Two columnists with opposite feelings about Taylor Swift review 6 tracks from her new album, ‘Lover’.
By Ayah Elsheikh, ’20 and Hallie Underwood, ’20
Taylor Swift has done it again. Her fifth album is a perfect definition of love, inclusive of its butterflies and heartbreaks. Moving from country to pop earlier in her career, the album at first feels more like the Reputation-era Taylor we had come to know. But Taylor does a great job of painting a picture. I’ve been a fan since she sang about Romeo and Juliet in the Fearless era, through the beautiful transition to Speak Now, the acoustics of Red, the pop wonders of 1989. After reclaiming the media’s perceptions of her through snakes and dark lipsticks, I feel that Lover is completely genuine. A paradigm for the caricature that the Reputation era brought us.
You Need to Calm Down
One of the debut singles for the album, You Need to Calm Down is a true anthem. It’s new, it’s catchy, and it has a bold message. Some were skeptical of Swift singing about LGBTQ+ activism as a straight woman, but I think it’s pretty cool that Taylor sees the power of her platform. Instead of simply waving a rainbow flag, she painted her entire album rainbow and created a petition for U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act.
I think this song is smashing! It adds something fun to the album and its overall message. The British references to add a lot to such a cute, innocent song. It is a great song for daydreaming.
Soon You’ll Get Better
To the average listener, this is a slower, sweeter song off the album. Maybe one can pick up a more personal message in each verse. But to a Swiftie, there are a lot more layers, as we have heard about her mom’s battle with cancer for a few years now. This song is a tearjerker for this reason. It is relatable to anyone whose loved one has struggled with any illness or anyone who has been in a position where they have needed to cling to hope. Swift’s vulnerability stands out in this song.
I Think He Knows
This is my favorite song on the album right now, probably because of how easy it is to dance around your bedroom to. It’s catchy and it’s heartwarming.
The words “cruel summer” had been on my mind since the You Need to Calm Down music video, when it was featured with an Ellen Degeneres cameo. This song, maybe more than any other, seems like it was made to pick up right where 1989 left off. The lyrics are intriguing and display both the complexities of love and the writing talent of the great Taylor Swift.
The title song on the album wraps every song, every lyric, and every beat together in a tight little bow. It is, in a word, enchanting. It’s relieving. It is made for slow dancing or driving home while the sun sets. It makes me extremely proud to be a fan of Taylor Swift.
Although hate is a strong word, I do not go out of my way to listen to music by Taylor Swift. Listening to her new album was an opportunity to understand the depth of her sound. There was a time in which I belted “You Belong With Me” in the back of my moms SUV and downloaded “Trouble” onto my MP3 player after hearing it on the radio. Since then, not only has my music taste changed, but the way I view pop music as a whole has completely shifted. “Lover” is an album that pushed me to the deep end and told me to stay afloat.
You Need to Calm Down
Although the progressive message relayed through this song is a wonderful portrayal of pride and self-acceptance, I regret to be the one to say that it is a bit abrasive. A round of applause must go to Swifts marketing team because whatever they did right got this song stuck in all of our heads. The bouncing beat in the background makes for a slight headache but maybe I just need to calm down.
This is one of those songs that I would have to listen to on the radio every day for a week before I warmed up to it. The issue lies in its similarity to the music I would listen to in middle school, which ultimately gives it less esteem in my eyes. Along with the sound elements, there is also the cliché that comes with a song about British boys and American girls. It does not take away from the overall quality, it can simply be noted that the concept has been arguably exhausted.
Soon You’ll Get Better (ft. Dixie Chicks)
The blend of a soft guitar and soft harmonizing vocals allow this song to be the perfect background noise to a good cry. With the knowledge that this song was dedicated to Swift’s mother, I truly believe it beautifully captures the importance of relationships within our own lives.
I Think He Knows
I honestly have no other mental vision for this song except for the credits rolling at the end of a Barbie movie, which is not necessarily negative. In 2 minutes and 53 seconds the track achieves the title of exquisitely simple. There is nothing entirely flashy, yet it’s an enjoyable tune, especially with the high pitched singing.
In the beginning, I felt nothing but skepticism towards the Daft Punk-like voice in the background, as well as the overall spotiness of the pre-chorus. It was not until the chorus that I began to appreciate how Swifts echoing voice complemented the techno beat. Although the number one ‘Cruel Summer’ in my heart will always be the 1984 summer smash by Bananarama, Swifts takes number 2 on the list.
I love how, although this track reminds me of songs I heard from Swift when I was younger, there is simultaneously something new about it. Through the gentle yet powerful sound, I can feel the essence of the idea of reminiscing your love in the past and looking towards your love in the future. The pessimist in me wants to say that this song is nothing but a cheesy love ballad, but there is little room for criticism. There are very few songs that are capable of truly embodying the idea that they are conveying through the lyrics, but this one does just that.