Taylor Swift revisits her country-pop roots with Lover

The singer's newest album stands out by returning to past sounds 

Swift's track list is full of songs with lyrical depth and soft, country-pop sounds. 

This August, Taylor Swift released her seventh studio album, Lover. Swift returns to her country-pop roots with this latest musical endeavor and reverts to a softer, more cheerful sound than that of her previous studio album, reputation. She also manages to once again deliver the lyrical prowess that’s made her one of the most iconic songwriters in recent years.

While each of Swift’s albums have their own sound, Lover is reminiscent of Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989, which has an eighties-pop feel. Although the lyrical content is more mature, Lover returns to a style Swift has already explored rather than attempting to break into new musical territory. This contrasts with reputation, which deviated from her body of work both lyrically and musically, shifting away from Swift’s typical light, country-pop songs to darker, more intense electronic tunes. 

Conversely, Lover’s mood is light and fanciful, with lyrical imagery of secret gardens and pink sunsets. The new album features more acoustic instruments than any of Swift’s albums had since her 1989 album transition from country-pop to full-on pop. For instance, Lover’s track “False God” features banjos, while other tracks feature fiddles and even the saxophone.

The album starts strong with “I Forgot That You Existed,” which describes the freeing feeling of forgetting an ex-partner you haven’t been able to get off your mind. The line “I forgot that you existed / It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference” is surely relatable to anyone who’s experienced a painful breakup. “Paper Rings” is another upbeat song with simple but sweet lyrics like “I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings.” “You Need to Calm Down” and “I Think He Knows” are the album’s other memorable and catchy pop tracks.

One upbeat track that doesn’t pack as much of a punch is the album’s lead single, “ME!” For a song co-written by Swift and Panic! At The Disco’s Brendan Urie, it falls short. The track fails to offer anything unique lyrically or sonically, with unoriginal lines such as “You can’t spell awesome without M-E” and a generic overall sound, leaving listeners anticipating an interesting twist that never comes.

The album’s slower songs are where Swift’s best lyrical depth is found. A standout track is the melancholy “Cornelia Street,” in which the singer describes the beginning of her romantic relationship in her Cornelia Street apartment, claiming she would “never walk Cornelia Street again” should the relationship end.  The album’s title track “Lover” is another dreamy tune reminiscent of Swift’s country era. “It’s Nice to Have a Friend,” the second-last track on the album, tells a story about childhood friends who turn into lovers, creating a timeless effect with no clear chorus or beat—which makes an interesting and unique track.

The album has enough non-romantic songs to leave room for variety in subject matter.  In “The Man,” Swift discusses the double standards men and women face, stating that if she were a man, she would be congratulated on her many romantic endeavors, instead of criticized for them. “Soon You’ll Get Better,” featuring the Dixie Chicks, chronicles the pain of watching a loved one’s health deteriorate, with the heart-wrenching line, “Holy orange bottles, each night I pray to you / Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too.”

Swift has described the album on her social media as “a celebration of love, in all its complexity, coziness, and chaos.” Lover truly does encapsulate what it’s like to be in love, taking listeners on a journey from insecure beginnings to the comfort of finding someone you belong with.

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