ALBUM REVIEW: Taylor Swift – Lover

Welcome back gang, and what a week it’s been. I’ve been super busy writing music, brainstorming looks for shoots and music videos, and maybe even preparing what a future album might look like… ????
In artist coaching this week, we went over how to plan for your music releases, what type of things you need to do in preparation for the launch, and what to do after your single drops. It was super overwhelming, but I’m excited to put it all into practice. 

Taylor Swift’s 7th Studio Album

Speaking of releasing music, TS7 arrived this week whether you like it or not. And let me tell you, I like it. I’m talking about the seventh studio album from Taylor Swift, Lover, which hit our shores on Friday and is breaking record after record around the world.
I was a huge Swiftie back in the day. I remember getting Fearless and Speak Now, and learning the words to all of the songs. Then I fell off the wagon a bit – I think I was going through my emo/punk phase (a necessary period of growth for me), and didn’t listen to much of her music. I acknowledged that 1989 was a great pop album, I observed the drama around Reputation, but all in all, I thought Tay Tay had lost the magic of her writing that I felt when I was 13. 

But IT’S BACK! I will be the first to admit that I did not have faith in this album. With title singles like ME! (featuring god-on-earth Brendon Urie) and You Need to Calm Down, I don’t think I was alone in thinking this project was going to be more of the same, but happy.
I will be the first to admit I was wrong. This is her best album yet. The songs are catchy, poppy (Taylor poppy) and the lyrics are smart. 

As her seventh studio album, you’d hope Swift has come into her own, and she has. The variety of this album is everything you’d expect from an artist this experienced. She begins the anthology with I Forgot That You Existed, a reference to leaving the drama of the last phase of her life behind. ‘It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference’ sums this track up perfectly. The production is easy and carefree too, as if to get her message fully across. 
Contrast this song with the upbeat and purposeful delivery of The Man, a track that is turning heads around the globe right now. This one packs a punch, and delivers a strong message. With her silence around the 2016 election, I think Swift is making up for lost time with some of the political references in this album. Every woman in the music industry (and in life) can relate to ‘I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man’. 
You can observe a similar narrative in Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince which uses a metaphor of romance to point towards some of America’s shortcomings lately.  One of the main reasons why I love Swift’s music is that she sings about love, but it’s actually about bigger issues. Take the first verse of Miss Americana:

At a first glance, a song about love, but upon closer inspection, a commentary on the state of the US on a global scale.

Among the upbeat and politically charged tracks of the album, we have slower numbers, like Afterglow, Daylight, and Soon You’ll Get Better. Swift goes back to her country roots here, bringing The Dixie Chicks in to help sing this song dedicated to her mum.
Like any good album, we are blessed with amazing variety, with a track for any mood. I think she nailed it on this front.

The production of the album as a whole is flawless. I mean, I’m no sound engineer, but this whole album is tight. It’s got the production value of 1989, the writing of Speak Now and Red, with some of the new attitude from Reputation. 
Cruel Summer, the second song on the list, incorporates modern pop production alongside Swift’s timeless lyrics. This is the most 1989-sounding track, and wouldn’t be out of place on that album. The beat running throughout the song, and the production as a whole almost reminds me of Blank Space. This should have been one of the singles. 
You can look towards some of the slower tracks on the album, such as The Archer, for a more stripped back, classic sounding Swift where her voice can shine through.

Swift nails it again and again, track after track on this album. The title track, Lover, is beautiful and relatable and makes me wish that I wrote it. Paper Rings just makes you want to dance, False God is addictive and so smart. I wish I could write about all of them. Whether you love or hate Taylor Swift, her talent is undeniable. Her musicality is like nothing we’ve seen in a long time, she knows how to do what she does, and how to do it really well. While Taylor Swift is delivering pop music, she’s delivering quality pop music that at its core, is true to her and who she is as an artist.

The way she engages with her fans and lets them into her life is something that not many artists have mastered before. Releasing this album with 4 deluxe editions (and different diary entries and special features in each), isn’t just incredibly smart from a marketing point of view, but also from a longevity point of view. The fans know her, so they’ll be more likely to buy merch, go to the shows, and stick around for future releases. I can’t think of another artist who does this as well as Swift does. 
I am absolutely, 100% back on the Taylor Swift bandwagon, and I can’t wait to see what the next chapters of her life bring us from a musical point of view. 

Let me know what you thought about the album by dropping a comment, or email me at alex@marshallstreetstudios.com for a chat! 

Til next time 

Al

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