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An Honest Review of Taylor Swift's Album "Lover"

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.

Taylor Swift, "Lover"

Taylor Swift, "Lover"

Taylor Swift's seventh studio album, Lover, was released on August 23, 2019, and is an open love letter to her beau and true love Joe Alwyn. It is easily her most romantic and dreamy album. While it features many sweet ballads and heartfelt numbers, it also includes several empowering anthems.

I have always been a fan of Taylor Swift and look forward to each of her album releases, and I was so happy and impressed by the vibe and sound of Lover. This is my honest review of the album, and my interpretation of the 18 tracks.

1. "I Forgot That You Existed"

The opening track of Lover is a breezy, straight-forward song that seems to be taking on all her naysayers and people who tried to bring her down. The beat is full of finger snaps and piano hits that keep Swift's vocals on full display and the passive aggressive lyrics right in your face. "I Forgot That You Existed" is a representation of when the proverbial fog lifts and you are able to distance yourself from your bad days and simply embrace the good. Eventually time heals everything and the negative memories fade. Many speculate this track is about the media, her ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris and possibly Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Memorable Lyric: “I forgot that you existed. I thought that it would kill me but it didn’t, and it was so nice, so peaceful and quiet, I forgot that you existed, it isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference.”

My Rating: 3.5/5

2. "Cruel Summer"

"Cruel Summer" has a big, bold production with pounding synths and powerful vocals by Swift that lay the foundation for a potential chart-topper. The song addresses the summer of 2016, when her drama with Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian-West was in full swing. However, it was also during the time that her romance with boyfriend Joe Alwyn was beginning to blossom, causing a whirlwind of emotions and feelings within the singer. While sadness and negativity was threatening her, the prospect and hope of new love kept her grounded. Swift found profound happiness amidst turmoil, which is heavily reflected in the lyrics.

Memorable Lyric: "Killing me slow, out the window. I'm always waiting for you to be waiting below. Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes. What doesn't kill me makes me want you more."

My Rating: 4.5/5

3. "Lover"

"Lover" is the third single from the album of the same name, and is a country ballad full of retro-styled musical motif. With the slow tempo and her signature guitar strumming, the song is a romantic and vulnerable track in which Swift sings about love and devotion to her partner. The lyrics are dreamy and heart-warming, with the songstress vowing to remain true and devoted to her lover. You can't help but sway to the beat of the song, and it truly makes you want to slow-dance with the one you love. The track sounds very much like the old Taylor, with her country roots on full display. "Lover" may definitely become a favorite for weddings, as it is clearly a love letter to the person you want to share your life with forever.

Memorable Lyric: "My heart's been borrowed and yours has been blue. All's well that ends well to end up with you."

My Rating: 5/5

4. "The Man"

Taylor Swift calls out sexist double standards and how society heavily criticizes women for their love lives, careers and overall behavior. "The Man" takes on these issues by wondering what would happen in certain situations if she were of the opposite sex. Swift herself has constantly been scrutinized for her romantic relationships and dating history, and poses the question that if she were male, would she have gotten as much flack? Aside from the romantic aspect, Taylor points out how frequently women are judged on their looks, behavior and attitude, while men do not have to face such deep scrutiny. This song is an anthem for women and truly empowers female fans everywhere.

Memorable Lyric: "I would be complex, I would be cool. They'd say I played the field before I found someone to commit to. And that would be okay for me to do, every conquest I made would make me more of a boss to you."

My Rating: 5/5

5. "The Archer"

"The Archer" was released as a promotional single for the album, and has a synth-pop dreamy sound that features heavy synthesizers and overall '80s feel. The song is dark and very vulnerable, and seems to be a confession of sorts by Swift. It focuses on her well-documented highs and lows in the media and how her image has been broken and beat down over the years. "The Archer" is delicate and honest, with Swift being a bit self-hating and highly-critical of herself. She discusses how she's been both the hunter and the prey, having thrived and been in control, as well as fallen and rendered it. The song is deep and refreshingly honest, making it one of the star tracks from the album.

Memorable Lyric: "I've been the archer, I've been the prey. Who could ever leave me, darling? But who could stay?"

My Rating: 5/5

6. "I Think He Knows"

"I Think He Knows" is a cool, laid-back track that is more stripped down than the other songs on the album. Swift snaps her fingers to help guide the beat, keeping the production simple and to the point. The song features vocals that are a pleasant combination of breathy and sensual, and slowly builds to a falsetto chorus. It highlights an at ease and content Taylor, and represents how happy and confident she is in her relationship. The lyrics are fun and playful with Swift wondering just how much her lover knows about her feelings for him. Though its a laid-back track, that signature Swift touch is all over it that makes you feel young and in love, no matter your age.

