Both fans and casual listeners considered Taylor Swift’s previous album “reputation” to be a disappointment, despite the hype Swift and her fans gave it before its release. In her latest album “Lover”, released on Aug. 23, she combines her old country style with both her previously explored pop style and a newfound alternative feel.
The intro track to “Lover”, “I Forgot That You Existed”, combines substandard synth-pop instrumentals and lyrics reminiscent of a 2013 break up song to create an underwhelming intro to her seventh LP. The following tracks are equally as disappointing, including the title song, “Lover”.
“Lover” takes Swifties back to the early days of her career, but it fails to live up to the iconic tracks of her country era. Her vocals in the song and throughout the album attempt to replicate the popular new sound of artists like Alessia Cara and Halsey, instead of keeping with the vocals that initially made her relevant. Although it is not a bad song, it is nothing more than a plain ballad with meaningless lyrics.
“The Man” is a sorry excuse for a liberal version of Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy,” and even without the feminist themes, Queen Bee did it better. Swift claims if she were a man, she’d be “the man”, but fails to recognize that she already is.
While female artists do experience prejudice male artists do not, “The Man’s” lyrics suggest Swift is still regularly receiving that discrimination. She is right to call attention to the undeniable double standards in the music industry, but instead of acting like she remains heavily influenced by them, she should write about overcoming them.
Alternatively, “The Archer” is an emotionally powerful ballad that many fans believe to be about her past struggles with relationships, both romantic and platonic. The repetition of “they see right through me” in the bridge suggests that she is never perceived as a real person, only an idolized figure. Her impactful message about being emotionally vulnerable makes it one of the best tracks on the album.
Many of the previous songs on the album were somewhat failed attempts at a return to her old style, but “Paper Rings” brings in a new style only vaguely explored in previous albums “1989” and “Red.” “Paper Rings” combines an upbeat alternative feel with a sweet country-esque love story and is the perfect song for a car ride jam sesh. “Paper Rings” is sure to bring Swifties back to the first time they listened to “Love Story” in 2008.
“Lover” isn’t Swift’s strongest album, and like any album, it has its share of bad songs. However, the sharing of her personal, emotional stories to her fans was a refreshing change from the repetitive love stories of her past. If Swift continues with her new sound, she is sure to find a place in the new era of music.