After the vengeful, retort-filled album ‘Reputation’ by pop-sensation Taylor Swift, critics and her following alike, were expecting something dramatically different than what she delivered. Swift’s newest 18-track creation is filled with optimistic choruses, visceral and raw lyrics, and an attitude that takes us back to ‘2014 Taylor Swift.’ The title of her new album, ‘Lover’ is not misleading whatsoever. She returned to her musical career with incisive romantic pop that allowed the old Taylor to finally pick up the phone.
To say the least, ‘Lover’ is an infectious record where each track has the listener at the edge of their seat. From the evocative lyrics like “and I cut off my nose just to spite my face” or “religion’s in your lips even if it’s a false god;” to the playfully catchy melodies, it is a near-perfect culmination of everything Taylor.
One of my favorite tracks – ‘London Boy’ – is an endearingly awkward celebration of spending time with her partner, Joe Alwyn, in various places in his hometown. “And now I love high tea, stories from uni, and the West End,” Swift sings unapologetically. The attitude of this tune can best be described as clumsy fun, with Swift wallowing in reminiscent daydreams and toothy smiles.
‘Lover’ also addresses social issues that have been recent controversies in national and international politics. These statement songs include ‘The Man’ and ‘You Need To Calm Down’ and address issues of sexism and feminism, as well as the LGBTQ+ community. “They’d say I hustled, put in the work, they wouldn’t shake their heads and question how much of this I deserve if I were a man,” Swift sings pithily; a blunt clap-back to the sexist double standards that have infected press couverage. To say the least, this song has become a hugely useful feminist anthem.
‘You Need To Calm Down’ has launched more controversy. In this track, we find Swift attempting to align herself with the LGBTQ+ community by featuring queer celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Coz, Adam Rippon, and Hayley Kiyoko in the video. Written to be an anthem for the gay community, Swift screams “Cuz shade never made anybody less gay!” after the bridge. While the song is clearly well-intentioned, many have accused her of taking advantage of the LGBTQ+ community for views, attention, and media coverage.
No matter your previous opinions on Swift, there is no doubting that her new album shook the pop industry to the core. Look at what we made her do!
– Maggie Di Sanza