Memorable Lyric: "He got that boyish look that I like in a man. I am an architect, I'm drawing up the plans. He's so obsessed with me and, boy, I understand. Boy, I understand."

My Rating: 4/5

7. "Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince"

"Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince" upon first listen has classic Swift lyrics, focusing on her teenage dreams. However, if you look closer you will see that it's actually layered with angst of the economic and political systems in the country, as Swift confirmed. The song is set in a metaphorical high school, full of disillusionment in our current world. The track is a great mixture of old school Americana vibes paired with a modern-age love story. It is an ode to love and has a dreamy beat and production that is similar to Lana Del Rey's signature sound.

Memorable Lyric: "The whole school is rolling fake dice. You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. It's you and me, there's nothing like this. Miss Americana and The Heartbreak Prince."

My Rating: 4/5

8. "Paper Rings"

"Paper Rings" is a fun, upbeat toe-tapper that has an old-school rock n' roll feel that makes you just want to get up and dance. It's definitely a song that immediately perks up your ears and gets you in a good mood. Swift's vocals are both strong and dreamy, and the little ditty is definitely infectious. She sings about how money and fancy things don't matter and that all she really wants to be is with the one she loves. The upbeat song is definitely a crowd pleaser and you can't help but smile as she serenades the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

Memorable Lyric: "I like shiny things, but I'd marry you with paper rings, uh-huh."

My Rating: 5/5

9. "Cornelia Street"

"Cornelia Street" is definitely one of the stand-out tracks from the album, which has the singer crooning about the early days of her relationship with her beau. The lyrics discuss Swift renting a place on New York City's Cornelia Street and all the memories attached to it, and if they broke up she could never return to the spot. Fans seem to really enjoy "Cornelia Street" and the image it paints of falling in love with someone new, and the initial fear that you could one day lose them. It is open and honest and dreamlike all at the same time.

Memorable Lyric: "I hope I never lose you, I'd never walk Cornelia Street again. Oh, never again. And baby, I get mystified by how this city screams your name. And baby, I'm so terrified of if you ever walk away. I'd never walk Cornelia Street again."

My Rating: 4/5

10. "Death by a Thousand Cuts"

Not every song on Lover is full of dreamy, romantic ballads. "Death by a Thousand Cuts" is a tender breakup song that features Swift singing about how difficult it is to lose the ones you love. It seems to focus on the pain associated with the comings and goings of both lovers and friends, and how difficult it can be to move on from those people. The beat and sound is unique, with the intro immediately capturing your attention and drawing you in. The lyrics are naked and honest, and discuss how Swift is trying to cope with losing her lover.

Memorable Lyric: "I get drunk, but it's not enough. 'Cause the morning comes and you're not my baby."

My Rating: 4.5/5

11. "London Boy"

The title of the song makes it clear as day that this track is all about her longtime love, Joe Alwyn. "London Boy" features the songstress singing about her life in the U.K. and how it has become such an important aspect of her world. The song is an open love letter to her boyfriend who resides there. Swift discusses walking around the Camden Market, watching rugby and grabbing a drink at the local pub. She repeatedly croons how much she fancies her man, and the track is full of vivid imagery that you can't help but smile at.

Memorable Lyric: "You know I love a London boy, I enjoy nights in Brixton, Shoreditch in the afternoon. He likes my American smile, like a child when our eyes meet, Darling I fancy you."

My Rating: 5/5

12. "Soon You'll Get Better" (ft. Dixie Chicks)

Arguably one of her most brutally emotional and raw songs to date, "Soon You'll Get Better" features back-up vocals by the country trio Dixie Chicks. The song is about Taylor's mom's battle with cancer and how terrified she is to lose her. The track is deeply moving and emotional, containing lyrics that so many people can relate to. It truly brings tears to your eyes and chokes you up, because Swift is singing about a situation that so many have gone through. She is vulnerable and honest, and you can hear just how much emotion and pain she's in. A few times her voice cracks and it truly is heart-wrenching; the Dixie Chicks harmonizing make it even more devastating and powerful.

Memorable Lyrics: "And I hate to make this all about me. But who am I supposed to talk to? What am I supposed to do, if there's no you?"

