I finally did it. After several months of people giving me a look of disbelieving surprise when I tell them I don’t have Disney+ whenever it comes up in conversation (you can see my rationale on not subscribing on my shelf in the featured image of this post!), I finally started my free seven day trial this weekend. Since I’ve finished my rewatch of Lost and there’s a few movies (Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel) that I want to catch up on, I thought it was a good opportunity and finally when Taylor Swift announced that the show she did in Paris shortly after Lover was released (yes, you bet I entered that contest at every opportunity!) would be available on Disney’s streaming service the day after it aired on American TV, it was a done deal.
Excited to announce the City of Lover Concert! We filmed my show in Paris in September and thought it’d be fun to share it with you 😄May 17 at 10p ET on @abcnetwork and available the next day on @hulu and @disneyplus! #TaylorSwiftCityOfLover pic.twitter.com/7B3ky0rO5B
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) May 8, 2020
So just like I watched the 1989 tour on Apple Music and reputation on Netflix, today I set up my HDMI so I could watch the majority of the Lover album preformed live. Which, unfortunately, may be the closest anyone gets to doing so in 2020.
It has been almost nine months since Taylor Swift released Lover, her seventh album which officially began the *Lover Era*. When her last album, reputation, came out, I wrote a post about the era and fandom and then followed it up with a review of the album itself (you can check those out via the linked text if you wish). When Lover was first released, I did a quick post about my initial thoughts, which you can check out HERE but I am finally posting my review of the album itself.
Lover is a beautiful album and has the most tracks on a Taylor Swift album to date! The daydreamy, girly aesthetic is reminiscent to her early material but is still truly a pop album. My favourite element is how many of the songs include throwback references to previous songs and albums which is one of my favourite things that bands and musicians do (Relient K did this in “Thief” (2004) and “There Was No Thief” (2008), and Marianas Trench usually does this on one track of each album such as “Dearly Departed” (2015)). Overall it’s a departure from reputation in every way except for the high volume of love-y songs, which is understandable this time around as it is, literally, the name of the game. I really enjoyed the higher caliber of lyrics in the songs, which was my main critique of the last album. Overall, it’s a great addition to Taylor Swift’s catalogue.
After the album release, I found myself really pulling away from the fandom aspect of Taylor Swift. While I love curating my Tumblr, it’s exhausting to see people self-promoting themselves on there in hopes that Taylor will notice them. I talked about this at length in the post I mentioned, so I won’t go on much more. I did join a group chat with a few local Taylor Swift fans, which has been pretty cool but overall… the fandom as a whole is just exhausting and, really, I’m getting too old for this.
Before Covid-19 really sunk its claws into 2020, there was supposed to be a series of concerts dedicated to Lover. However, the whole thing was just… whack. The only North American shows were planned for LA and New York, with a series of festival dates across other continents. I didn’t purchase tickets because it wasn’t a matter of just driving over the border, as was the case for seeing the reputation tour in Seattle, but actual airfare and a hotel, for what would likely just be an overnight stay. This is coming from the girl who has gone to Tucson, Arizona and Hartford, Connecticut to see a musical… I have my limits, especially considering that good Lover Fest tickets would cost more than airfare to LA, which I really wouldn’t be able to afford in the midst of summer vacation. A couple members of the aforementioned group chat had decided to just take the hit and go, so I kept in the loop with information about the LA show that way… but the lack of information about the shows (advertised as “Taylor Swift and Friends”) was frustrating even for me, someone who wasn’t even going. Now that all concerts have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, there is no point in going too much further with this, especially considering that I understand why there were only a small number of shows in the first place. However, “understanding” doesn’t make it less icky to see privileged Taylor Swift fans purchasing multiple tickets, with some even getting tickets to both New York and LA shows.
The other “ugly” aspect was the album release experience. Ever since Red came out in 2012, I’ve always gone to purchase the physical deluxe edition of the album on release day. For Lover, these were a series of notebooks with excerpts from Taylor’s personal journals which were advertised to be available in Canada at Walmart and Sunrise Records. I got up early to head to Walmart, a place I rarely enter, and they had no display and the employees had no idea what I was talking about when I asked about it. I had to head to the mall about twenty minutes away and the Walmart was the same there. In the group chat, it sounded like other people were having the same experience with their various local Walmarts. I ended up getting my copy from Sunrise Records for way more money than it should have been. The whole thing was frustrating, and while I’m grateful that I didn’t have to order it online like many international fans had to do… I wish that the experience has been “as advertised”, and as it has been with previous albums.
