Taylor Swift’s “Lover” – Album Review
August 28, 2019
“How many days did I spend thinking ‘bout how you did me wrong?” is the first lyric listeners heard when pressing play on Taylor’s Swift long-awaited seventh album “Lover“, released on August 23, 2019.
It is an album that according to Swift, is “a celebration of love, in all its complexity, coziness, and chaos”— and an album that dismisses twisted darkness— something that she explored in her last album, “reputation”— in exchange for bright, golden daylight.
Swift has never been shy of writing love songs— in fact, it’s what’s she is known for. However, not to be confused by its title, “Lover” is not simply an album dedicated to passionate, heartfelt romance songs, but instead an album that holistically discusses, criticizes, and commemorates love. Love that glows, love that is cruel, and love that can be cherished forever. Each song on the album depicts a different part of romance— and it is for that reason that Lover may be Swift’s most mature, potent album yet. Ditching the dark night and revenge-seeking aesthetic of her past, Swift adopts pastel daydreams, pink sunsets, and true happiness to describe one of humanity’s greatest gifts: love.
Here are all the songs from “Love” ranked, in my opinion, from worst to best. Worst meaning “least-best” because none of these songs are bad— there are simply some that are better than others. I will be ranking each song based off of relevance, influence, and, of course, lyrically and sonically.
18. “It’s Nice To Have A Friend” (Track 17, written by Adam King Feeney, Louis Bell, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric:“Sidewalk chalk covered in snow/lost my gloves, you give me one”
This track is probably the most unusual on the record, at least as far as sound goes. It’s not terribly unique or groundbreaking, but it is something we haven’t really heard from Swift before. It’s weird, but catchy— and, I do like it. The song itself describes a cute story of two friends meeting as children, and eventually falling in love. So, lyrically, it is simple, but is still a good listen and nice to the ears.
17. “I Think He Knows” (Track 6, written by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “He’s so obsessed with me and boy, I understand/Boy, I understand”
When describing this track during her “Lover Secret Session” audio, Swift said, “Basically, I was playing around with the idea of quiet confidence. There’s something so sick about quiet confidence; somebody who, they’re not arrogant, they’re not cocky, like, that’s obnoxious.” It’s an interesting concept, and even if it isn’t Swift’s most “meaningful” song, I still like it. It’s really catchy and up-beat— and I think the pre-chorus is especially nice, particularly the part when Swift almost starts talking. It’s just one of those songs that even if it lies towards the bottom of this list, is still something you keep hitting replay on.
16. “Death By A Thousand Cuts” (Track 10, written by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “I ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright/They say, ‘I don’t know’”
Though it’s placing on the list may mislead you, this track is actually one of my favorites off the record. The second I heard it, I jumped up and started dancing. It just makes you want to move! And, the way Swift sings each word is gorgeous— you can “hear” the emotion oozing from the lyrics. Which reminds me, the lyrics on this track are awesome! The one listed above gave me goosebumps. But, unfortunately, the reason this track is low, compared to some of the other songs on the album, it’s not as memorable. One of the greatest things about music is that it can inspire someone to start a revolution, to change their life, or to do to something epic! And, while, this song inspires someone to get up and dance (which is still amazing!)— it doesn’t inspire anyone to start a revolution, like some other songs on this album do. So, though admitting it may give me a “death by a thousand cuts”, I have to leave this track near the bottom of the list.
15. “False God” (Track 13, written by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “I can’t talk to you when you’re like this/Staring out the window like I’m not your favorite town/I’m New York City”
This song is one that, the more you listen to it, the more you start to like it. One of the best things about it is the use of a saxophone, something that you would never really expect from a Taylor Swift song. The song, as a whole, is actually quite beautiful. It’s super captivating and mesmerizing. Something about it makes you just want to keep listening. For many, it is also very relatable. It’s about falling in love with someone and that person becoming so important to you that they’re like your “religion”. It reminds me a lot of “Dress” from “reputation”, but, “False God” is a lot better. Lyrically, it’s really smooth and polished. But, despite it being a wonderful tune, the greatest songs off of “Lover” are yet to come.
