‘Lover’ marks dawn of seasoned era

Emily Stisser
Entertainment Columnist

After 15 distinguished years in the industry, Taylor Swift has yet to comply with benchmark expectations. “Lover” only supports this conclusion, and pervading Swift’s empire as female sound of our time.

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Taylor Swift released her seventh studio album, “Lover,” on Aug. 23, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Photo from http://www.TaylorSwift.com

“I Forgot That You Existed” is the first track on Swift’s seventh studio album. Since it’s release, fans have speculated that this title track illustrates Swift’s recent feelings regarding Karlie Kloss. Up until 2017, the pair was frequently seen frolicking around New York City, all over each other’s social media, and even on the cover of Vogue together in February 2012.

Whether or not this song spills about a friendship-breakup with Kloss, it sends a clear message to every hater, foe and fake that has wronged her. The upbeat chorus boasts, “I forgot that you existed, and I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t,” establishing a blithe, cool tone for the rest of the 18-track lineup.

“Cruel Summer” was released solely for the purpose of midnight driving in a convertible with a new love interest, or a few best friends, but that’s just my opinion. Sound wise, this fiercely refreshing track is most similar to the general sound and feel of Swift’s sixth studio album, “Reputation” (2017). “Cruel Summer” is the indisputable cool girl of the album.

“Lover” was the fourth single released prior to the album. It quickly captured the hearts of those familiar with Swift since her teen love songs, delivering a similar sound and experience to her universal ballads. Similar to a dreamy love letter, this track personifies Swift and boyfriend Joe Alwyn’s private relationship of three years. It feels somewhat like a more mature version of falling utterly in love. This song was also written and composed solely by Swift, as are most of the more personal songs on the album. 

Reported by On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Swift said, “‘That’s the song I wrote alone, and it was one of those songs that just freely… I just somehow wrote this song really quickly in the middle of the night at my piano and all of a sudden I knew that was the title of the album.’”

I also want to give a nod to “The Man,” “I Think He Knows,” “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince,” “Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. Dixie Chicks)” and “It’s Nice To Have A Friend.” My personal favorites are tracks nine and 10, “Cornelia Street” and “Death By A Thousand Cuts.” The personal lyricism, unique sound, and cohesive quality of the songs have designated them as clear standouts.

Simply said, “London Boy” is an ode to her British better half, Alwyn. In connection to earlier track “Lover,” “London Boy” provides an inside illustration to the couple’s private, yet exciting life in London. First describing her love for her life in the States, Swift proceeds to confesses her apparent love for her Brit and his hometown. In the 11th track Swift says, “And now I love high tea, stories from uni and the West End.”

Quick to receive backlash, “ME!” was the lead single for Swift’s seventh studio album released in late April. The elementary track featuring Bredon Urie of Panic! At the Disco did not highlight or represent Swift’s history of award-winning songs and songwriting. 

Although it is one of my personal least favorite tracks on the album, it did exactly what she needed it to do business-wise. A fun, upbeat, simple song like “ME!” successfully boosted initial radio play while broadcasting the release of her upcoming album. It almost got so much attention because it was so bad. Although it was not a brilliant paradigm of her songwriting geniusness, it was a marketing power-move.

The 18th and final track on the album is certainly not the least. This honest piece, again written and composed by Swift alone, portrays itself as an open confession of the evolving human Swift was, is, and hopes to be. After spending the past 10 plus developmental years in stardom, it is important, even crucial, that the artist takes time to reflect, process, and look back, hence “Daylight.”

“Lover” closes with 13 seconds of silence; in my perspective, this element serves as a  homage to the past 13 remarkable, fierce and indescribable years of Swift’s career. 

Just two days following its release, “Lover” became 2019’s best selling album in the United States. The album also had the most first-week sales of any album after just one day. 

In the past, Swift has routinely released higher priced deluxe albums, including bonus tracks or special features alongside standard versions. Instead, Swift set “Lover” apart as a precise labyrinth of songs fans have needed the past two years. By only releasing a standard version of the album, Swift leveled the playing field for all listeners. 

“Lover” also comes at the wake of Swift’s masters being sold to Scooter Braun of Capitol Records without her consent. Until this year, Swift had remained by choice with the Nashville-based label she had signed with at age 15, Big Machine Records. Big Machine was sold to Capitol Records for $300 million. 

Swift described the situation as the “ultimate betrayal” and “her worst nightmare,”  continuing to explain how she had always felt targeted by Braun through his connection with adversary Kanye West. “Lover” is technically the first album Swift fully owns, making its success, praise, and exposure that much more meaningful for her and supporters.

Jack Antonoff, songwriter, lead singer of the indie pop band Bleachers, and co-producer on many of Swift’s past songs maintained a prominent role in the newly released album. Antonoff co-produced eight songs on “Lover,” those being (in order), “Cruel Summer,” “The Archer,” “I Think He Knows,” “Paper Rings,” “Death By A Thousand Cuts,” “ London Boy,” “Soon You’ll Get Better” and “False God.” Antonoff and Swift’s various collaborations have triumphed a unique, distinctive style. To keep it brief, they are lyrical masterpieces with intertwined with a sound you have never heard before. The pair has worked on over 20 songs together over the past six years. 

As a self proclaimed Swiftie since the age of seven, I will always be a supporter of her work. But I can admit that in my opinion,  her previous album, “Reputation” faltered from what I would have liked to see. “Lover” is the perfect redemption of Swift’s career, inspiring a new era of music on the eve of her 30th birthday.

“Lover” is available on all streaming services and can be digitally purchased for $11.99.

 

Emily Stisser – Opinion Editor 

This is be Emily Stisser’s second year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.

 


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