Now… onto a happier note!
TRACK ONE: “I Forgot That You Existed”
- The Good: Having the first track off of Lover be one so relatable that I immediately teared up even thought it was essentially just the transition from the reputation era to this present one.
- The Bad: when compared to the rest of the tracks, it doesn’t really stand out.
- Favourite Line: “And I would’ve stuck around for ya, would’ve fought the whole town, so yeah. Would’ve been right there front row even if nobody came to your show.”
TRACK TWO: “Cruel Summer”
- The Good: Everything. All of it. Mic drop. Roll credits.
- The Bad: That I don’t have a live version and may never get one.
- Favourite Line: “-and I scream for whatever it’s worth, I love you ain’t that the worst thing you’ve ever heard? He looks up grinning like a devil.”
TRACK THREE: “Lover”
- The Good: This is the song that “New Years Day” was made out to be at the reputation secret sessions. It’s so sweet without being corny or cliché and I’m a BIG fan. I’m usually not huge on ***looooove*** songs… but I stand with “Lover”.
- The Bad: People who don’t leave the Christmas lights up til January. Scrooges and Grinches, all of ’em!
- Favourite Line: “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue, all’s well that ends well to end up with you.” (Runner up is: Swear to be overdramatic and true… because IF. THAT’S. NOT. ME!)
TRACK FOUR: “The Man”
- The Good: What I thought was going to be a 2019 take on Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy” turned out to be a totally different perspective on the male perspective. It’s very interesting to think about and well, she’s not wrong.
- The Bad: OKAY SO at the end of the chorus, in between the repeating “I’d be the man”s there’s this kind of high pitched electronic sound that I cannot describe in words and it reminds me of something very specific that I cannot find so I definitely sound crazy but I’m going to tell you anyway! I was like 90% sure it was from Video On Trial (if you’re a Canadian millennial, chances are you remember this show with a fondness that also cannot be put in words) and Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” was being critiqued and someone compared that very similar sound that occurs in Taylor’s chorus to someone beating up/ strangling a Muppet. Yes, that is a very obscure, very specific image and (by the grace of God) I found the “My Love” VoT episode on YouTube and that wasn’t a part of it? So I don’t know if I’m wrongly attributing the comment to them and it was actually from another show but… I can’t think of another scenario where this would happen? ANYWAY. The sound bothers me for this very specific reason which is totally very nitpicky but there you have it.
- Favourite Line: “’Cause if I was a man then I’d be the man.”
TRACK FIVE: “The Archer”
- The Good: This is my favourite song on the album. I’m always a sucker for Track 5s, and “The Archer” did not disappoint. Feelings related to self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and anxiety are all put into Taylor Swiftian style writing and ugh. It’s everything. When “The Archer” was released last summer I went for many pensive walks in the forest listening to it on repeat.
- The Bad: I wish there was another verse or two!
- Favourite Line: “Screaming, who could ever leave me, darling? But who could stay?”
TRACK SIX: “I Think He Knows”
- The Good: The way she says “Boy, I understand”. If you know, you know.
- The Bad: I think this song also suffers from the same fate that IFTYE and a couple other songs on the album where it’s a good song but kind of gets lost in the shuffle and is, ultimately, forgettable.
- Favourite Line: “He got that boyish look that I like in a man, I am an architect, I’m drawing up the plans. It’s like I’m seventeen, nobody understands, no one understands.”
TRACK SEVEN: “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince”
- The Good: This song has SO MANY LITERARY DEVICES WORKING WELL and it truly thrills me.
- The Bad: American politics are exhausting.
- Favourite Line: “Voted most likely to run away with you.”
TRACK EIGHT: “Paper Rings”
- The Good: As Miss Taylor Swift iconically said in 2012 at the end of “Stay Stay Stay” (AKA the younger sister of “Paper Rings”), “That’s so fun!”. And “so fun” it truly is.
- The Bad: “Baby boy” as a pet name makes me CRINGE.
- Favourite Line: “Kiss me once ’cause you know I had a long night, kiss me twice ’cause it’s gonna be alright, three times ’cause I’ve waited my whole life.”
TRACK NINE: “Cornelia Street”
- The Good: This song is such a perfect example of the gift Taylor Swift has for storytelling through songwriting. The live version is especially beautiful.
- The Bad: Not one thing.
