Pop powerhouse Taylor Swift has definitely changed her image over the last couple of albums. Lover is being hailed as a “return to form” by the music critics, as she’s gone back to her Nashville pop roots.
With the album having 18 tracks, Swift’s longest yet, there’s bound to be some that are stronger than others. But one thing is for sure: she’s back to focusing on romance and not having a bee in her bonnet, like on Reputation.
This is certainly obvious from the outset, with ‘I Forgot That You Existed’ – a strong opener and one that shows Swift saying goodbye to an old flame or someone who caused drama – something I’m sure we can all relate to.
Lover has a sensitive side too, in the form of a duet with country superstars the Dixie Chicks. ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ is the story of her mum’s struggle with the cancer, visualised within the doctor’s office. It’s a conversation Swift has with herself, wondering how she’ll cope when her mum passes or needs constant care.
Chart hit ‘ME!’ with Brendon Urie is one of the record’s weak spots, even with the “hey kids / learning is fun” lyric removed from the album version. My dislike for the song may be because it’s overplayed on the radio, not because it’s about love and self-acceptance, something we should all embrace.
‘London Boy’ has had a lot of discussion on Twitter as locals have described the journey between locations Swift mentions in the song to be “the day from hell”. People with way too much time on their hands have worked out the costs of getting to all the places she’s mentioned.
It does sound as if she’s just listing some of the places she knows in London during the tribute to boyfriend Joe Alwyn. Nevertheless, featuring Idris Elba’s voice at the start is a way to draw us British people to listen.
Lover is a definite step away from blame for Taylor Swift, into the version of her we know and love: happy, loved-up and wanting to create pop songs again. If you need to get your fix of upbeat, free-spirited pop to dance to and sing in the car (which I have), then this is for you.
Stream Lover on Apple Music and Spotify, and buy the album on Amazon (UK | US).
A K Jones