‘Lover’ is an Homage to Maturity and the End of an Era for Taylor Swift


(Photo by Palak Jayswal | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Palak Jayswal, Arts Editor


Taylor Swift’s seventh album “Lover” was released a few days ago on Aug. 23, and it’s arguably her best yet. A sort of love letter to herself, it’s fitting that this is the first album of hers that she has completely owned. 

A new side of Swift was shown to the world when she released “Reputation” two years ago, letting both the music industry and the world know the truth in the saying “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” “Lover” is the complete opposite of its dark, twisted predecessor both in terms of aesthetic — black and white versus bright colors, glitter and hearts — and the tone of the music on each respective album. Fans are calling “Lover” the more mature version of “Red,” Swift’s fourth album, but as someone who is a fan of both albums, I don’t think that’s entirely true. Swift’s newest album comes from the point of view of someone who is almost out of her wild 20s, someone who has experienced much, learned from it and is now ready to move on. 

“Lover” opens with “I Forgot That You Existed,” a choice which sets up the tone for the whole album, characterized by lyrics like, “It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference.” The Swift from “Reputation” is gone, replaced by a more mature version of herself who has finally mastered the art of silencing her critics, haters and everyone else who has something unproductive to say. As the album unfolds, Swift exemplifies her growth through songs like the title track “Lover,” a sweet, gentle ballad reminiscent of her earlier albums. While she has grown up, she’s also come to terms with the industry she works in — “The Man” is the callout the music industry (and everyone) needs and an empowering feminist anthem. Each song on the album is different — dreamy or upbeat, jazzy or pop-centric, heartfelt or heartbreaking. My personal favorites, “Cornelia Street” and “False God,” are melancholic opposites of each other, but they still work well together. Each track melds into a chronological symphony, making the perfect coming-of-age album for someone who has been in the harsh Hollywood spotlight for a long time. 

As usual with Swift’s work, her pre-released singles “ME!” and “You Need to Calm Down” are completely different from the rest of the album, keeping fans in suspense until the very last minute. Emotion has always been the forefront of Swift’s work, usually displayed in extremes, but this is what makes her music so loveable. It’s a journey album, much like Swift’s entire career. It’s unfair to say “Lover” is comparable to “Red” though. While it rests in similar ballads, ideas and even imagery at times, this isn’t the same Swift from seven years ago. No, this is a Swift that’s been through hell and back all before the media’s eye, a Swift who has fallen into a love that isn’t as fragile as the ones she’s been through in the past, a Swift who is ready for the next era of her life. “Lover” is a perfect embodiment of growing up and realizing that while what you go through can shape your view of the world, there are always new experiences to be had. “Lover” is a nod to the fact that Swift’s experiences have made her who she is — something that we know she won’t apologize for. 

The most impactful song to convey this idea is “Afterglow.” For anyone who believes Swift only plays the victim card in her artistic creations, this song is for you. In “Afterglow” she says, “I’m the one who burned this down, but it’s not what I meant.” Swift isn’t trying to let situations burn free anymore. Album closer “Daylight” concludes this new era with a sweet kiss, a homage to all the good, the bad and everything in between. It even has a nod at the title track from “Red:” “I once believed love would be burning red like it’s golden.” Swift ends the song with one final note for listeners, spoken and not sung, “I wanna be defined by the things that I love, not the things I hate. I just think that you are what you love.”

If this is what the culmination of her 20s brought us, I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store. 


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