I would apologise for all the Taylor Swift content on my blog this month, but… I’m really not sorry. Yesterday (August 23rd 2020) was the one year anniversary of Lover, Taylor Swift’s 7th studio album. In celebration, I thought I would do an updated version of my First Impressions of Lover post, complete with new rankings. Let’s go!
- “I Forgot That You Existed”
I wasn’t a massive fan of this when it came out, and it’s still not one of my favourites from the album. It does bridge the gap between reputation and Lover, so it works well as an introduction, but it somehow doesn’t feel like a proper song to me.
“Your name on my lips tongue tied/Free rent livin in my mind”
- “Cruel Summer”
I was wrong about “Cruel Summer” and want to make a formal apology. It wasn’t released as a single as I guessed, though it definitely should’ve been. I didn’t really like this song the first time round, and now it’s probably my most played off the album. I still love the shout of “he looks up grinning like the devil” in the background, so I at least got that bit right!
“And I screamed “for whatever it’s worth/I love you ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard?””
‘Little “Lover”’ is still a really gorgeous track. There’s not so many ballad type songs on Taylor’s more recent albums, so I love this return to this vibe. As I noted when the song first came out, Taylor is the sole writer credited on this song, which makes sense. Usually her more poppy songs have other writers’ influences coming in, but the ballad songs are her strength, and she’s more than capable of writing a solo album packed with these kinds of songs (cough cough Speak Now).
“With every guitar string scar on my hand/I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover”
- “The Man”
When it came out, I didn’t think “The Man” was being too obnoxious, but I have to admit I now find it slightly cringeworthy. Obviously I stand by the message and love that Taylor owns her success and challenges patriarchal stereotypes. It’s just a bit… overt. There’s not really any subtlety to it. Having heard folklore now, I much prefer the way “Mad Woman” talks about gender stereotypes and sexism. I think there’s more power in owning your femininity and calling out sexism from that perspective as opposed to comparing yourself to a man.
“When everyone believes ya/What’s that like?”
- “The Archer”
This is far more stripped back than most of the songs on the album, and has an ethereal feel. This has turned out to be a track that I don’t listen to that often, but I still really like it. It’s very vulnerable, a total contrast to “The Man” that comes before it.
“Who could stay?/You could stay.”
- “I Think He Knows”
This is another one I like a lot more now than I did when I first heard it, though it’s still not a favourite of mine off the album. It’s playful and fun, and I really like the beat of it. I have to disagree with my earlier analysis that it was forgettable. I think it has a distinct sound compared to the rest of the album and Taylor’s discography generally.
“He’s so obsessed with me and boy I understand/Boy I understand”
- “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince”
I was right about loving this song. The political message is present, but subtle, concealed behind a high school metaphor, which I love. It seems especially fitting considering a lot of politicians do in fact act like high school students. No offence intended to high school students there.
“Boys will be boys then/Where are the wise men?/Darling I’m scared”
- “Paper Rings”
This was my favourite song on the album when it first came out, but I don’t think it has the longevity as some of the other songs on the album. It’s definitely dropped in my rankings, and I don’t listen to it that often. It’s still a really fun bop, and has a great beat to dance to, but it just hasn’t turned out to be one I listen to that much.
“Honey without all the exes, fights and flaws/We wouldn’t be standing here so tall”
- “Cornelia Street”
A return to a slightly softer, more stripped back vibe. I really like this song still. It’s very intimate and breathy, and sweet. I don’t think this one will move too much in my rankings. It’s not one of my favourites on the album, though I do really like it.
“We were a fresh page on the desk/Filling in the blanks as we go”
- “Death by a Thousand Cuts”
A year on and I have finally mastered the bridge in this song. Thank you Taylor for the gift that is the bridge of this song. I still really like the desperation in the traffic light imagery, and the idea of the love that remains after the breakup.
“United we stand/Our country guess it was a lawless land/Quiet my fears with a touch of your hand/Paper cut stings from my paper thin plans”
- “London Boy”
Yeah I… I agree with everyone else on this song now. I don’t like it. Sorry Taylor, but it’s definitely one of my least favourite Taylor songs of all time.
“Show me a blue sky, a rainy cab ride/Babe don’t threaten me with a good time”
- “Soon You’ll Get Better” ft The Chicks
The Dixie Chicks recently rebranded themselves to The Chicks, to avoid any confusion here. I admit I don’t listen to this song very often, not because it’s not good, but because it’s so upsetting to listen to. It’s a really beautiful tribute to Taylor’s mother Andrea.
“You’ll get better soon, because you have to”
- “False God”
I still really love “False God”. It’s a return to the slower songs, and I’m also a bit of a sucker for a saxophone, so I love that there’s a saxophone in it. The live performance she did of this song (I think for Saturday Night Live) was amazing.
“We were stupid to jump/In the ocean separating us/Remember how I’d fly to you?”
- “You Need to Calm Down”
Yes, it’s a fun song, but again, it’s not one I particularly like. Fun song, good message, but it just gets a bit repetitive and boring after so many play throughs. I stand by saying that it isn’t a gay anthem. The term gay anthem should be reserved for songs by gay people for me.
“And I ain’t tryna mess with your self-expression/But I’ve learned a lesson that stressin’ and obsessin’ bout somebody else is no fun”
Back to the softer songs, and back to a song I like a lot more than the poppier, written-for-radio tunes. This feels like a really mature song, a taking of responsibility that isn’t a perspective that often gets explored. Taylor might get hate for playing the victim, but doesn’t everyone focus on portraying themselves in the best light after an ugly situation?
“It’s all me in my head/I’m the one that burned us down/But it’s not what I meant/I’m sorry that I hurt you”
- “ME!” ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco
Again, I just don’t like this one. Another one that’s sadly at the bottom of my overall Taylor Swift song rankings. I do prefer this version without the “hey kids, spelling is fun!” line, but it’s still not enough to save it from being overly cheesey.
“And when we had that fight out in the rain/You ran after me and called my name”
- “It’s Nice to Have a Friend”
This is really quite a weird little song. I have a bit of a soft spot for it, but it’s not very high up in my rankings. It has nice instrumentals, and it has a sweet tone to it, painting a picture of childish, innocent love. It’s just very short, which makes it feel a bit out of place.
“Like pink sky, up on the roof, sun sinks down, no curfew”
And here we are, the closing song of the album! I think this really makes sense as a closing song, and brings back the softer side of Lover, which I think is the main tone of the album really. I agree with my previous analysis that it represents new beginnings, which symbolises the meaning of Lover for Taylor.
“You are what you love.”
“False God” +1
“Cruel Summer” +11
“Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” +2
“Cornelia Street” +2
“I Think He Knows” +11
“The Archer” -4
“I Forgot That You Existed” +7
“Death by a Thousand Cuts” +5
“Soon You’ll Get Better” ft. The Chicks -5
“Paper Rings” -12
“The Man” -4
“It’s Nice to Have a Friend” -1
“You Need To Calm Down” -5
“London Boy” -5
“ME!” ft. Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco =