In the death of her reputation, romanticism is alive and well.
Here’s a thing I know about myself – I’ve studied literature and writers for years and have been analyzing and reading about the romanticist genre in all art forms. No matter who I come across, I find myself always coming back to this conclusion. My favorite romantic of all time is Paul McCartney, but Taylor Swift is a very close to my heart close-second.
Her seventh album, Lover, is finally here, and it’s already been out a week. So, I should have maybe posted this a week ago, right? Nah.
That’s what all the big magazines have already done. You can check out The Rolling Stone, Variety, The Guardian, or Billboard for some credible pieces on the new Swift album, but unlike the writers at those magazines, I didn’t have access to Lover before its release date.
I waited a week to post about this album because I wanted to live with it a little bit. I don’t really do album reviews on here because I don’t want to be that person who sits in the chair and critiques things. So I wanted to take a different approach to this in the only way I really know how …
Here are a few of the things Lover has already taught me.
ON RELEASE NIGHT
It’s only 8 PM on Pacific Standard Time when it’s midnight on the East Coast and new music comes out on its release date. I was sitting on my bed with a huge bag of potato chips next to me while I opened Spotify.
I take a breath.
I’m old enough now to know that I’ve been living in a world where Taylor Swift is one of the biggest artists on the planet, but for me, she and her music still feel like this deeply personal thing.
I used to sit on the floor of my room alone playing guitar to the newest Taylor Swift songs, and back then, the newest Taylor Swift songs were only on country radio, and that feels like an extremely long time ago because it was an extremely long time ago. Thirteen years, in case you were wondering.
To say that I can pinpoint every turning point in my life to a Taylor Swift song is not an exaggeration. She has been a part of my life for as long as I realized I wanted to write, and she is the girl who made me believe that I could sit on the floor in my room with a guitar and a notebook and a pen and have that actually mean something.
So before pressing play, I told myself that I wasn’t going to be the same after hearing this – and that’s how I always look at hearing new music. You let new art enter your life, and whether or not you enjoy it or love it, it still changes you. I gave myself a second to appreciate the fact that whatever it is Taylor Swift puts out now, it’s probably going to define the next three years of my life regardless so I took a breath … and then I pressed play.
If Speak Now and 1989 had a baby, then you’d have Lover.
IT’S OKAY TO LEAVE THINGS BEHIND EVEN IF THEY’RE A PART OF YOU
That’s the kind of heartbreak time could never mend. I’d never walk Cornelia Street again.
“Cornelia Street” is such a beautiful song. It’s the updated version of “Wildest Dreams.” It doesn’t even matter that it’s a song centered around heartbreak. The sonic enchantment that you find on 1989 is alive in its wildest form on here and it is absolutely gorgeous.
The chorus is heart-wrenchingly vulnerable – “I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends. That’s the kind of heartbreak time could never mend.” People say that healing takes time for a reason, but if she’s saying not this kind of heartache … It makes me so sad.
What’s even more amazing about these lines is that even though they’re absolutely devastating, the next line is, “I’d never walk Cornelia Street again,” and that’s powerful to me.
It’s her choosing not to go down that same road anymore, and whether it’s to avoid the pain or to avoid the memory or just to move on and move forward, it’s still an act of leaving something behind, and when you’ve shared that much of a life with someone then you leave a part of you behind too.
Maybe it’s okay not going that way anymore. Maybe it’s okay if you never visit that place again. Maybe it’s okay if you change your hair or change your job or just refuse to let the past keep pulling you back to a spot you don’t need to be in anymore. Maybe it’s okay to do those things.
Openly implying that she chooses not to walk that street ever again gives me the courage to make those kind of choices, and what the rest of the album poses is that when you do – maybe, just maybe – there really are better things ahead when you let yourself walk a different road.
YOU GET TO CHOOSE TO HOLD ONTO YOUR HOPE
Someday we’re gonna win.
Lover has a TON of political shade on it, and I’m absolutely in love with it and it’s not something I’m shy about talking about so if you listen to “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” then we can keep talking.
Everything that’s built up to the status of the United States right now has left me in an almost disillusioned state. I barely know how to cope with news sometimes because it makes me so sad and so angry and I barely know what to do or how to help – that feeling is crippling.
This song says exactly that, except much more beautifully.
What it taught me though is that even if it feels like we’re headed backwards or headed towards something infinitely worse, hope is not lost … Many times I’ve felt like it is.
But Taylor Swift writes a verse where she sings,
“I don’t want you to go, I don’t really wanna fight cause nobody’s gonna win,”
but by the end of the song, she switches gears like the brilliant mind she is and decides to not leave us hopeless because it turns into,
“I’ll never let you go cause I know this is a fight that someday we’re gonna win.”
