Love(r) her or hate her, Taylor Swift certainly knows what she’s doing.
On Aug. 23, the singer-songwriter known across the globe released her highly-anticipated seventh studio album, “Lover.” New Musical Express and Billboard both presented data to show the success of Lover’s first day and full week. In its very first day available to the world, the album sold approximately 450,000 copies, earning it the biggest opening week for an album in 2019 already. By the end of the album’s first week, over 867,000 copies had been sold, and it became the most successful debut week for an album so far since 2017.
The previous album holding that record? “Reputation” by none other than Taylor Swift.
So, of course “Lover” has the receipts, if you will, to prove its success. According to both Forbes and Billboard, it is the number one selling album of 2019. All 18 songs on the album made an appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It has received praise and glowing reviews everywhere — from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone to those girls in the dorm next to yours who won’t stop singing along. But what about the songs? Do the lyrics and music live up to the typical T-Swift hype?
The opening song on “Lover” leaves little to misinterpret: “I Forgot That You Existed.” The minimally-produced song is Swift’s lone mention of her previous public dramas, and she essentially wipes away the need for any further thought on them with the line, “it isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference.” Don’t try talking to Tay-Tay about Kanye, because she’s over it.
With the past out of the way, “Lover” now has more room for its main focus: true love and all that comes with it. The title track appears third on the album, and its instrumental takes you straight into a 1970s wedding held inside a rustic barn with white string lights and tablecloths. It has the same kind of head-over-heels vibe that Swift’s songs have always had, but in a slightly different tone. This woman’s heart has been captured and she’s ready to quit playing the game and plan her future with her beau.
The theme of undying, fight-for-it true love that is first presented in the title track continues throughout the 18-song album, including “Paper Rings,” “Cornelia Street,” “Afterglow” and “I Think He Knows.”
And it wouldn’t be a Taylor Swift album in 2019 without a few unabashed, take-a-stand tunes. Swift has found her public political voice and makes her beliefs crystal clear in her hit, “You Need To Calm Down.” Reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, this bop is nothing short of an LGBTQ+ empowerment anthem and is meant to put any nay-sayers right in their place. Don’t miss her shoutout to GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) in the second verse either. Swift also calls out gender inequalities in “The Man,” and the current state of our political climate in “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince.”
When the country-sweetheart-turned-pop-superstar releases an album, it’s hardly ever a question whether it will be successful. Instead, the question asked by Swifties — both the outspoken ones as well as all the secret fans out there — is almost always, “what direction will Taylor Swift take this time?” With “Lover,” Swift yet again changed her sound, her style and her hair — and it all unarguably paid off.
Taylor Swift is constantly looking to take back the narrative and showcase her authentic self to the media rather than the image that is often conjured up for her. Swift wanted to write an entire album about all the different types of love and the roles they play in our lives. These sentiments are spoken instead of sung about in the album’s closing track, “Daylight.” This song truly sets the final tone for this woman’s new era.
Not the things I hate
Not the things I’m afraid of, I’m afraid of
Or the things that haunt me in the middle of the night
I, I just think that
You are what you love”