The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Taylor Swift’s “Lover” Is Easy to Fall in Love With

“This album is very much a celebration of love, in all its complexity, coziness and chaos,” Swift stated on Instagram.
Taila Lee
To accompany her album, Swift also sells four versions of deluxe journals that include her old diary entries.

Taylor Swift’s seventh album Lover soared to the top of the charts in dozens of countries quickly after its release on August 22, 2019, with the album crowning the Billboard Top 200 Albums and all 18 songs landing spots on Billboard Hot 100 and Spotify Top 20.

Swift called Lover “a new beginning” and “a love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory” in her August 2019 interview with Vogue.

Lover, in many ways, is the antithesis of her previous 2017 album, reputation. In her livestream on YouTube before the release of her single “Lover,” Swift explained how she often develops a moodboard or clear vision of what aesthetic she has in mind for her album theme.

reputation for me was like cityscape, nighttime, darkness,” she expressed. “[Lover], to me, felt aesthetically… daytime… I pictured this and wrote this from a perspective of a much more open, free, romantic, whimsical place.”

This concept is clearly reflected in her dreamy pastel Lover album cover shot by Valheria Rocha, which features drifting clouds, a rosy pink hue, and a glittering array of rhinestones around her left eye in the shape of a heart.

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With 18 tracks, Lover is an hour of pop excellence. The album portrays love in many of its forms: familial love, self-love, platonic love, and romantic love.

Specifically, Swift’s popular, radio-friendly single “You Need To Calm Down” focuses on her support of all kinds of love. With many blatantly political verses, Swift discusses controversial issues from homophobia to how media pits women against each other. Her lyric video features the word “glad” spelled as “GLAAD,” an organization known for its support of the LGBTQ+ community.

Her star-studded, pride-themed music video features Hayley Kiyoko, Ellen DeGeneres, Todrick Hall, Adam Lambert, Adam Rippon, the cast of Queer Eye, Billy Porter, Ciara, Hannah Hart, Laverne Cox, RuPaul, Ryan Reynolds, Katy Perry, and more. At the end of the video, Swift calls for people to sign her petition for Senate support of the Equality Act; her petition has gathered over 550,000 signatures as of September 2019. With nine nominations total, her music video won Video of the Year and Video for Good at the MTV Video Music Awards, making her the third female artist (along with Beyoncé and Rihanna) to win Video of the Year twice.

On the other hand, Swift’s lead single “ME!” with Panic! At The Disco’s lead singer Brendon Urie succeeds in setting the tone for her new era but fails to establish anything unique. The admirable but repetitive message in the chorus (“I’m the only one of me / Baby, that’s the fun of me”) makes the song feel like a cover from Kidzbop, especially with Swift shouting “spelling is fun!” later at the bridge. Without the thrill of the accompanying music video, the song alone is utterly lackluster.

Swift is known for placing some of her most heartfelt songs as the fifth tracks on her albums, and she did not disappoint with Lover’s fifth track “The Archer.” Swift exposes her insecurities with a hauntingly beautiful chorus: “I’ve been the archer, I’ve been the prey / Who could ever leave me, darling / But who could stay?” Her repetition of the quiet lyric “They see right through me” grows steadily louder and transitions to “I see right through me,” musically translating Swift’s fears about how people view her. Following the upbeat “ME!” and “You Need To Calm Down,” the release of this slower, genuine, more down-to-earth song feels like a breath of fresh air.

While “The Archer” is down-to-earth, Swift’s heads are in the clouds for her title track. Released just a week before her album, “Lover” is everything that fans were waiting for. Though Swift collaborated with other songwriters for her latest album, “Lover” is one of the only three songs that is solely written by her.

Her enchanting music video for “Lover” was inspired by a lyric from 1989’s “You’re In Love”: “And so it goes / you two are dancing in a snow globe round and round.” The video features a variety of colorful rooms, and many fans speculated that each room represents one of Swift’s previous albums.

“I Forgot That You Existed” is the perfect song to start Lover; Swift knows how to make a powerful first impression. Her bold, expressive enunciation and constant emphasis on the word “indifference” in her chorus reveals how she has moved on from the drama of her reputation era. Although Swift alludes to her quarrel with Kim and Kanye, Lover is about a new change in attitude and letting go of the past.

Co-written by St. Vincent and Jack Antonoff, “Cruel Summer” makes for a compelling second track with an unbelievably memorable chorus. No one would be surprised to hear this song on the radio in a few weeks.

Reminiscent of themes in reputation, “The Man” takes an overt stab at sexism in the entertainment industry. Though the song is upbeat, Swift’s lyrics speak for themselves:  “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can / Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man / And I’m so sick of them coming at me again.”

Swift takes a more subtle political approach with the highly-anticipated “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince.” At first, the song seems to be about an emotional struggle in school — coping with loneliness, dealing with bullies, struggling with reputation. However, with a closer analysis of the lyrics, it’s clear how the song’s high school theme serves as a political metaphor.

At the beginning, Swift softly sings, “I’m crazier for you / Than I was at sixteen,” but rather than talking about her affection for a lover, she refers to how much more involved she is in politics now than when she was younger. The breathy repetition of the echoing line “They whisper in the hallway, ‘she’s a bad, bad girl,’” refers to how people often ridicule Swift for her political stances.

