Written by Jennifer Dong
Graphic by Emma Robinson

“With lyrics of cutting specificity and breathy vocals, Swift reminds the listener that love is just as precarious and torturous as it is reassuring, singing, “I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends. I’d never walk Cornelia Street again.” ”

“I Forgot That You Existed” & “ME!”

Taylor Swift’s Lover commences with the breezy “I Forgot That You Existed,” a song addressing Swift’s apathy regarding a former relationship or adversary. A far departure from some of her more plaintive songs, Swift sprinkles this playful, light-hearted track with giggles. By sealing the loose ends of a past conflict with a disarming ease, Swift seems as though she is reminding the world of who she is, denying critics the power to shape her image as boy-crazy and obsessive. While the equally bouncy single “ME!” lacks the nuance and depth of other tracks, its message of embracing one’s individuality and loving oneself is notable.

“Cruel Summer” & “Paper Rings”

The dizzying “Cruel Summer” is an anthem both lamenting and celebrating the agonizing yet ecstatic feelings of being in love, ascending to new, exhilarating heights as the song progresses. Similarly, “Paper Rings” is a sugary ode to Swift’s partner, Joe Alwyn, that employs a head-in-the-clouds girliness, recalling the singer’s penchant for saccharine morals and fairytale endings. 

“London Boy” & “Lover”

Whimsical, cheeky, and childlike, Swift professes her love for her partner’s hometown of grey skies and cab rides on rainy days in “London Boy.” The track “Lover” is a slow, romantic ballad also dedicated to Alwyn. With autumnal undertones and a dreamy, vintage quality, the song addresses the singer’s newfound sense of security in herself and her relationship after a history of heartbreaks. In the past year, Swift has become noticeably more secure in her identity and beliefs.

“The Man,” “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince,” &
“Leo in Saint-Tropez”

While “Lover” could easily be found on an earlier album of Swift’s, “The Man” and “Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince” directly address her political and social views in a way she has never done before, pointing out the blatant inequalities she faces simply by virtue of being a woman. By likening herself to “Leo in Saint-Tropez” and enumerating the privileges she could have enjoyed as a man, Swift sheds light through a high-powered pop song on the double standards of gender so often left unaddressed in our culture. 

“Cornelia Street”

Much like her 2017 hit “Delicate,” “Cornelia Street” contains the same mixture of fear, hope, and wild excitement at the beginning of a new romance. This song feels like October air in your lungs, holding your breath before you plunge deep into unknown depths of water, a poignant clairvoyance in knowing you’ll miss a moment as it unfolds in real time. With lyrics of cutting specificity and breathy vocals, Swift reminds the listener that love is just as precarious and torturous as it is reassuring, singing, “I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends. I’d never walk Cornelia Street again.” “Cornelia Street” carries hints of longing amid the fear of one-sided love, and is powered by nostalgic echoes of a city and the beautiful idea that an ordinary place can somehow turn sacred in its reminiscence of a person. Throughout this intimate track, Swift is lost in reverie and deep thought, giving the listener a vivid sense of the feeling and breathing, hyperconscious human that is sometimes hidden behind the colossal pop tracks.

While Swift portrayed herself as a bitter diva in Reputation, this version of her is hopelessly sincere. The listener cannot help but feel the butterflies Swift is feeling and smile at the mysterious, magical nature of love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s