14. “I Forgot That You Existed” (Track 1, written by Adam King Feeney, Louis Bell, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “I forgot that you existed/It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference”
Being the opening track of an album is a huge gig, and this track nailed it. It is the PERFECT transition from “reputation” to this new era. Not only is it fun and cute, but it’s kind of like the last hoorah before Swift finally moves on. By saying “I forgot that you existed,” Swift is leaving with a bang, but finally moving on from her the drama and pain from the “Reputation” album. Explaining why the track is her favorite on the album, Brooke Kubiak (’21) says: “It has a light beat tempo that’s fun to listen to. She sings about her past and how she came to forget about it. It’s important to me to remember when things are hard and may seem like the end of the world, that one day you can forget about it and laugh.” The song may not be as lyrically powerful as some of the other works on the record, but that doesn’t mean it’s not just as lovable and great— or important.
#Lover is perfect, honest, free and full of love in every form. I wouldn’t skip a single song.
Every @taylorswift13 album before has looked back on all the missteps along the way.
She’s found the one.
She’s looking forward to life together.
There’s no reason to worry anymore.
— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) August 23, 2019
13. “ME!” [Feat. Brendon Urie] (Track 16, written by Brendon Urie, Joel Little, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “Baby doll, when it comes to a lover/I promise that you’ll never find another like me”
As the lead single off the album, “ME!” needed to impress not only Swift’s die-hard fans, but the general public as well. Unfortunately, the song got their attention, just not the critical praise Swift and Urie were hoping for. But, there is something so great about “ME!” that people have tended to ignore. The song is a grower, that’s for sure— but, it does grow on you. Maybe this song is goofy and silly in nature, but that was precisely the point. It wasn’t meant to be a lyrical powerhouse, it was meant to be fun, loving, and enjoyable. The whole point of it is self-love and confidence— it’s about being able to love and value who you are! And, it’s super great to listen to. Babydoll, when it comes to the songs on “Lover”, I promise you will never find another one like “ME!”.
12. “Paper Rings” (Track 8, written by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “Honey, without all the exes, fights, and flaws/We wouldn’t be standing here so proud”
What makes this track so special above all else is it’s old-fashioned sound. Swift has experimented with tons of different styles, but she has never done one quite like this. As stated by Swift, “I wrote ‘Paper Rings’ with this idea of throwback sounds. We [Swift and Antonoff] didn’t want to use any sounds that were very modern on this song.” Not to forget, the song is very adorable. It describes the feeling when you fall in love with someone, and you immediately forget about all the little things about it— you just want to be with that person. Isabella Yepez (’22) says, “My favorite song off the album is ‘Paper Rings’ because it is so upbeat and reminds me of both old and new Taylor in one song. It’s also super catchy.” This song is super sweet, lovable, and a great gem off the record.
— 𝑵𝒂𝒐 𝓛 𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓 (@alltoobrien) August 23, 2019
11. “Afterglow” (Track 15, written by Adam King Feeney, Louis Bell, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “Why’d I have to break what I love so much?/It’s on your face, and I’m to blame”
The tune and sound of this song is not what makes it great. It’s certainly an excellent listen, and, similar to “I Think He Knows”, very interesting and mesmerizing— but the best part of this song is its story and lyrics. One of the most important parts of a relationship is being able to recognize your faults and being able to apologize for them. And, that’s exactly what Swift does in this track. Its such a vulnerable, honest, and beautiful part of the album, and that outshines everything else about it.
10. “London Boy” (Track 11, written by Cautious Clay, Jack Antonoff, Mark Anthony Spears, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “Stick with me, I’m your queen/Like a Tennessee Stella McCartney, I’m the heat”
This song is one of the most fun on the album. Not only is it lyrically stellar and great, it’s SUCH a great song to listen to. This is the type of song that makes you feel happy when you’re feeling down and the type of song that makes you smile whenever you listen to it. It’s one of the few on the album that takes only one listen for you to fall in love with it. Most of the songs require at least a second listen before you can get a proper opinion on it, but this one… this one you love immediately.
9. “Soon You’ll Get Better” [Feat. Dixie Chicks] (Track 12, written by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “I’ll paint the kitchen neon, I’ll brighten up the sky/I know I’ll never get it, there’s not a day that I won’t try”
This song is the only song that’s a “skip” on the album. Not because it’s bad, but because it’s heartbreaking. Inspired by Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, and her battle with cancer, Swift says she still struggles to even think about the song. It’s so painful for her. Speaking about what it was like to write it, Swift said “This song is one that was hard to write because it’s something that I’m going through right now. My dad got cancer when I was 13 and he got better, and it wasn’t a very long process, but things with my mom have been different.” With backing vocals sung by the Dixie Chicks, this song is one of “Lover’s” best— but it is one of the hardest to listen to.