My Rating: 6/5

13. "False God"

"False God" is a sensual and seductive song featuring a slow, steady beat and the addition of some seriously sexy saxophone solos. The moody track once again focuses on Taylor and Joe's relationship and how they've gotten through difficult times, only to emerge stronger than ever. It features some very sensual lyrics that highlights the intimate aspect of their relationship. "False God" is revealing in the way that Reptuation's "Dress" was, with the singer being open about her sexuality and maturing sound. She uses religious imagery to compare to her relationship.

Memorable Lyric: "But we might just get away with it, religion's in your lips. Even if it's a false god, we'd still worship it. We might just get away with it, the altar is my hips. Even if it's a false god, we'd still worship it."

My Rating: 3.5/5

14. "You Need to Calm Down"

The second track released from Lover, "You Need To Calm Down" addresses both homophobia and her critics in the anthem. Taylor made a statement like she never had before, standing up for herself, fellow artists and friends in the LGBTQ community. The video was full of a number of famous celebrities, many of whom identify as LGBT. It is an empowering song that makes Taylor's thoughts and opinions very clear.

Memorable Lyric: "You are somebody that we don't know, but you're comin' at my friends like a missile. Why are you mad? When you could be GLAAD?"

My Rating: 3.5/5

15. "Afterglow"

Another fan favorite for many from the album, "Afterglow" is dedicated to Taylor's lover, but instead focuses on the difficult side of being in a dedicated relationship. She sings about how they fight and make up, and how she wants to apologize for starting arguments with her significant other. Taylor describes how upset they both become, and how she hates seeing her lover upset. It shows maturity and growth for the singer, as she admits when she is wrong and is willing to take the blame for her actions. Though they fight, they always end up back with one another.

Memorable Lyric: "It's so excruciating to see you low, just wanna lift you up and not let you go. This ultraviolet morning light below, tells me this love is worth the fight, oh."

My Rating: 4/5

16. "ME!" (ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco)

"ME!" was the debut single off of Lover, and is a super bubbly and pop-laced track. It is very cheerful and peppy, and the definition of bubble-gum pop. The song doesn't try to take itself too seriously, as evident with the somewhat cringy spelling session Taylor and Brendon share. The pop song has a melody that gets stuck in people's heads and makes them feel good about themselves while listening. You can't help but be put in a good mood, even if the lyrics aren't as elevated as Swift's normally are.

Memorable Lyric: "But one of these things is not like the others, like a rainbow with all of the colors. Baby doll, when it comes to a lover. I promise that you'll never find another like me-e-e."

My Rating: 3/5

17. "It's Nice to Have a Friend"

This song is pretty straightforward and transparent; it centers on Taylor singing about a love story that originates in grade school and evolves and grows into adulthood. The track is arguably the most unique and captivating on the album; with its gently plucked harps, eerily haunting backing vocals and simple beat, "It's Nice To Have A Friend" is both soothing and uncomfortable. Swift makes the song into an alluring mystery, with seemingly simple lyrics that give the track a delicate vibe, both sonically and structurally.

Memorable Lyric: "Church bells rings, carry me home. Rice on the ground looks like snow. Call my bluff, call you "Babe." Have my back, yeah, every day. Feels like home, stay in bed the whole weekend."

My Rating: 4/5

18. "Daylight"

The final track on the album is Taylor realizing that she has finally found the all-consuming true love she has been looking for all this time. In some ways it seems like she is letting go of the past and all her heartbreaks and heartaches, shedding the weight of the disappointment and sadness that once held her down. Swift is able to own up to her own past mistakes and failed romances, because they ultimately don't matter anymore. She found her other half and only wants to live in the daylight of the love she has found. The songstress has truly come full circle and found her true happiness.

Memorable Lyric: "I don't wanna look at anything else now that I saw you. I don't wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you. I've been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night. And now I see daylight, I only see daylight."

© 2019 Rachel M Johnson


Rachel M Johnson (author) on June 22, 2020:

Hi The Writing Knees, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

The Writing Knees on June 22, 2020:


Rachel M Johnson (author) on August 28, 2019:

Hi Muhammad, I agree that they are very good songs!

Muhammad Abdullah on August 28, 2019:

All of them are really great songs in my opinion.

Rachel M Johnson (author) on August 25, 2019:

Hi Noel, thank you! I was very impressed with this album and really feel she’s maturing as an artist. I love Paper Rings, Soon You’ll Get Better and London Boy most.

Noel Penaflor from California on August 24, 2019:

Solid review. Only listened to Lover once. I usually take more listens to fully formulate an opinion. The Man and Paper Rings are my favorites so far.