I think I speak for many when I say that I had zero expectations for “Lover.” I am not a hater, nor am I a certified Swiftie, but I do have some fond memories growing up with Taylor Swift’s music. There’s that memory of me singing Teardrops on my Guitar and feeling it as if I too cry at night with my guitar, even though I didn’t know how to play then. There’s this slight PTSD that comes with hearing songs from “Speak Now” because my high school dorm manager would blast that album at five in the morning to wake us all up. There’s the hidden love for Gorgeous, even though it was vapid as hell. But I digress. “Lover”, in all its 18-track monstrosity was a release that didn’t excite me. I first listened to it a few days after it was out, allotting a good hour or so of my time to really digest everything that Taylor had to say. Suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised that it isn’t all that bad.
This album makes you wonder if the old Taylor is really dead, which is what Taylor wanted us to believe in “Reputation,” but frankly, a big chunk of this album feels like a revisitation of her old sounds, rather than a discovery of a new one. But then again, I’m a little bit of a Taylor Swift apologist, and I will play my favorites from this album on repeat until the lyrics are etched in my brain.
So here you go, a ranking of all the songs from “Lover,” from the great loves to the teardrops for your reference.
This encapsulates what I always loved about her songwriting: a vulnerable feeling told in classic Taylor Swift fashion with a sound that is not too loud nor subdued. The beats got me hooked, the lyrics, even more. I want to cry to this song and pretend that I am fighting with my hypothetical special someone.
As someone who doesn’t dare step near Katipunan anymore (unless I really really need to) because of my embarrassing long list of ex lovers who live there, I relate to this song on a spiritual level. When you’re in a relationship, there’s always that fear of associating someone’s existence to a particular place, because things might go south and you’d end up hating it and never going back.
This should have been the first release and I am willing to die on this hill. It’s got a synthetic sound and a structure that makes you think that it was written for “1989,” but hey, I’m not hating. Also: the vocals on “He looks so pretty like a devil”? I had no choice but to stan.
The title tracks of Taylor’s albums have always been good, and Lover is no different. It’s slow, and calm, and captures the intimacy that comes in long-term relationships. She’s no longer in that place of big gestures a la You Belong With Me. She’s grown up, and this relationship is sure and steady.
I Forgot That You Existed
Passive aggressive. A bop. Witty lines. This is how you start an album. Gone are her blatant hate songs from “Reputation.” This is a bright pop song that tells everyone that Taylor is way past that dark era.
This song feels like a goodbye to the hurt and darkness that she experienced in the past. She tells us that she’s now okay, she’s in love, and the daylight that she’s living in is a result of her growing up and learning from her mistakes. “It’s morning now, it’s brighter now.” Good for you, Taylor.
You know how Blank Space was Taylor’s way of retaliating to the media after years of portraying her as that girl who has a long list of exes? The Man has the same energy, only this time, she wrote it in language that won’t be misunderstood. She’s tired of being portrayed as a bad person when men do the same things without anyone raising a brow. Cheers to feminism.
I Think He Knows
This song gives off a chill house party vibe, what with its beats and flirty message. “He’s so obsessed with me and boy I understand.” But the best part of this song is really how Taylor is finally the one driving the car, after so many songs with cars where she’s just a passenger. Finally, girl!
Fun fact: I had to Google if Joe Alwyn is from London. We get it, Taylor, your boyfriend is cute and lovely and perfect. Now where do I order a London boy for myself??
This sounds like a song from “Red.” It’s got that preppy I’m-so-in-love-with-you narrative, complete with a fast beat akin to Stay, Stay, Stay. “I like shiny things but I’d marry you with paper rings/ I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this.” That’s old Taylor, alright.
Death By A Thousand Cuts
Yet another song that feels like it’s from “Red.” The old Taylor is indeed still very much alive.
Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. Dixie Chicks)
I honestly feel like this collaboration wasn’t needed. It sounds like a song that Taylor can make on her own. It even sounds like Never Grow Up. It’s still a good song, one that you’d want to hear when you’re sad and cold and alone in your room, wallowing in darkness.
This sounds like an attempt at trying to achieve that same sound and vulnerability from other musicians. It’s more mature, and surprisingly, it works, but I can’t help but feel like she’s trying too much to emulate the sound of other people.
It’s Nice to Have a Friend
Don’t tell me I’m the only one who thinks that the instrumentals sound like something from Mulan. I’m not saying that’s bad… But it is definitely different.
Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince
There’s always that one song in any album that’s not bad, but also not good, and you won’t really mind if it’s there or not. This is it.
You Need To Calm Down
This is the kind of song that grows on you after a lot of listens. Not gonna lie, the oh-ohs are stuck in my head like crazy, and I commend her for putting forward equality for the LGBTQ+ community, but the narrative kind of seems forced — like a marketing ploy, really, but if it pushes the conversation forward, I am all for it.
This played with my emotions, alright, but does it sound good? I’m not sure. The ultimate self-awareness anthem.
ME! (feat Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco)
Ah yes, the quintessential first release that is chosen based on how catchy it is. All I want to say is that I want this song scrapped from the album and forgotten.