Taylor Swift - Lover
The problem with Taylor Swift has never been her music. Much like her arch nemesis Kanye West it is always the drama that surrounds their music that is the most frustrating part. While her last record Reputation was patently worse than almost all of it's predecessors, it suffered far more because of the media storm around it. Taylor Swift has done herself zero favors in this regard, constantly acting defensive, flat out lying and trying to paint herself as the constant victim. Even with the more edgy, more confident Taylor she tried to project on that last album it all felt so contrived. 1989 was none of that. It was honest and bright, full of the same insecurities but rather than blaming everyone else Taylor looked within. This record rights that path. While the singles are quite uneven to say the least, the rest of the album is filled with real emotional honesty. Taylor Swift is at her worst when she is chasing trends. The album's first single "ME!" feels like an absurd kids song, crafted for Youtube clicks. "You Need to Calm Down" is Swift's major push to right her previous inaction and seemingly ambitiousness towards the LGBTQ+ community and their struggles. It feels like the cause dejour for Swift rather than her true emotion on the subject. When she speaks about her real self, the love she has found, it shines so much brighter than when she writes from the headlines.
People like "The Archer" because it is Swift's most abstract work in awhile. She writes such personal songs that it is nice when she takes her person out of the songs for awhile. She does a bit to much rap singing on this album for my taste, and the songs like "I Think He Knows" are produced within an inch of their lives. The album also feels like 15 minutes too long at least. She could cut out at least 10 references to dealing with "online hate" and still have plenty to go around. It seems though that she just can't help herself when it comes to complaining about existing online, something a lot of artists suffer from. From top to bottom though the record sounds incredibly crisp. It is clear that Swift and her producers prioritize razor sharp sound over anything else. It feels like Swift is course correcting on this album, and it is a welcome one. This album is close to being great save for a few absolute head scratchers and just too much of everything. Swift is far better when she is exploring an idea than when she's preaching about it, and she does much more exploring on Lover than she has done in awhile. Thankfully.
7.0 out of 10