They say a metric of just how much better you’ve gotten is how much your past work makes you cringe. With Taylor Swift and her singing career that has spanned more than a decade, the progression is evident. We’ve seen her turn from the naive small-town girl that she was in her earlier albums into a more experimental young adult excited to see just what the world has to offer in ‘1989’. Then, we see a somewhat confusing but refreshing change of character in ‘Reputation’, as she waves just how unbothered she is about all the slander the world continually threw her way.
In her recently released ‘Lover’, Taylor Swift shows that she’s not yet done transforming. This is an entirely new Taylor. And as someone who admittedly has been with her every step of the way and has listened to her songs as anthems of my life all throughout my high school and young adult life, I have to say that her new album couldn’t come at a better time.
‘Lover’ is an album made by a Taylor who is undeniably about to reach her 30’s. She has grown through the heartbreaks she used to sing about, the issues the media has pinned on her, and her experiences as an artist and as a human—’Lover’ is a culmination of all of that.
Choosing what you give your thoughts and energy to.
From the beginning of the album with ‘I Forgot That You Existed’, you just know that moving on and being unbothered will be a recurring theme. As you grow older and your energy is already spread thin to begin with, you begin to realize just how many things don’t really deserve your energy. At all. This includes the people who have hurt you in the past, the numerous strangers who surprisingly have a lot to say about you, and so much more. ‘Lover’ era Tay-tay just doesn’t have the energy for that, and quite frankly, neither do we.
Growing from the pain, but not being a prisoner of it.
You notice how there’s not a lot of mopey, sad songs in this album? But you still could not say that it was devoid of sincerity and rawness. All of the more solemn songs about hurt in the album acknowledged the pain, but never dwelled on it too much. As can be seen in ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’, there’s a lot being felt, but she’s already looking forward. It’s the same raw energy we’ve come to expect from Taylor with songs like ‘All Too Well’ and ‘I Almost Do’, but she’s channeling it in a different, more mature way.
It’s not a new Taylor, it’s Taylor+.
What I loved was how despite no longer being so centric on love and boys, the familiarity of Taylor’s style was still encompassing. You still hear hints of the country girl who wrote a song about her high school crush, but she’s someone who brought all those feelings and turned them into something more functional for the new stage of her life. Now we see a Taylor who acknowledges her own influence and uses it to put LGBTQ+ community in her own way and who has taken control of her narrative and turned it into a commentary about the gender equality in media representation.
As I said when people were taken aback by her sudden transitions in ‘1989’ and ‘Reputation’, you have to be growing along with Taylor to still continue to appreciate her albums. I’ve realized I’m at a point in my life where I no longer relate to songs about my crush already being in a relationship like ‘Teardrops on my Guitar’, but rather understanding the complexities of relationships not working out in the way Taylor expressed ‘Afterglow’.
If you haven’t listened to it yet, the album is now up on all streaming platforms. Let us know what you think!