By: June Wambua
Two years afterthe release of her sixth studio album reputation, Taylor Swift has returned with her highly anticipated seventh album Lover, on Friday, August 23rd.
The album has 18 tracks, the most tracks of any Swift album to date, and I noticed dramatic changes. Reputation was driven by a love/hate relationship between Swift and the outside world. Swift tried to maintain her self-image, while playing the role of the villain. Every track seemed to throw shade at someone or something.
Contemporary pop stars constantly feel pressure from the general public to change and reinvent themselves. Swift is no exception to this rule. While Swift began her musical career as a country artist, she transitioned to pop after the release of her fifth studio album Red. Today, Swift is not afraid to speak her truth, following the fiery era of reputation.
Swift’s new sound is mature, free-spirited and light-hearted. If reputationis the brewing thunderstorm, then Loveristhe sunshine and rainbow after the storm. Love is everywhere in the album and you can feel it expressed, whether she’s singing about her boyfriend in London Boy, her mother in Soon You’ll Get Better, or her love for New York in Cornelia Street.
The opener, I Forgot That You Existed,is a catchy track that nods to an old-flame. I Think He Knows and Paper Rings pay homage to the Taylor that most people are familiar with. Both tracks detail a school crush of sorts. Swift includes a key change in Paper Rings, which is widely used in her early work.
Swift is not afraid to explore new themes. The Man explores male privilege. Soon You’ll Get Better is written for her mother, who endured a cancer relapse. Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Princeallows her to be politically vocal.
While Lover is a mature album, there are some tracks that don’t stand out. You Need to Calm Down and Me!, are lackluster and don’t fit the album’s overall theme. Neither of these tracks showcase Swift’s strength as a songwriter, leaving much to be desired.
Daylight closes the album, highlighting Taylor’s perspective change on love from just black and white, to golden, like daylight. It is simple yet thought-provoking.
After years of bitterness, Swift has embraced love in her life. Whether you love or hate her Swift has clearly matured and moved past her petty days to a sophisticated sound.