8. “Cornelia Street” (Track 9, written by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “And, I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends/I’d never walk Corneila Street again”
“Cornelia Street” is, again, about being desperately in love with someone. Describing her old apartment on Corneila Street, Swift depicts happy moments and memories she has had with her “lover”— but with all those happy questions comes the inevitable question: “When will this end?” Part of the reason this song is so beautiful is not just because it is sonically, but because it describes a feeling everyone has had. Sometimes you are so happy— and you can’t help but wonder how long it will last.
7. “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” (Track 7, written by Joel Little, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “We’re so sad, we paint the town blue/Voted most likely to run away with you”
When I said that a song can start a revolution— I was referencing this song. Containing deep, metaphorical lyrics, this song may be one of the most important tracks on the album. Using a school setting as a background, Swift describes her perception of the current state of American politics and government. The metaphors are subtle enough that one could easily listen without noticing, but they are real enough that, once you do notice, you can never forget.
6. “You Need To Calm Down” (Track 14, written by Joel Little, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “But I’ve learned a lesson that stressin’ and obesessin’ bout somebody else is no fun/And snakes and stones never broke my bones”
Beyond just being a great, catchy song, this track is by far the most powerful and relevant song on the album. Released during Pride Month, Swift used this song to focus on another part of love: equality. With this song, Swift promoted the Equality Act, a bill that would prohibit employers from making employment decisions based off of an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity. With Swift’s petition for the act now at almost 500, 000 signatures— “You Need To Calm Down” wins the prize for the most influential track on the album.
5. “The Man” (Track 4, written by Joel Little, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “I’d be a fearless leader/I’d be an alpha type/When everyone believes ya/What’s that like?”
“The Man” is one of the greatest on the album because it expresses an incredibly important message— especially for Swift. In the song, Swift retells how different her career would be if she was a man. Explaining this concept further, Swift says “If I have had the the same accomplishments, the same mistakes, the same dating history, the same statements— what would have been different?” Stephanie Oehler (’21) says, “‘The Man” is one of my favorites off of Lover because it’s a really fun song to listen to, along with addressing the important issue of double standards between women and men.” Sexism in the music industry is an issue that Swift has discussed many times before, but this time— she wrote a song about it. And, it’s fantastic.
4. “The Archer” (Track 5, written by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “Who could ever leave me, darling?/But, who could stay?”
“The Archer” is one of the other very sad songs on the album. It’s different than any of her other songs but it’s not about when Swift has been wronged by someone else, but rather when she feels that she has wronged herself. With deep-cutting, devastating lyrics, Swift portrays a part of herself she has never really before. You can be broken, bruised, and hurt by others— but the worst kind of betrayal is when you believe you have betrayed yourself.
3. “Cruel Summer” (Track 2, written by Annie Clark, Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “‘I love you. ’ Ain’t that the worst thing you’ve ever heard?”
This song is great because it’s the ideal combo between fun and catchy sounds, but also deep, touching lyrics. This song reminds me a lot of “Getaway Car” from “Reputation”, another of Swift’s best tracks. I can predict right away that this song is the most likely to be a hit off the album. It has something for everyone— and, it’s part of the reason it’s such a stellar track. The bridge of this song is also incredible! There is no such thing as a “cruel summer” when this song exists!
Cruel Summer oh my god don’t even make me start.. this piece of work by the brilliance of St. Vincent, Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift all sitting in a room together to come up with this LYRICALLY CHILLING AND BEAUTIFUL masterpiece. #Lover pic.twitter.com/Vij9rk7hOw
— Zainub Amir (@zainubamir) August 23, 2019
2. “Lover” (Track 3, written by Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand?/With every guitar string scar on my hand”
It’s not a surprise that Swift titled this album after this track. It perfectly incorporates everything this record is about. The best way it be described as is that it is almost like being engulfed in a nice, warm hug. It just makes you feel all fuzzy and cozy inside! As one of two self-written songs on the album, this track is beautiful, breathtaking, and gorgeous. Beautifully written and beautifully sung, this is one track that you will be lucky to get out of your head. There is something so special about a song that can make you believe in true love again.
1. “Daylight” (Track 18, written by Taylor Swift)
Best Lyric: “You gotta step into the daylight and let it go”
Finally letting go, Taylor Swift ends her “Love” album with a gorgeous, self-written track. It’s not about forgiving or forgetting, it’s about moving on. Sometimes life won’t provide a perfect journey, but in the end, everything works out. Revenge can be freeing, but you can never live without letting go. As Swift ends the album, the words “You are what you love” lingers in the ears of all those who listen to it— and, I hope they never forget it.