- Favourite Line: “Back when we were card sharks, playing games, I thought you were leading me on. I packed my bags, left Cornelia Street before you even knew I was gone.”
TRACK TEN: “Death By A Thousand Cuts”
- The Good: DBATC is such a relatable song that I wish I could package it up and send it in a time machine to myself in 2016.
- The Bad: Not necessarily a bad thing, as this is one of my favourite songs on the album, but it’s definitely a grower. It didn’t really show up on my radar for the first little while, but after listening to the album several times, DBATC is now firmly in the top 5.
- Favourite Line: “I ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright… they say, “I don’t know””
TRACK ELEVEN: “London Boy”
- The Good: Another fun song! There are so many! How can anyone not like this album!?
- The Bad: Dating just got even more expensive and inconvenient now that my criteria contains “must be from London”. Also see ~The Bad~ from “King of My Heart” in my reputation review.
- Favourite Line: “And you know I love Springsteen, faded blue jeans, Tennessee whiskey”
TRACK TWELVE: “Soon You’ll Get Better”
- The Good: My notes from when I first listened to the album say “Dixie Chicks collab. Country roots HELLO” and that sums it up. It’s a beautiful, heartfelt and heartbreaking ode to having a loved one go through illness and the respective treatment, but of course it can be applied to so many other situations.
- The Bad: It hurts to say anything negative about this song but unfortunately it will join the ranks of “Ronan” as a beautiful song that I can’t listen to because it hurts to do so. Lover came out shortly before my mom went in for her second brain surgery, so it was difficult to listen to this song without crying as the bridge especially was relatable to the thoughts in my head when she had her first surgery back in 2015.
- Favourite Line: “And I hate to make this all about me but who am I supposed to talk to? What am I supposed to do if there’s no you?”
TRACK THIRTEEN: “False God”
- The Good: I listened to it while walking around downtown Vancouver at dusk in the pouring rain. Truly an experience.
- The Bad: It’s probably my least favourite song on the album? The saxophone is cool but *shrug emoji*.
- Favourite Line: “Staring out the window like I’m not your favourite town. I’m New York City.”
TRACK FOURTEEN: “You Need To Calm Down”
- The Good: A very timely, inclusive anthem.
- The Bad: It suffers the fate of many TSwift pre-release tracks where I overplay them so much before the album is out that now they usually get skipped.
- Favourite Line: “Shade never made anybody less gay.”
TRACK FIFTEEN: “Afterglow”
- The Good: This is the song that I can most easily picture live, performed in full T-Swift style: dramatic lighting, fancy gown, dancers and musicians with giant drums etc.
- The Bad: I keep thinking this is the last track. It invokes a similar feel to “Daylight” although it isn’t necessarily thematically or sonically similar.
- Favourite Line: “I lived like an island, punished you with silence”
TRACK SIXTEEN: “ME!”
- The Good: We love a great self-love bop.
- The Bad: Taking out “HEY KIDS, SPELLING IS FUN” was a weird move that goes against the message of the song?
- Favourite Line: “I promise that you’ll never find another like me!”
TRACK SEVENTEEN: “It’s Nice To Have A Friend”
- The Good: I feel like there were a lot of mixed feelings about this song when the album came out but I’ve always liked it! It’s super simple and sweet but still showcases Taylor’s writing ability really nicely. It also samples a Canadian youth choir, so proceeds from the song go to support music education in Toronto, which is an awesome.
- The Bad: It’s so short!
- Favourite Line: “Church bells ring, carry me home. Rice on the ground looks like snow”
TRACK EIGHTEEN: “Daylight”
- The Good: “Daylight” is a beautiful song in its own right but a perfect album closer… plus an allusion to “Red”?! Sign! Me! Up!
- The Bad: The mysterious clip at the end? Is it the clip of a phone call? An answering machine message? I need answers!!
- Favourite Line: “Maybe you ran with the wolves and refused to settle down, maybe I’ve stormed out of every single room in this town.”
Lover is a beautiful album that I thoroughly enjoy listening to. I am saddened by the thought that I will likely not have the opportunity to see any kind of in-person concert dedicated to Lover but unfortunately, due to current events, it sounds like the closest thing we’ll get to a Lover tour is now on Disney+ for a limited time. I hope that once Taylor has rerecorded her first five albums this fall, there will be some kind of greatest hits tour featuring some tracks from this album as well!
Thank you so much for reading this post! I hope you have an awesome day (and remember to stream Lover by Taylor Swift on your music listening service of choice)!