Cape Town – I was once a big fan of Taylor Swift. I thought both Red and 1989 were some of the best pop records released in the past decade. But I have to say that Reputation saw my devotion fade. That's not to imply that the album wasn't musically sound or fantastic, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.
As Pitchfork said in their review of Reputation back in 2017: "The woman who built a career on family-friendly romances like Love Story and Mine now turns her gaze to the darker side of passion: obsession, jealousy, lust, the loss of control."
Much to my delight, with Lover, Taylor is back to making songs that capture the magic of being infatuated and recklessly tumbling into something more serious. Where Reputation left a bitter taste, Lover has come to sweeten: From Marmite to honey.
It would have been easy to write the 29-year-old off, as just another young talent left forever changed by the ugly side of fame, but throughout this sonically cohesive album, her Grammy award-winning talent is undeniable. One of the best examples of this is the song, Soon You'll Get Better featuring The Dixie Chicks. It is a laced with a beautiful melancholy guitar riff that is usually only found on a country record. But in the complicated mosaic that is Lover, it fits perfectly. It fits because the album flows between genres with real ease. The song is an echo of the singer's musical past that I really enjoyed, like a callback to a past episode of a show I loved.
Soon You'll Get Better is also a great example of how well Taylor works with Jack Antonoff, one of her main collaborators. Jack, Annie Clark (also known professionally as St. Vincent) and Taylor crafted a perfect pop bop on one of my other favourite tracks on Lover, Cruel Summer. It's catchy, effervescent and effortless to sing along to like the best synth singles from the 80s.
LISTEN TO THAT SONG HERE:
Lover was released on Friday, 23 August along with a new music video for the title track from the album. The clip creates a lush world that I wanted to live in. The song perfectly encapsulates the overall feeling of the collection of songs. It's a world built for two laden with lows that make the highs even more dizzying.
WATCH THAT VIDEO HERE:
My least favourite song on the entire album is actually the single ME! because of the spelling (even Taylor agrees with me on this) and the overproduction. I imagine if it were stripped down, its message would shine a bit brighter. Listen, I get it. Taylor might be for everyone because of a variety of issues both in the music and away from it. All I'm saying is that Lover is – for the most part – an album about love and perseverance, so if you need a hit of positivity, press play and give it a chance.