Sometimes, that kind of reminder is all you need to keep believing in the good.
IT’S OKAY TO NOT KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS
I dress to kill my time.
I take the long way home.
I ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright,
They say, “I don’t know.”
“Death By A Thousand Cuts” is so great. I can’t even begin to explain it. I’ll just say that some of my favorite lines off the whole album are the ones quoted above. I’m in love with the idea of a long way home and talking to traffic lights. I live in Los Angeles. Driving is excruciating and you have no idea how many breakdowns I’ve had considering and re-considering my life at the steering wheel on the way home.
The fact that this song ends on the line, “I don’t know,” and never gives an answer is amazing because it means we don’t know. It means they don’t know. The significance of asking some kind of inanimate object this heavy philosophical question and expecting it to answer is staggering – like what got you to that point? Taylor Swift doesn’t know either. She’s the most successful female artist on the planet, and if she doesn’t know if everything’s always going to be okay, then maybe it’s fine that I don’t know either … and not knowing that is still okay.
Said “I’m fine”, but it wasn’t true.
I DON’T WANNA KEEP SECRETS JUST TO KEEP YOU!
“Cruel Summer” is my favorite song off the whole album! I’m just putting it here so you listen to it!
God, you know what I really love about this album? As a fan of Taylor’s for thirteen years now, she’s been singing about the kind of love she’s always wished for. The happy endings to her own versions of Romeo and Juliet. The guy who’s going to save her. Someone she can trust for once. One of my favorite things about this record is that she’s finally singing, “I love you,” and feeling confident about meaning it.
It makes me feel so so happy for her. I’m beyond happy for her because after all these years in all this spotlight, she deserves someone like that … and even way before today, Taylor has always been the one who kept me believing in love and happy endings. Thank you, “Love Story,” thank you, “You Are In Love,” thank you, “King of My Heart.” Love you guys.
The thing is now, she’s singing about marrying a guy with paper rings because she loves him so much she doesn’t care about diamonds and all the material things that symbolize commitment! He has her heart leaving her chest and dancing down avenues out of happiness, and if we’re being honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard her sing about that kind of happy so genuinely ever – and I love that for her. So much.
In these love songs, there is not a single hint of doubt present. For the first time. This whole record is Taylor Swift going back to being the hopeless romantic we all love, who caught the world’s hearts with her dream worlds and crafted plays. This record is for all of us hopeless romantics, except the more I listen to it, the more I think the “hopeless” part of it is fading fast.
THERE IS LIGHT AT THE OTHER END OF YOUR DARKNESS
I once believed love would be burning red, but it’s golden like daylight.
reputation was born out of a dark time and anyone following Taylor knows that. I related to the entire reputation era on a very deep level. Now that it’s something that’s in the past and now that it’s had its own ending .. Now that Lover shows Taylor happier, healthier, and more hopeful than she’s ever been as the result of reputation, that shows me that good can come out of the worst moments in your life. Light can rise out of darkness, and though it’s biologically impossible, snakes can turn into butterflies – and for the new romantic, that makes absolute sense.
Lover makes it evident that good things are always out there. Love, itself is out there, and “Daylight” proves it. Try not to cry while you listen to it. I’ve already failed.
“Daylight” is one of my favorites from the album and it already means so much to me. The idea of light surrounding you is everything, and it sonically sounds like you’re being flooded with light – the good kind. The rays of gold that look like glitter under blue skies and sunlight that shines over ocean waves and white clouds that you could reach out and touch and warmth. The good kind.
Taylor Swift puts my soul into words. She keeps my hope alive, and that is the only way I know how to summarize what she and her music mean to me.
Lord knows she does not need any kind of promotion from me for anything. This is purely one of those times where I just want to talk about the thing that I love, and I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. Writing about Taylor Swift music only knowing it for a week? That sounds so fake to me. I live with Taylor Swift music for years … but now it’s new. It’s cool. We’re beginning something else, and it’s so exciting. What a time to feel all this. It’s exciting to think that days are going to come and I’ll get to have these songs accompany me. It’s also exciting to think about tatooing “Daylight” onto my body somewhere, but that’s another story.
Lover, I love you. Taylor, I love you. You are always going to be the lyricist that I love. Thirteen years, and some things don’t change … but thank you for making me believe that maybe someday, they will.
I wanna be defined by the things that I love not the things I hate, not the things I’m afraid of, the things that haunt me in the middle of the night.
– Taylor Swift –
It’s Taylor Swift’s world, I’m just living in it – and thank god for that.