At 11 pm local time, midnight in Eastern Standard Time, millions of lives and playlists were changed forever, thanks to the release of Taylor Swift's latest studio album Lover.
As the singer-songwriter's seventh studio album, Lover, admittedly had a lot to live up to, especially given it's star-studded, attention-grabbing, SFX tricked out music videos, the host of interviews and articles about the album, and the apparent full-force return of the bubbly, glitter-loving Taylor fans recall from years before. So, yeah, expectations were high. Fans who were lucky enough to be invited to attend one of three Secret Sessions (a free meet and great and listening party hosted by Swift, herself) to listen to the album and meet Taylor at one of her homes, were calling the album everything and more, after all.
Expectations among fans reached fever pitch when some likened the album to second coming of some of her best works, but somehow better.
Thankfully for Swift and her Swifties, Lover lives up to the hype. Fresh from the edgy Reputation and hot on the heels of the drama surrounding Taylor's decision to make public the reason for her split from her former record label Big Machine, one could almost say that fans and foes alike had their breaths held. Would the album make great sales? Would everyone like it? Would Taylor have the last laugh, or will her best works be confined to the past and the ownership of an enemy? But with all 18 of the album's tracks currently holding spots on the Hot 100 song list, and pre-sales that almost totaled one million, we'd say Taylor's numbers are doing okay.
As for how the album ranks lyrically and sonically: it's phenomenal. From start to finish the album is pleasant to listen to, even if one or two songs don't immediately call out to you and demand fave status. And astonishingly, with every listen the album almost seems to get better. With the buoyancy and vibrancy of her previous works Speak Now and Fearless, melded with the lyrical poignance and mastery of RED, the sonic experimentation and attention to detail displayed on 1989, and the brashness of Reputation, Swift's seventh album Lover could easily check all your boxes. Swift has always maintained that 13 is her favourite number and is her lucky number, but maybe seven's a lucky number for her too?
As much as I enjoyed listening and re-listening to this album in its entirety, I do have favourites. Mine are: I Forgot That You Existed (track one) ; Cruel Summer (track two) ; The Archer (track five) ; Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince (track seven) and Death By A Thousand Cuts (track ten).
Romantic, sassy, relatable, provocative and a tad irreverent, Taylor takes the pop industry to school with Lover. Class is in session. Taylor gets an A+.
Listen to Lover on YouTube, or on any streaming platform, and let us know on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or below in the comments how you feel about the album.
--- Charlene Buchanan