Taylor Swift dropped her highly anticipated album, Lover, on Friday, August 23rd, 2019, and it is her longest album to date, reaching 18 songs. The launch of this album started April 26th, 2019, when the single “ME! (feat. Brendon Urie)”was released on all streaming platforms. Since that date, Swift dropped more clues and singles to satisfy fans before the release. The biggest drop after “ME!” came on June 13th, 2019, when she went on Instagram Live to talk to her fans about her new album, giving them the release date and the cover art. In addition to clues given in Instagram Lives and her Instagram posts, Swift also released three more songs prior to the album drop consisting of “You Need To Calm Down” in June, “The Archer” in July, and “Lover” in August.
The album release isn’t without the classic drama that comes with a Taylor Swift album. In November 2018, Swift made the switch from Big Machine Records to Republic Records. This meant that her first six album masters are owned by Big Machine and not herself. When she made the switch, however, she constructed a contract that declared ownership of her masters. In June 2019, producer Scooter Braun acquired Big Machine Records, which includes the masters for all of Swift’s music as well as other artists. Swift claimed in a Tumblr post that she was not given a chance to purchase the rights to her masters and that Braun owning them was a “worst case scenario.” Now that Braun owns the masters, if anyone wants to use any song, they have to get his permission and pay him a fee. After the news broke out, Swift communicated with her new Records label and has discussed that come November 2020, she will re-record her first five albums, ensuring the ownership to at least the newest recordings.
In Lover Swift moves on from her naive, young love persona, to a grown-up view. This new album is her ode to love, and she acknowledges all the messy, adult, beautiful aspects of love. From the title of the album which uses the taboo word, ‘Lover,’ to the mentions of getting drunk. In “Paper Rings” she sings about wanting her lover in her “dirty dreams.” It’s not only more mature in the lyrics, but in the message. Swift combines all of her old music, all of her old selves and meshes them into this one beautiful album.
Swift has also slowly become more and more politically inclined in recent years. Her song, “You Need To Calm Down” is her most political song to date, calling out haters and homophobes. At the end of the video for the song, Swift promotes a petition to sign the Equality Act, which now has over 500,000 signatures.
Another song on Lover, “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” is a metaphorically political song. The song has two layers, an innocent high school love story, and the political fight in the United States. The song mentions ‘scoreboards,’ ‘homecoming,’ and ‘her team losing,’ showing a high school football game and the 2016 election. The love story could also be referencing Joe Alwyn, Swift’s boyfriend of 3 years. Alwyn is British and doesn’t live in the United States, so he is an escape from the political turmoil of the U.S. She sings, “Voted most likely to run away with you,” most likely referencing the fact that she now spends the majority of her time in London, where Alwyn (the subject of the song) lives. So she is running away to London from the political unrest of the United States.
Swift also takes on sexism in her music, as most abruptly brought up in “The Man,” where Swift describes what her career would be like if she was a man. She sings, “When everyone believes you, what’s that like?” describing how women are often not believed when they share sexual assault stories. She also mentions how women are often questioned more than men for their actions, singing, “They’d say I hustled, put in the work, they wouldn’t shake their heads, and question how much of this I deserve, what I was wearing, if I was rude, could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves.” Swift has often talked about the double standard between men and women when it comes to the number of people they date, mainly that men are seen as players and women are seen as sluts. In this song she sings, “They’d say I played the field before I found someone to commit to, and that would be okay, for me to do.”
Swift has a deeply personal background for one particular song on this album, “Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. The Dixie Chicks).” While not technically confirmed, the song is highly suspected to be about Swift’s mother, Andera, who’s cancer recently came back. In a Youtube Live, hours before the album dropped, Swift discussed the song with her fans, “We as a family decided to put this on the album. It’s something I’m so proud of. I can’t sing it. It’s hard to emotionally deal with that song.”
Swift’s latest album is personal, political, unifying, and a perfect combination of all her previous albums. So listen in, and jam to the newest Taylor Swift masterpiece. This is Lover.