Review: Gotta Lover?

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By Bridget Sjoberg | News Editor

Taylor Swift’s 18-track album “Lover” has already sold more than 500,000 copies, making it 2019’s top-selling album.

The album, which was released last Friday, is her longest to date and one she has been teasing for the past few months after dropping the lead single “ME!” in April.

“ME!” was everything you could want in a lead single—catchy, upbeat and even featured Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie. It in no way prepared fans for the album that would follow. “ME!” was a popular lead choice, but “Lover” stands as one of Swift’s greatest achievements to date.

With lyrics as captivating as those from “Speak Now” and “Red”, and synth-pop hooks as catchy as those on “1989” and “Reputation”, “Lover” stands as a testament to everything Swift has achieved so far in her career.

While “Reputation” was vengeful and biting, “Lover” seems to shrug off the haters and make light of difficult situations. The opening song “I Forgot That You Existed” displays this perfectly—she alludes to how she would take aim at an ex, but she doesn’t care enough to even put in the effort. This is a stark contrast to “Reputation”’s “This is Why we Can’t Have Nice Things” or “Look What You Made Me Do”’s supposed direct hits at Kanye West.

The album’s latest single, “You Need to Calm Down”, takes on internet bullies and homophobic haters with an aura of nonchalance. One of the album’s cleverest moments, “The Man”, questions how Swift’s career would be viewed differently if she was male. “Lover” replaces targeted revenge tracks with thoughtfully crafted pop hooks containing underlying powerful messages.

One of the album’s main triumphs is its ability to combine clever, picture-filled lyrics with an ’80s synth-pop sound. Songs like “Cruel Summer”, “London Boy” and “Paper Rings” all showcase Swift’s collaboration with songwriters like Jack Antonoff and Joel Little, known for writing and producing for artists like Lorde and Lana Del Rey.

The album contains references to school on songs like “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” and “It’s Nice To Have A Friend”, making the album feel like the soundtrack to a high school ’80s classic. “Lover” is a combination of the sounds of Carly Rae Jepsen and Lana Del Rey in the best way possible.

The album’s main accomplishment, however, lies in its ability to convey feelings of love. “Soon You’ll Get Better” features the Dixie Chicks and is one of “Lover”’s best and most meaningful songs. It’s a soft acoustic track in which Swift sings about her mother who is battling cancer—a follow up to previous tracks like “Fearless”, “The Best Day” or “Speak Now”’s “Never Grow Up”.

“Daylight”, the album’s finishing track, is a love letter to her new life perspective. She sings about letting go of past fears and struggles and finding someone who accepts her wholeheartedly despite her flaws. The song even ends with a voice recording in which Swift says that she wants to be defined by the things that she loves.

The best track on the album is “Lover”, a song that Swift wrote completely on her own. She takes mundane details, like leaving Christmas lights up until January and letting friends spend time in her living room, and makes them something entirely new.

The song builds up to a powerful bridge, with Swift singing “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue. All’s well that ends well to end up with you.”

The album succeeds because of Swift conveying what she knows best—love. Not just romantic love, but simple love for things like cities, the color blue, long car rides, golden sunsets and gaining a new perspective.

At the end of the day, Swift is a Lover, and that’s what makes her and this album so incredibly unique.