'Lover' is a colorful nod to Swift's musical past
Courtesy of Genius
Shedding her dark days of snakes, haunting phone calls and a cursed reputation, the “Old Taylor” rose from the dead on Friday, Aug. 23, with Taylor Swift’s seventh – and perhaps best – album.
“Lover” comes as the highly anticipated return from Swift’s hiatus, following the 2017 release of “Reputation” and her worldwide stadium tour. Shared through the album’s 18 tracks (her longest album yet), Swift gives fans a glimpse into her personal life, with anecdotes on her relationships, her family and life growing up.
The album is a shocking delight compared to the catchy singles released ahead of the full album, “ME!” and “You Need to Calm Down.” “Lover,” in its entirety, is rather intimate and personal, showing Swift’s vulnerability at its finest.
Swift’s lyricism is much greater than any pop beat or rhythm. Opening the album with “I Forgot That You Existed” is a symbolic move on Swift’s part. As described by Swift herself, the song is meant to represent an era of moving on. “I thought it might be a really fun way to open the album, like, basically kind of shrugging off a lot of things that you’ve been through that have been causing you a lot of struggle and pain,” Swift said in the piano demo for the song, included in the deluxe edition of the album. The catchy chorus, “I forgot that you existed / And I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t / And it was so nice / So peaceful and quiet,” sticks with you and leaves you wanting to remove the toxic energy from your own life.
“Lover,” the title track of the album, transports fans back to Swift’s “Speak Now” record, painting a scene of falling in love in a dazzling, mystical and romantic way. Swift has done a good job keeping her life with English actor Joe Alwyn private, but this track, especially the emotional bridge, gives listeners a glimpse into their relationship. “I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover / My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue / All’s well that ends well to end up with you / Swear to be overdramatic and true to my lover.”
Despite its title, the album isn’t just about love and Swift’s happy ending. The album’s fourth track, “The Man,” tackles the sexism that women face each day. “I’m so sick of running / As fast as I can / Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man,” the chorus sings. “And I’m so sick of them / Coming at me again / Cause if I were a man / Then I’d be the man.” Tackling another obstacle in Swift’s life, track 12, “Soon You’ll Get Better,” is an emotional and raw collaboration with the Dixie Chicks and an ode to Swift’s mother and her battle with cancer.
Buried between – but definitely not lost in – the album’s pop ballads, “Afterglow” is a beautiful plea to make a lover stay after being hurt, featuring the lyrics, “Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves / Chemistry ‘til it blows up, ‘til there’s no us / Why’d I have to break what I love so much? / It’s on your face, and I’m to blame.” In this track, Swift does what she does best: paints a heart-wrenching scene in under four minutes.
“Daylight,” the album’s last track, is a perfect conclusion to an album that celebrates love in all of its ways. The track celebrates a moment of revelation for Swift: “I’ve been sleepin’ so long in a twenty-year dark night / (Now I’m wide awake) / And now I see daylight (daylight),” A perfect end to Swift’s colorful and romantic return to the music scene and a perfect nod to her past.
Whether you’re a huge fan of Swift or not, it’s hard to deny the 29-year-old’s ability to tightly pack a whirlwind of emotion into a short song – something she’s been doing her whole life. “Lover” is the faithful return to Swift’s early days of love songs and bliss, but with more maturity and vulnerability. Looks like the “Old Taylor” can come to the phone after all.