Swift recounts past loves and combats hate on new record Lover

Amanda Salazar

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift released her seventh studio album, Lover, on Aug. 23 about her past and current relationships, with some political messages thrown in.

While the majority of the 18 tracks on Lover are about romantic relationships, Swift manages to bring a new angle to a topic so common among her songs that it has become a running joke among her critics.

It starts with the very first song of the album, “I Forgot That You Existed.” While this song could be about the conflicts with friends or other artists that the 29-year-old artist went through in her life, it is very possible that the lyrics could refer to a past romantic relationship.

“I Forgot That You Existed” brings a new flavor to her typical break up songs, because of how positive and upbeat it is.

The track’s positive beat and Swift’s cheerful tone contrast with the concept of break up or fight, which makes the song as interesting as it is catchy.

It’s more than a song about the ending of a relationship; it’s about moving on and letting go of negative people.

Looking past the song’s flawless rhymes and great beat, Swift’s message that endings aren’t negative if they bring you peace becomes more evident and sets the stage for the rest of the album.

While some songs on the album are more similar to her older music — such as how the album’s title track, “Lover,” is reminiscent of songs like Swift’s 2008 “Breathe” — there are other love songs that also take a different approach from her regular style.

An example of this is “Paper Rings,” the eighth track on the album.

A song about unconditional love for and commitment to a partner suggest that it’s about Swift’s three-year long relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn.

In the chorus she says, “I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings… Darling, you’re the one I want,” referencing engagement rings and wedding bands.

Rings are a big part of stereotypical American weddings and are often very expensive. Swift is saying that she will forgo this tradition to be with the person she loves.

It’s an unusual take on a love song, since most have the theme of, “I love you, so I will give you whatever you want,” whereas “Paper Rings” says true love is “I love you, so I will cherish anything you give me.”

Additionally, the title is notably similar to the title of one of Ariana Grande’s most popular songs in recent years called “7 Rings” from her record Thank U, Next.

The two songs are in stark contrast, as Grande’s song is about exuberant wealth and the ability to buy anything she could possibly desire, including matching rings for herself and her seven close friends.

It can be speculated that Swift titled her song similarly to Grande’s on purpose to show that she disagrees with the ideals portrayed in “7 Rings,” but it is not confirmed.

Another wonderful love song from Lover is “Soon You’ll Get Better,” which is about Swift’s love for her mother who was diagnosed with cancer in both 2015 and 2019.

Nicely incorporating a different form of love into her album than just romantic love, the track shows Swifties a new side of the artist in her music as she wills her mother into better health.

However, some listeners may find Swift’s voice overpowering since her collaborator on the track Dixie Chicks is only included in the chorus.

Transitioning away from the themes of love and relationships, Swift’s “The Man” has a powerful message about sexism and the patriarchy that incorporates just the right amount of politics.

Its lyrics, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can/Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man,” are relatable and familiar for many women and girls, and touches upon the difficulties that they go through.

The line from the pre-chorus, “When everyone believes ya/What’s that like,” references the #MeToo movement and the constant disbelief of sexual assault accusations made by women.

The chorus’s line, “And I’m so sick of them coming at me again/’Cause if I was a man, then I’d be the man,” refers to when women get criticized for things that men get praised for, such as having a long dating history like Swift’s.

The song, with its uplifting beat and fantastic chorus, has the potential to be the next feminist anthem.

Overall, the album is a positive, hopeful story of her relationships with the people around her and the society that she and her fans live in.