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🌈HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!!!🌈 While we have so much to celebrate, we also have a great distance to go before everyone in this country is truly treated equally. In excellent recent news, the House has passed the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their places of work, homes, schools, and other public accommodations. The next step is that the bill will go before the Senate. I’ve decided to kick off Pride Month by writing a letter to one of my senators to explain how strongly I feel that the Equality Act should be passed. I urge you to write to your senators too. I’ll be looking for your letters by searching the hashtag #lettertomysenator. While there’s no information yet as to when the Equality Act will go before the Senate for a vote, we do know this: Politicians need votes to stay in office. Votes come from the people. Pressure from massive amounts of people is a major way to push politicians towards positive change. That’s why I’ve created a petition at to urge the Senate to support the Equality Act. Our country’s lack of protection for its own citizens ensures that LGBTQ people must live in fear that their lives could be turned upside down by an employer or landlord who is homophobic or transphobic. The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable. Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally. 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈 Click the link in my bio to sign the petition for Senate support of the Equality Act.

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The song gradually develops a more mournful tone as Swift describes her emotional reaction to the current state of politics: “American glory / Faded before me / Now I’m feeling hopeless… I saw the scoreboard / And ran for my life.”

Swift’s sorrowful, almost resentful chorus describes how politics are endlessly cycling with no compromise or change: “The whole school is rolling fake dice / You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.” When she sings “we’re so sad, we paint the town blue,” blue symbolizes Swift’s support for the Democratic Party and her disappointment with America’s current political state.

While “The Man,” “You Need To Calm Down,” and “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” are generally recognized as rather political songs on Lover, Swift returns to her roots with an array of captivating love songs.

“Cornelia Street,” referencing the location of Swift’s apartment shared with her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, is an excellence balance of emotional verses with an upbeat chorus. She tells a beautiful, heartwarming story with the lyrical brilliance of “New Year’s Day.” from her 2017 album.

As Swift’s boyfriend is from London, it’s clear who “London Boy” is about. With a similar lyrical composition to her Red hit “Style,” “London Boy” contains several references to Swift’s current projects. The song also begins with a line from the English actor Idris Elba, who co-stars with Swift in the upcoming 2019 film Cats. Swift also refers to a “Tennessee Stella McCartney, ” referring to how Stella McCartney recently released a Lover-inspired fashion line with Swift.

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Like a Tennessee Stella McCartney 💘 The full #StellaxTaylorSwift line is available until midnight eastern tonight!

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With the funk-influenced, flirtatious “I Think He Knows,” Swift highlights her attraction to someone.  Similarly, the fast-paced “Paper Rings” is a bubbly, heartening song that quickly became a fan favorite. The lyric “I like shiny things / But I’d marry you with paper rings” makes for a fantastically catchy chorus.

Swift’s album takes a turn with “Death By A Thousand Cuts,” a song about heartbreak, as she compares saying goodbye to death by a thousand cuts. Swift questions if her relationship has truly ended in her eyes: “You said it was a great love, one for the ages / But if the story’s over, why am I still writing pages?”

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“It’s Nice To Have a Friend” is a charming, heartfelt song about a school friendship, and it uniquely features a choir from Toronto’s Regent Park School of Music (RPSM), which receives a royalty from Swift’s song in order to help provide musical education to children in Toronto.

“This will benefit us for years and years,” Richard Marsella, the executive director of RPSM, said in an interview with Billboard. “It allows us to keep lessons as low as $1 a lesson. Some of these kids come from very challenging situations and we try to prop them up and make them feel like superheroes and what is more superheroic than playing on a Taylor Swift album? It will inspire students in generations to come with the power of what music can do to change people’s lives.”

“False God” and “Afterglow” are softer, slower, more deeply emotional songs from Lover, both situated towards the end of the album to develop a peaceful tone. Swift talks about empathy, passion, and how things get better over time.

Swift’s downcast “Soon You’ll Get Better,” featuring the band The Dixie Chicks, focuses on her parents’ cancer diagnoses.

“I’ve had to learn how to handle serious illness in my family,” Swift said in her “30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30” article for Elle. “Both of my parents have had cancer, and my mom is now fighting her battle with it again. It’s taught me that there are real problems and then there’s everything else. My mom’s cancer is a real problem. I used to be so anxious about daily ups and downs. I give all of my worry, stress, and prayers to real problems now.”

Despite the lingering sadness from “Soon You’ll Get Better” and “Afterglow,” Swift ends her album optimistically with “Daylight,” a hopeful, encouraging melody that provides a satisfying, calm closure to a thoughtful album.

With her country background and gradual transition to more mainstream pop, Swift is unlike any artist in the pop genre. Lover is an album that truly reflects her years of songwriting experience, heartbreak, and how she has finally found happiness.

After listening to Lover, it’s clear that there’s one fact that Swift wanted her fans to know more than anything: she’s in love.

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About the Contributor
Taila Lee, Coeditor in Chief
Taila Lee is the second-year coeditor in chief and a third-year reporter for The Paw Print. Along with winning regional and national awards from Journalism Education Association (JEA), SNO, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Lee is a member of KQED's Youth Advisory Board for 2019-2020. She has been featured on KQED’s Bay Curious podcast and 2019 Youth Takeover, and she co-taught a student press law workshop at the National JEA Convention in Washington D.C. in November. Lee plans to major in media studies and minor in journalism at UC Berkeley to empower youth and inspire change with journalism.