I kind of feel bad for all the incredibly talented musicians out there who pretty much decided long ago to release their albums up against Taylor Swift this week. I hate to say it folks, with the current queen of pop back with her seventh studio album, it’s going to be hard to focus on anything else this week. Already, all the big guns like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NME, Stereogum and Consequence Of Sound have jostled for space to be the first to review one of the most anticipated releases of the year. It’s kind of funny, but then again this is the nature of social media nowadays. That said, praise for the album is abound and the odd review here and there has even dared to dish it, but I suspect that’s more about the continuation of vilifying Swift in the press. Even, as I write, London Boy, Swift’s loving dedication to the man in her life and her new adopted city, is raising eyebrows as being misrepresentation of the real London. Admittedly, even I have to say as a song it does come across a little cringeworthy.
Overall how I feel about the album is still up for debate. My first impression is that it’s a nice change from the angst-driven Reputation, on which Swift pretty much announced the old Taylor was dead. Moreover, where Reputation was heavy on dirty, nasty synth sounds, Lover is more reminiscent of the pop sounds of 1989. While 1989 was an evolutionary record in Swifts career, Lover is definitely trying to do the same. Though I do love how some of those country leanings that made her famous manage to bubble to the surface, especially on the albums title track and Soon You’ll Get Better featuring the Dixie Chicks.
In short, on the subject of the album’s songwriting, this new record is according to Swift “…very much a celebration of love, in all its complexity, coziness and chaos.” And I suppose while the album may come across as a little too long, it is nonetheless filled with an assortment of thoughtful arrangements. Some of my favourite tracks already are Lover, Cruel Summer, The Archer, Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince, False God and The Man.
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