Truth be told, Taylor Swift’s Lover isn’t going to be enough for a lot of people. No matter how uplifting, profound or brilliant Swift is, she will never be enough for some simply because she’s one of the biggest pop stars in the world. People love to hate her. She’s shown through this album, however, she’s good enough for herself and willing to show it — and that’s all that really matters.

Plus, the album is one of her best, whether people want to admit it or not.

Swift released her seventh album, Lover, an 18-track ode to remaining positive, hopeful and open about your true feelings. There’s no doubt Swift gave her all on the album, and listeners will appreciate it through the whole tracklist, despite a few low points.

There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding Swift prior to the album’s release, with her departure from Big Machine Records in late 2018. The recording company was sold to Ithaca Holdings, owned by Scooter Braun. Swift said she hadn’t been notified of the deal, and now, her plans to purchase her master recordings weren’t being considered anymore. Every album she had recorded up until then had been through Big Machine, but she switched to Universal Music Group, the world’s largest recording company, and it’s clear Swift is much happier.

The album has plenty more ups than downs. The second single, “You Need To Calm Down,” is an empowering anthem that advises listeners to ignore haters who are putting an absurd amount of energy into their typically irrelevant comments. “Cornelia Street” is emotional, reminiscent and infectious. “Afterglow” is a cute ode to her current boyfriend of three years, actor Joe Alwyn, who Swift doesn’t want to lose when she makes mistakes. “Death By A Thousand Cuts” has some of the most insane, intricate production on any contemporary pop album. 

But like most albums, there are some unnecessary tracks. “London Boy” is kind of catchy, but it lacks the depth the other tracks provide. “The Archer” sounds too much like Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” Despite these few drawbacks, Lover is genuine, captivating and undoubtedly Swift’s most frank album to date.

Here are the best five songs off Lover:

5. “Cruel Summer”

“Cruel Summer” discusses a dark time in Swift’s life, and it contains gripping, profound lyricism. Swift takes us back to summer 2016 when Kanye West released “Famous” and seemingly reignited their feud. However, instead of writing a diss back to West, Swift uses “Cruel Summer” to focus on what comes to be the best part of the summer: meeting Alwyn. The couple’s relationship has been mostly hidden from the limelight, but the steady drums, beautiful harmonies and infectious synths perfectly exemplify the lyrical notion that Swift is ready to show her man off, with the simple yet impactful lyrics: “I don’t wanna keep secrets just to keep you.” This song practically describes the whole album: Take the time to focus on the good when everything in life seems terrible.

4. “I Forgot That You Existed”

“I Forgot That You Existed” is a breezy opener to an expressive, emotional album, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The track seems to be about ex-boyfriend, Calvin Harris and how Swift spent so much time remembering the pathetic things he did. One day, Swift seemingly forgot all about him, and she found she was able to recover nicely and focus on her well-being. Guided by cheery piano keys, she mentions she forgot that “You got out some popcorn as soon as my rep started going down, down, down / Laughed on the school yard as soon as I tripped up and hit the ground, ground, ground.” Even though he treated her this way, Swift still “would’ve been right there, front row / Even if nobody came to your show.” Now, Swift has moved on, and she’s made a banger along with a good outlook out of a sad situation. 

3. “Daylight”

A lot of the album surrounds the fact that Swift’s smitten with Alwyn, and that’s epitomized in “Daylight.” Some subtle brass and reflective synths blend well with the lyrics to give listeners a taste of just how in love Swift is: “I don’t wanna look at anything else now that I saw you (I can never look away) / I don’t wanna think of anything else now that I thought you (Things will never be the same).” The track fades out with a verse of spoken word, where Swift admits she wants to be defined by what she loves and who she is now and that “You are what you love.” It’s an impactful closing track that show Swift’s progression into someone she truly loves.

2. “Paper Rings”

Just when you thought Swift’s intense love for Alwyn couldn’t get any cuter, “Paper Rings” comes and proves you wrong. Swift is so infatuated with Alwyn she would forgo all materialistic things for his love: “I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings.” We even get some subtle, country-esque acoustic guitar that’s emphasized right after she confesses she’ll put all his pain on her heart: “I want to drive away with you / I want your complications, too / I want your dreary Mondays.” Simply, the track communicates a love we all wish to feel. 

1. “Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. Dixie Chicks)”

The main theme of this album is overcoming setbacks and focusing on the positive. Though this track is a heartbreaker, it still follows the aforementioned themes. “Soon You’ll Get Better” is Swift’s open letter to her mother, who was re-diagnosed with cancer this year. Swift is blunt, with the soft acoustic guitar, captivating violins and heartfelt lyrics: “Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus, too.” Swift and the Dixie Chicks harmonize gorgeously in the chorus: “Soon, you’ll get better (Ooh, ah) / You’ll get better soon / ’Cause you have to.” Swift reveals she’s going to remain hopeful, but she doesn’t know what she’s going to do if she doesn’t have her best friend. This collaboration is a wonderful ode to her mother, and it’s the best track on Lover.

Rating: 8/10

@bre_offenberger

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