording of her saying “I want to be defined by the things I love, not the things I hate… I just think you are what you love.”
While she retains some of her sass from Reputation, in his album she also seems more empowered and confident than before, while still maintaining the vulnerability that has been her strength for over a decade. Her evolution from a typical teenage girl to a woman who knows and accepts herself completely is evident in Lover. – Tanya