Taylor Swift | Lover | Album Review
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
A sign of a great artist is someone who keeps pushing boundaries instead of treading familiar territory after seven albums. Taylor Swift’s experiments with different music genres are notably less clunky in Lover than her previous release Reputation, which awkwardly incorporated elements of hip-hop in tracks like “End Game.”
For example, “Cruel Summer” sounds like a melancholy rewrite of The Weeknd and Daft Punk’s undeniably catchy “I Feel It Coming.” In contrast with Swift’s good-girl image earlier in her career, in “Cruel Summer” Swift sings, “I’m drunk in the back of the car / And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar.” Five years ago, nobody would have expected Swift to sing about getting drunk and having an emotional breakdown.
Demonstrating variety in her sound, Swift still occasionally incorporates elements of country music in her work. Songs like “Soon You’ll Get Better,” a collaboration with the Dixie Chicks that includes a banjo and fiddle in the instrumentation, and discusses praying in times of trouble, illustrate a theme often associated with the country genre.
After years of famously being politically silent, Swift is also starting to address political and social issues in her music. “The Man” details Swift’s experiences with sexism, repeating, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can / Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.” Other songs like, “You Need to Calm Down” address both homophobia and online shaming.
Although, Swift hasn’t completely left her old self behind—she still likes to sing about love. The romantic “Cornelia Street,” which sounds very similar to her previous hit “Delicate,” is seemingly just a catchy song about a boy she likes.
The only low point in Lover is arguably the lead single “Me!,” which is lyrically generic for Swift and underutilizes the talent of guest vocalist Brendon Urie. Swift has said “Me!” is meant to be an anthem about self-love, which is a noble message but isn’t delivered eloquently with lyrics like “You can’t spell awesome without me.”